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SCIENTIFIC TEMPERANCE INSTRUCTION IN THE PUBLIC
I.-Historical sketch, text-books, course of study, topical outline of study, stand-
III.-The legislation effected (pp. 713-714).
IV-Reports of school officials on the enforcement of the law (pp. 714-724).
VT-Objections to scientific temperance instruction stated (pp. 733–737).
It is now about a decade since the first organized effort was made to cause all public-school pupils to be taught the laws of health and in that connection the evil effects of alcoholic beverages, tobacco and other narcotics; that their use in whatever degree is dangerous because of their power to create an uncontrollable appetite for more; that the indulgence of such an appetite is unqualifiedly. detrimental to the physical and moral well-being of man; and that the only safe course to pursue with regard to these substances is one of total abstinence.
This movement was started by Mrs. Mary H. Hunt,' through the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. The previous experience of Mrs. Hunt as a professor or teacher of chemistry in an eastern college had led to her assuming practical oversight of the education of her only child, who was a student in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1872 to 1876. "While thus engaged," she says, "the question concerning alcohol as a chemical reagent led to inquiry as to its origin, nature, and effects upon the human system as found in the popular alcoholic beverages. This study became an absorbing research that filled me with alarm for the future of a nation whose people were consuming such vast quantities of alcohol."
As a result of this study the conviction was forced upon her "that intemperance could never be prevented until people were taught the real nature and effects of alcoholic drinks, and that this must be done through the schools." The National Temperance Publication Society of New York made several tentative movements in that direction, principally under the direction of Miss Julia Coleman, whose Juvenile Temperance Manual, published in 1878, was subsequently introduced into a few public schools.
The town of Hyde Park, Mass., at the instigation of Mrs. Hunt, was the first to introduce the study of scientific temperance into its public school curriculum. No suitable text-book had been prepared, and for the time being use was made of The Temperance Lesson Book, written by Dr. B. W. Richardson (London, 1887).
Action of the Woman's Christian Temperancez Union.-The first official action of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was taken, in response to Mrs. Hunt's earnest importunity, at their Indianapolis meeting in 1879, when the following resolution was adopted:
Resolved, That this convention consider the introduction of scientific temperance text-books into the regular course of study in our public schools as a most hopeful line of work. We therefore urge the various States here represented to take immediate action to secure this important study taught in the schools of their several localities.
It is proper to say that Mrs. Hunt kindly undertook the revision of the proofs of this historical sketch.
A standing committee, of which Mrs. Hunt was made chairman, was chosen to carry the above resolution into action. But difficulties were soon encountered in the way of accomplishing any uniform work through a committee widely separated; and at the Boston meeting of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union the ensuing year (1880) a department of scientific temperance instruction in schools and colleges, under a national superintendent, was created, to take the place of the standing committee. Mrs. Hunt, who was chiefly instrumental in bringing about this change, was made superintendent of the department, a position she still holds. It was made her duty in that capacity "to originate, advise, and direct plans of work," which are carried out with the assistance of auxiliary superintendents in all the States and Territories, who are under the direction of and report to the national superintendent.
Subordinate assistants were appointed for the minor civil divisions of the State, so that the organization is somewhat military in character. Prompt, vigorous, and effective action has been thereby secured, with the ability to concentrate effort at any desired point. This centralization of authority has been one great secret of success.
The labors of the first year, 1880, were chiefly "confined to organizing the work throughout the country and to creating public interest in the proposed study through the press and lectures by the national superintendent before popular audiences, educational bodies, churches, and philanthropic conferences.
In her Brief History of the First Decade, from which the foregoing has been chiefly condensed, as also much which follows, Mrs. Hunt goes on to say: "Some teaching from Dr. Richardson's Temperance Lesson Book and a little work by Miss Coleman, entitled Alcohol and Hygiene, followed these efforts, by order of local school boards. The sporadic character of these results deepened the conviction that the study must be mandatory or it never would be systematically pursued. Experience soon proved the soundness of my position from the first, viz., that text-books on temperance only would not fully meet the need. In order to understand the consequences of violating hygienic law in all respects, but especially in the use of alcholic drinks and other narcotics, pupils must know something of relative physiology and general hygiene; therefore the study should be incorporated with these topics."
