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entry spinsters and widows undertaking self-support seek the CHAP. II tes. In rural America there are 110 men to 100 women, while n urban America there are only 102 men to 100 women. The The holds true of western Europe, but in Russia, where women do feld work, they are less apt to wander to the city than the men. In the Orient, where woman is not a free agent, no woman migrates to the city save as member of a family.
It is the producer rather than the consumer who betters his lot by removing to the city. A man with several dependents is shy f going where living is dear. The city therefore drains from the country the young unencumbered adults, leaving an excess of
ren and aged. A third of our city-dwellers are in the age roup 25 to 44 years, but only a quarter of our country-dwellers. No wonder the growing city throbs with energy and hope while the traits characteristic of the depleted countryside are deliberateness, reserve and conservatism.
Oversea migration drops people down in cities, and most of them abide there, prisoners of ignorance and inertia. In a setel country receiving immigrants the cities become more polyglot d foreign than the rural districts. After our agricultural fronber came to an end, foreign immigration saturated American cities. with foreign-born and contributed more to urban growth than the tide from the farms. Hence the open country is the strong
d of old Americanism, while the great city is a cosmopolitan Pabel. About two-thirds of our farm residents are of native stock, while, as one runs the gamut from farms to towns, from toans to cities, and from small cities to big, this element shrinks ent in the great cities it is a bare quarter. Conversely, the foren stock, which is represented on the farms by a fifth, makes seven-tenths of the metropolitan myriads.
This flooding with a type comparatively backward and custombound explains why, in respect to early marriage, divorce, family sze, male ascendancy, patriarchal authority and child labor, ceran of our Northern cities exhibit the traits of rural Eastern Europe rather than those which generally characterize an urban population.
Who is more forlorn than the lone man or the lone woman on Since boarding houses are unsuited to the country, agriculture commands people to marry. Everywhere in the country dstricts married life begins earlier for both sexes, lasts longer
of the City
Is that of the Young and Active
CHAP. II before being broken by divorce or death, and, if thus broken, is more likely to be succeeded by a new union, than in the large cities. Family life prevails, therefore, in country rather than in city, and this is so because on the farm the family is a more natural and indispensable unit for life and work.
Irregular Sex Relations in the City
City Life Discourages Prolificacy
In view of the niggardly satisfaction the city affords the mating instinct, no wonder a market for female virtue springs up in the city. Comments an expert on the U. S. census figures for 1900, "The foregoing figures showing the much smaller proportion of married persons in large cities, especially in the earlier years of adult life, would support the belief that where married life is so much less prevalent, the unlawful indulgence of sexual desires is probably more prevalent." Since urban economic conditions call into being prostitution, this abominable plague does not die out of itself. It can be extirpated only by social effort.
The urban element reproduces itself less than the rural element not only because it is less domestic, but also because its children are more of a burden and less of an asset. Once child exploitation is curbed, the rearing of a large family costs the farmer much less than the city dweller. In certain of our Northern cities, full of foreign-born who exercise no forethought in the matter of family, this economic check is not manifest, but in the more native South the proportion of children to women is about half as great in city as in country.
Is it milk or cream that the cities with their constant suction abstract from the rural population?
Perhaps the trait most distinctive of those who follow the call Country of of the distant city when farming stagnates is the spirit of initiative. They have it in them to make a start, in spite of home ties, the bonds of habit, and the restraints of prudence. Had they not emigrated, their spirit of initiative would have shown itself along other lines. They would have been among the first in the community to change their method of farming, to introduce some new crop, to embark in an untried industry, or to promote some community enterprise. A heavy outflow of this element need not leave the community poorer in physique, or brains, or character, except as these are correlated with initiative, but it does leave it poorer in natural leaders.
This is serious because natural leaders are of the utmost value CHAP. II to society. Not only is it they who launch improvements, but Leaders they perform a peculiar service in keeping up to the mark the to Rapid various institutions which minister to the higher life of the community. The bulk of the people are unable to start or direct those ress institutions, although they appreciate and support them once they exist. Often one sees a depressing slump in the religious, social, and recreative life of a neighborhood, following the moving away of two or three families of initiative. Usually those who insist upon and know how to get good schools, vigorous churches, and abundant means for social enjoyment, are a minority, often a very small minority. The loss of even the best tenth may cut down by one-half the effective support the community gives to higher interests.
