Edward Thomas Devine to Emily Greene Balch, September 2, 1912


September 2, 1912.

My dear Miss Balch:

How could Miss Addams possibly have gotten the impression that I favor the abstention of social workers from politics?  Nothing could be further from my conviction. I have the greatest admiration for the manner in which Miss Addams is throwing herself into the Progressive Party's campaign, and, assuming as I do, of course, that they meet their existing obligations in other directions, I have not a breath of criticism for the similar aggressive work of many of my colleagues and friends here, like Paul Kellogg, Dr. Lindsay, Homer Folks, Lovejoy, Kingsbury and others.

Perhaps Miss Addams' impression to the contrary may have come from an editorial which I have written but not yet published in which I emphasize the value of non-partisanship; but, even in the first draft of that editorial, which I shall no doubt revise considerably -- I may even decide not to publish it at all -- I have by no means advocated abstention, and have recognized that there may be some social workers with a special gift for politics whose duty it will be to give up for the time being their ordinary occupations and devote their energies to the political campaign.

I have no present intention of doing that myself as I believe that in my own case, for altogether exceptional reasons, the injury to the causes in which I am interested would probably be greater than the gain; but this personal decision should certainly not be interpreted as a feeling that either social workers as a body or teachers ought to keep out of politics.

Faithfully yours,