Nonfiction > Jacob A. Riis > The Battle with the Slum > Page 368
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Jacob A. Riis (1849–1914).  The Battle with the Slum.  1902.

Page 368
 
nation was reverting to a new form of barbarism, which he described by the term “alcoholic barbarism,” and pointed out as its first cause the “insufficiency of the food procurable by the working classes.” He referred to the quality, not the quantity. The United States experts, who lately made a study of the living habits of the poor in New York, spoke of it as a common observation that “a not inconsiderable amount of the prevalent intemperance can be traced to poor food and unattractive home tables.” The toasting-fork in Jacob’s sister’s hand beats preaching in the campaign against the saloon, just as the boys’ club beats the police club in fighting the gang.
  The cram and the jam are being crowded out as common-sense teaching steps in and takes their place, and the “three H’s,” the head, the heart, and the hand,—a whole boy,—are taking the place too long monopolized by the “three R’s.” There was need of it. It had seemed sometimes as if, in our anxiety lest he should not get enough, we were in danger of stuffing the boy to the point of making a hopeless dunce of him. It is a higher function of the school to teach principles than to impart facts merely. Teaching the boy municipal politics and a thousand other things to make a good citizen of him, instead of so filling him with love of his country and pride in its traditions that he is bound to take the

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