The continual departure of young people who would in time have become leaders results eventually in a visible moral decline of the community. The roads are neglected, which means less social intercourse and a smaller turnout to school and church and public events. School buildings and grounds deteriorate, and the false idea takes root that it pays to hire the cheaper teacher. The church gets into a rut, fails to start up the social and recreative activities which bind the young people to it, and presently ceases to be a force, perhaps even goes to pieces. Frivolity engrosses the young because no one organizes singing schools, literary soceries, or debating clubs. Presently a generation has grown up that has missed the uplifting and refining influence of these comunal institutions. There is a marked decline in standards of ividual and family morality. Many couples become too selfish to rear children. It is noticed that people are not up to the level of their forefathers, that they are coarser in their tastes and care less for higher things. Vice and sensuality are not so restrained as of yore. The false opinion goes abroad that the members of the community are "degenerate" and therefore past redemption. All this may result from the continual abstraction from a normal population of too many of that handful of born leaders which needed to leaven the social lump.
tion of the
Signs of pletion in
No doubt decline from this cause has occurred sporadically for thousands of years, but it assumes acute forms in the United States because the double pull of city and frontier, propagated by schools and newspapers, has worked on our old rural popula- America
CHAP. II tion like a cream separator. In New England there are rural counties which have been losing their best for three or four generations, leaving the coarse, dull and hidebound. The number of loafers in some slackwater villages of the Middle States indicates that the natural pacemakers of the locality have gone elsewhere to create prosperity. In parts of southern Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and even as far west as Missouri, there are communities which remind one of fished-out ponds populated chiefly by bullheads and suckers.
tion Is Improving
Folk depletion no doubt accounts for the moral sag noted a few years ago by one of the earlier analysts of country life:
Allowing for some exceptions, not too numerous, it may be said that throughout the prosperous and productive farming regions of the United States, which have been settled for fifty years, community life has disappeared. There is no play for the children; there is no recreation for young people; there are no adequate opportunities for acquaintance and marriage for young men and women; there is not a sufficient educational system for the needs of country people, and there is not for the average man or woman born in the country an economic opportunity within reach of his birthplace, such as will satisfy even modest desires. There is not in a weak community that satisfaction of social instinct which makes it a good place to live in.' Time was in New England and New York and Pennsylvania when there was a community to which every farmer belonged with some pleasure and pride. The absence of community life through these country regions expresses to-day what one man calls the intolerable condition of country life.'" 3
Of late the situation has decidedly improved. The country-life movement has opened the eyes of many bright country youths to farm opportunities. More and more of the graduates of agricultural colleges engage in farming. Lately the course of food prices has told in favor of country and against city. As farm homes improve and farmers have money to spend, the country gains in prestige and hence in hold on its young people. High-priced farm lands necessitating the use of improved machinery, thorough-bred live stock, scientific methods and good business judgment challenge the more capable young men, so that in the more prosperous agricultural regions it is the restless rather than the ambitious who wander to the city.
& Dr. Warren H. Wilson, Publications of the American Sociological Society, Vol. V, p. 174.
CHAP. II Means of
The hope of further checking the flow of country brains to the cy lies in multiplying social and recreative opportunities for reart-starved young people on the farms, in redirecting rural edu- Folk cation and re-inspiring the rural church, in dispelling the false glamour which envelops the distant city and in showing the bright country youth ways of gearing his brains and knowledge on to farming.
CITY SOUL AND RURAL SOUL
The world over, the psychology of city people is notably differnt from that of country people. The urban type lives on surfaces, life being so crowded with impressions that there is little ergy left for reflection. Compare the sights and sounds which hail one in the street with those one meets in the country lane. Compare the big head-lines, chromatic print, dramatic posters and alpitant lights which must be used in order to reach the city mind. with the meek announcement posted at the crossroad. The former measures the intensity of the competition to arrest attention. The things the urbanite noticingly looks at or listens to in a day. are generally many times more numerous than those that impinge the farmer's mind. As a result, one country-dweller sinks to stagnation the machinery of his rusty mind moving slowly and only in response to a strong stimulus. The mind of another grinds on itself mulling over his narrow personal experience, his tle stock of inherited dogmas, his scanty fund of scrappy unrdinated information gleaned from his weekly newspaper. Another mind wrestles futilely with passages from the prophet. Panel or the Book of Revelation because quite without the uitment for interpreting them. Finally there is the farmer of trained mind who, furnished by his schooling with orderly knowleige and supplied with trustworthy current data, by his own reEections works out sound principles.
The city atmosphere quickens the creaking rustic mind, making for alertness, impressibility and promptness of response; also for sap-shot judgments and shallow thinking. You may long ply a rural population with facts and ideas which call for action on their part and get no response. But the impressions accumulate and presently you have built up in them a fixed purpose which inres the action you desire. Urban people, on the other hand, are sooner hot and sooner cool. Impressions are easily made,