What the doctors said.-In the efforts of the leaders in the movement to make progress the stock objection that met them on every side was, "There is nothing definite that can be taught about the effects of alcoholic drinks upon the human system." "The doctors are not agreed about it." It became evident that no progress could be made in getting legislation until an authoritative reply to this objection could be produced.
Mrs. Hunt, therefore, went before the American Medical Association at its meeting at St. Paul, in June, 1882, and asked them for some expression as to the evil nature and effects of alcoholic drinks. She presented the following resolutions on behalf of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union:
Whereas alcoholic intemperance is a prolific cause of disease, and prevention, through the education of the people, is one of the most powerful antidotes,
Resolved, That we approve teaching the children and youth in the schools and educational institutions in this country, as facts of hygiene, the physiological dangers and evils resulting from the use of alcoholic beverages; and
Whereas it is the acknowledged duty of the State to provide for such education of the people as is essential to good citizenship,
Resolved, That we recommend the State legislature to enact laws requiring the physiological dangers and evils resulting from the use of alcoholic beverages taught in all schools supported by public money or under State control.
These resolutions were referred to the section on State medicine, which after some discussion adopted the following as a substitute:
Resolved, That the association reaffirm the resolutions in regard to the abuse of alcoholic liquors passed at Buffalo in 1878, and further urge that all State legislatures introduce hygiene as one of the branches to be taught in the schools.
The resolutions of 1878 so reaffirmed are as follows:
Resolved, That in view of the alarming prevalence and ill effects of intemperance, with which none are so familiar as members of the medical profession, and which have called forth from eminent practitioners the voice of warning to the people of Great Britain concerning the use of alcoholic beverages, we, the undersigned, members of the medical profession of the United States, unite in the declaration that we believe alcohol should be classed with other powerful drugs, that when prescribed it should be done with conscientious caution, and a sense of great responsibility.
Resolved, That we are of the opinion that the use of alcoholic liquors as a beverage is productive of a large amount of physical and mental disease; that it entails diseased appetites and enfeebled constitutions upon offspring, and that it is the cause of a large percentage of the crime and pauperism of our cities and country.
Resolved, That we would welcome any change in public sentiment that would confine the use of intoxicating liquor to the uses of science, art, and medicine.
No one can doubt that these resolutions placed a powerful weapon in the hands of the promoters of the new study, or that it was most effectively used. "The favorite objection," wrote Mrs. Hunt at the time, "of opponents is silenced, for no one can hereafter say that the doctors of this country disprove the statement of facts against alcoholic beverages that we would teach the rising generation."
The end achieved.—A course of thorough and systematic agitation was entered upon to create a public sentiment in favor of compulsory temperance education and to influence law makers in the desired direction. As a result, the first compulsory temperance education law was enacted in Vermont, in November, 1882. By this law there was added to the branches to be taught in the common schools "elementary physiology and hygiene, which shall give special prominence to the effect of alcoholic drinks, stimulants, and narcotics, upon the human system."
In the ensuing year laws to the same effect, more or less stringent in their requirements, were enacted in many other States. A tabular statement giving the date of enactment of these laws and their general features will be found on page 713.
A difficulty was experienced at first in the matter of text-books. Dr. Richardson's Temperance Lesson Book proved too technical for common school use, and like Miss Coleman's book, contained only temperance matter, but no physiology or other hygiene which the State laws were demanding. Publishers and authors were slow to believe there would be a permanent market for this kind of literature.
The first physiological temperance book indorsed by the superintendent of the Scientific Department of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union was written by Dr. Steele, and published by A. S. Barnes & Co., the latter being actuated in their venture by philanthropic as well as business motives.
The design of the promoters of the movement was to have "all pupils in all schools," receive a temperance education, and to this end a series of at least three text-books would be necessary, one each for high, intermediate, and primary grades of schools, and four for schools closely graded. It was deemed best that these books should be issued by regular school-book publishing houses.
In 1884, after a search for authors and publishers, and the disappointments of authors of manuscripts rejected because unsuitable, and wrath of publishers books who secould not be indorsed, two books were pronounced ready for use, one for high schools (Steele's Hygienic Philosophy) and one for intermediate grades (Hygiene for Young People). The book for primary grades was still wanting. Mrs. Hunt says in her report of that year:
"Large numbers of publishers and authors have rushed into our field with books containing the old and disproven theories concerning alcohol, badly arranged and badly graded, and otherwise inadequate to the demands of the laws and the needs of the schools. These works are defective in their treatment of alcohol, and have not the proportion or arrangement of temperance matter that is intended by the spirit and letter of this legislation."
