Social Regeneration, December 24, 1903

Social Regeneration
By Miss Jane Addams,
of Hull House, Chicago.

Social regeneration of the lower classes of society can come only when the better element realizes its duty and works in an organized and intelligent way to improve conditions. Sentimentalism and moralizing over the evils existing in the low strata of society never lifted a burden or made the world a whit better.

The citizen is neglecting his duty sadly when he allows vice to go unwatched and unguarded in his own neighborhood, or in the poorer sections adjacent thereto. What can be expected when he has not the moral stamina and heroism to stand forth and object vigorously when the saloons offend every sense of right and decency in lawless and disreputable ways in which they are almost invariably run.

The need of social regeneration must come to be felt with a deep, personal concern by every conscientious citizen who hopes to see his city attain higher and better things. Thousands of poor, little, half-starved mites of humanity are living in the larger cities in such squalor and misery and filth as you can never conceive, with no impulse of good, no glimpse of the ideal or beautiful, no hope of anything save the misery and poverty in which they drag out their poor, little, joyless lives. These little ones are schooled in lives of vice and crime from the first drawing of their intelligence. Girls less than 15 are drawn into the maelstrom and lost.

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