Breslin & Southgate
Chicago. Aug. 24. 1902
My dear Miss Addams,-
When you gave me your Democracy and Social Ethics at Chautauqua I supposed I should read it within the week but it was not until the days just past that I found time to go carefully through it. It has produced such an impression on my mind that I must write you in detail about it. Your intimate, first-hand knowledge of the matter with which you deal, and your fair minded, even reserved, discussion of subjects with which your life is identified must disarm serious criticism from any quarter.
Your point of view, with its constant insistence [page 2] on the necessity of looking straight at the facts, and your bringing everything [into] lines of growth has made the book throw a flood of light upon my own studies.
One fundamental question I found always confronting me. Your study shows you everywhere arrested growth—in many directions you find that our factory workers are children—and yet you never turn to paternalism for a remedy. You are always looking towards larger freedom—wider democracy. If the evils of democracy—it comes out especially in your last chapter—are due to childishness—and I believe they are—then should we not temper our democracy with paternalism? In the South we made the mistake of forcing the ballot on a mass of untrained negroes at the close of our civil war. Now the Southern states are withdrawing it—I think wisely—leaving place for the negro to [page 3] regain it with effort and growth. I know that the negro question is not a fair parallel and I feel and teach that you right. But does not evolution, development, growth—call it what you will—mean a slow giving over of power?
The second place where I find myself questioning is where I carry your generalizations to the countryside—I was born and brought up on a farm and in speaking of work I go back to that which I knew so well and I find myself questioning whether we must not consider concentrated labor and scattered [page 4] labor from different points of view.
Lastly, I am always a little afraid that the Social Self may swamp the individual self. The child, whether two years old or forty, must start with self. If that is not well grounded the larger self will lack a backbone. Booker T. Washington is pointing his grown up children to a mule, a cart the acres of land and a cabin as their refuge. He is discouraging political and social self-consciousness except as it finds its way through there. Here again, the questions of factory and country life changes [conditions], but while crying amen to your plans—for you offer plans by implication—I should like to emphasize the value of a personal & even a material nucleus.
It is only because the book has interested and helped [page 5] me so much that I ventured to write these questions that rise in my mind.
You are not to take time nor strength to answer them; they will keep and someday we shall speak of them.
I shall be in Chicago until Friday. If you are at Hull House and not too driven let me come to see you for a half hour some morning or afternoon—after four and bring Mrs. Barnes' and Mary's greetings to you.
Your devoted fellow-student