The ensuing year (1885) the set of three approved text-books, known as the Pathfinder series, was made complete by the addition of the Child's Health Primer, prepared under the direction of the scientific department of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.
As the temperance-education movement began to assume large proportions, publishers ceased to entertain doubts about a market for this kind of school literature. About thirty works on physiology for school use were issued by different houses immediately after the passage of the New York law in 1884. "Most of these were the old-time physiologies with a little temperance matter tacked on the back of the book as an addenda, where pupils would rarely reach it. The embarrassing position of the national superintendent in not being able to indorse these books can hardly be appreciated.'
The laws passed by the Legislatures of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania in 1885 excluded text-books with temperance matter in the appendix. This aroused the opposition of the publishers, but to no purpose; they were obliged generally to remodel their books, "putting the temperance matter where it belongs, in each division of the subject of physiology with the other hygiene. Although this was the first step toward the satisfactory revision that came in later years, yet these books, in quality and quantity of temperance matter and adaptation to grade, were still so defective that they could not be indorsed," as was the Pathfinder series.
Rigid text-book requirements in Vermont.-The Vermont law, as amended in 1886, required that "all pupils in all public schools of the State shall be taught the nature of alcoholic drinks and other narcotics. Children too young to read shall receive oral instruction, and those who can read shall use a text-book." Textbooks were required to devote one-fourth their space to this subject, and schools not giving the statutory instruction forfeited their share of the public money. Other States followed the example of Vermont in requiring one-fourth of the space of text-books in physiology to be devoted to temperance instruction.
The great petition to publishers.-In order to bring a strong pressure to bear upon publishers, a syllabus was compiled in 1887 of what should be taught in the schools as scientific temperance, and after having been signed by over two hundred leading American citizens, "representative of the best medical, physiological, chemical, educational, legal, and ethical opinion in our country," was presented to publishers in form of a petition asking for a revision of their imperfect text-books upon this subject. As a whole, this petition constituted "an expression of the best expert sentiment of our country, in favor of teaching to the children of the United States the full truth of science against strong drink and in favor of total abstinence."
After this petition was sent to the publishers its syllabus of requirements was adopted as their standard for temperance text-books by the National Woman's Christian Temperance Union, at Nashville, November, 1887, and became their creed, or "articles of faith," so to speak.
The full text of the petition is as follows:
A PETITION TO PUBLISHERS OF TEMPERANCE TEXT-BOOKS.
1. Thirty-two States and Territories now require scientific temperance instruction in the public schools, and the question whether the children shall receive such instruction is seen to depend largely upon the character of the text-books employed.
2. It was the intention of those who secured these laws that the children should have the latest science concerning the dangerous and hurtful qualities of alcohol used in any degree, and the peril of forming the habit of its use. The law requires this. Nothing less than this will ever satisfy its friends.
3. Those text-books that are largely physiology, with a minimum of temperance matter that only points out the evil of drunkenness and the danger of excessive use of alcoholic drinks and narcotics, do not meet the requirements of the law, and do not satisfy those who secured its enactment and who are determined to secure its enforcement.
4. Therefore, the undersigned legislators who voted for these laws in various States and in the National Congress, the representatives of temperance organizations, and who are familiar with the sentiment and are entitled to speak for the very numerous membership of different churches and other bodies, extending widely throughout the land, and citizens who speak for ourselves, do make respectful and earnest appeal to all publishers of text-books on this subject to revise their publications to conform to the latest results of scientific inquiry, and to meet the terms and spirit of these statutes in making the temperance matter the chief and not the subordinate topic in these books, so that public and authorized expressions of approval and indorsement of all such books can be issued and given wide circulation.
5. In urging this appeal we beg leave to represent that if this new education is to give to the world a coming generation of intelligent total abstainers, as we expect, its manuals of instruction must conform to the following specifications:
(1) They must teach with no uncertain sound the proven findings of science, viz: (a) That alcohol is a dangerous and seductive poison.
(b) That beer, wine, and cider contain this same alcohol, thus making them dangerous drinks, to be avoided, and that they are the product of a fermentation that changes a food to a poison. (c) That it is the nature of a little of any liquor containing alcohol to create an appetite for more, which is so apt to become uncontrollable that the strongest warning should be urged against taking that little and thus forming the appetite.
