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A Seventeenth Century English author incidentally mentions the fact that every fourth person in a large representative audience was horribly disfigured by the smallpox. With our modern travel of persons and interchange of commodities in
commerce we should never be safe from smallpox, cholera, C
yellow fever, and other dreaded diseases if it were not for our public health service. Should we begrudge the taxes we pay to insure us against such calamities ?
States, counties, and cities also have their health departments to safeguard the health of the community. These de partments educate the people in the prevention of diseases, establish quarantines, order general vaccination, and regularly inspect the water, milk, and other food supplies that are most likely to carry disease germs.
(b) Protection to Life. — In addition to the protection to life given by police officers and courts, many cities have building regulations limiting the height of buildings in proportion to the local fire protection, requiring fire escapes on high buildings, prescribing rules for sanitary plumbing and fire-proof
wiring, and requiring that doors to public buildings open outF ward. Cities also have traffic regulations, such as limiting
the speed of automobiles and prescribing how they shall pass corners, and requiring railroads to have watchmen at crossings.
States employ factory inspectors to see that workmen have fresh air, that boilers and elevators are in proper condition, and that dangerous machinery has safety appliances. The naFtional government provides for the inspection of locomotives and steamboats, requires passenger vessels to have wireless equipment and life-preservers, maintains wireless stations to notify vessels of storms, and maintains lighthouse and lifesaving stations. Recently the United States government established mine experiment stations to experiment with lifesaving devices in mines.
(c) Care of Poor and Helpless. — If it were not for our State governments most of the 240,000 insane persons who are in public asylums would be at large to annoy us and even endanger our lives. The 84,000 poor who are now cared for in public institutions would have to beg on the streets and at our homes or steal, or else starve. (See Chapter XXIX.)
(d) Free Education. - About $1,000,000,000 is spent annually for public free elementary and secondary education throughout the United States, or an average of about $100 for each high school pupil. The average cost in private high
Copyright by Underwood & Underwood, N. Y. NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY. “A true university is a collection of books." — CARLYLE.
schools or academies is fully twice that of the public schools, not taking into account the extra cost of boarding. From these figures it can be seen that poor parents with large families could not afford to educate their children if free schools were not provided by the government. Free libraries, art galleries, and museums are also established by governments,
thus providing for all what the rich alone could otherwise afford. (See Chapter XXVIII.)
(e) Protection to Public Morals. — In many ways the national, State, and local governments are seeking to protect public morals. The national government prohibits the bringing of prize-fight films or lottery tickets into any State, and denies the use of the mails for the carrying of fraudulent matter or intoxicating liquors. The national government has not the power to prohibit the sale and use of opium, but in its effort to limit its use as much as possible Congress has imposed a tax of $300 a pound on this drug manufactured for smoking purposes.
State and city governments regulate or prohibit the sale of cigarettes and prohibit gambling and other recognized forms of Fvice. Each State maintains one or more reformatories for in
corrigible boys and girls, where they are trained to better citizenship. Cities commonly have censors to visit theaters, moving picture shows, and such public places, to prevent immoral performances.
(f) The Census. The United States census of 1920 was taken by 87,000 census collectors in a few weeks, but four years will be required to tabulate the facts in detail although
electric tabulating machines are used for the purpose. The Ý facts will fill about a dozen large volumes and will cost the gov5 ernment about $20,000,000. Not only does this census give
the number of persons of each race, color, sex, age, occupation, whether married or single, and whether able to write, but it gives detailed information regarding manufactures, agriculture, forests and mines.
The census is especially valuable because it shows the condition of industry in each locality of the United States and thus assists legislators in remedying bad conditions. From these tabulated facts the general tendency of the country can be observed. For instance, it shows that 51.4 per cent of the population of the United States lived in cities in 1920 as compared with 46.3 in 1910, and that the total number of illiterates
is becoming less though population is rapidly increasing.' It also shows that in 1880 only 25 per cent of our farms were operated by tenants as compared to 38.1 per cent in 1920.
The volumes on manufactures and agriculture are especially valuable to persons interested in these industries. For in
A FIFTEEN MILLION DOLLAR SET OF Books.
stance, if a manufacturer of corn cutters, milk cans, or poultry food wants to know where there is a demand for his products he can learn the production of corn and the approximate number of cows and of chickens in each county in the United States. C
(8) Aids to Commerce. The national government maintains lighthouses, beacons, and buoys, builds dams, digs canals, and dredges rivers and harbors. It coöperates with the States in building levees. States and counties build roads and bridges. Cities construct streets, bridges, and wharves.
1 From 1900 to 1920 the degree of illiteracy among negroes was reduced from 45 per cent to 23 per cent.