(2) They must teach also the effect of these upon the human system." that is, upon the whole being-mental, moral, and physical. The appalling effects of drinking habits upon the citizenship of the nation. the degradation and crime resulting, demand that instruction here should give clear and emphatic utterance to the solemn warnings of science on this subject.
(3) This instruction must be as well graded to the capacities of each class of pupils as the modern school readers are. A book fit for high schools put into primary or intermediate classes will make the study a failure there. Truth is just as true and as scientific when told in easy words as when put into stilted technicalties the child can not understand.
(4) This is not a physiological but a temperance movement. In all grades below the high school this instruction should contain only physiology enough to make the hygiene of temperance and other laws of health intelligible. Temperance should be the chief and not the subordinate topic, and should occupy at least one-fourth the space in text-books for these grades. As only a small portion of the pupils in our public schools attend high schools, and vast numbers leave with the primary, this instruction should be early and ample. It is not desirable to have a separate book for the physiology heretofore studied in the high school or to limit the amount, but at least twenty pages out of that ordinarily required should be given to the question of the danger of alcoholic drinks and other narcotics, in a text-book for these classes.
(5) This effort to disabuse the minds of the rising generation of fallacies which lead to drink habits should purposely avoid reference to the medical use of alcohol, except to state that as by common consent its lay prescription is condemned, the question of its use as a remedy may properly be relegated to medical treatises, as out of place and misleading in a school text-book. Lacking in any of these points, a text-book on scientific temperance is incomplete, and the use in the schools of such a book will not result in a strong temperance sentiment among the pupile using it.
Because the question of total abstinence for the children of this country, and therefore of their well-being and that of the land soon to be governed by them, depends so largely upon the teachings in these books, we make this appeal.
As a result of the foregoing petition nearly all of the publishers of temperance text-books expressed the desire to have their books remodeled in conformity therweith. This work of revision was taken up and carried on in 1888 under the supervision of Mrs. M. H. Hunt, the national superintendent of the scientific department of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union, with the assistance of the following advisory board: Albert H. Plumb, D. D., president Massachusetts Amendment Society; Daniel Dorchester, D. D., vice-president Massachusetts Total Abstinence Society; William E. Sheldon, president National Teachers' Association of 1887; Rev. Joseph Cook, of Boston Monday Lectureship.
Upon consultation with authors it soon became apparent that there was not so much difference of opinion about what was true concerning the subject as misapprehension as to what special truth should be brought forward. "Some writers were misled by supposing that exhortation or appeal after the style of the temperance lecture was desired. These difficulties vanished when they found that we wanted no fanatical preaching, but instead a full statement as to the origin, evil nature, and effects of alcoholic drinks and other narcotics, all told in language that the various grades of pupils can understand.”
"The great men among these authors who are fully abreast with the researches, experiments, and proven facts of modern science on this subject were first to come into accord with the petition standard."
Now fully equipped.-Mrs. Hunt, writing at the beginning of 1892, says: "The study that was thus hampered and halting at the first is now fully equipped. What it then lacked is now supplied. Everything is ready. As the teachers translate these methods into actual school-room work, the intent of the law will be accomplished in the generation of intelligent total abstainers that will come from our schools."
Endorsed text-books (1892).
Health for Little Folks.
Published by the American Book Company, N. Y.
Published by Leach, Shewell & Sanborn.
Physiology for Little Folks.
Published by Lee & Shepard, Boston, Mass. A primer of Health.
Published by Silver, Burdette & Co., Boston.
Young People's Physiology, (or)
Hygiene for Young People.
Published by the American Book Company, New York.
Published by Silver, Burdette & Co., Boston.
Blaisedell's Pysiology for Boys and Girls.
Published by Lee & Shepard, Boston, Mass. Brand's Health Lessons for Beginners.
Published by Leach, Shewell & Sanborn.
Advanced grammar grade text-books:
No. 3 of the Union Series.
Johonnot & Bouton's Lessons in Hygiene.
Published by the American Book Company, New York. Essentials of Health.
Published by Silver, Burdette & Co., Boston. Young Folks' Physiology.
Published by Lee & Shepard, Boston.
High school text-books:
Tracy's Outlines of Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene.
Eclectic Guide to Health.
Published by the American Book Company, New York. Martin's Human Body and the Effects of Narcotics.
Published by Henry Holt & Co., New York.