say the land has reached the point of diminishing returns
It has been said that nature's part in production obeys
the law of diminishing returns, but that man's part is
Opposing capable of increasing returns. In other words
orces - a progressive society is constantly making better
adjustments. New inventions and discoveries may more
than counterbalance the decreasing tendency in produc-
tion from land. American ingenuity has been constantly
offsetting this tendency, whereas in China there has been no
such strong progressive force. Here many die of starva-
tion because ancestral methods of farming and transporta-
tion are still in vogue. America, on the other hand, gave
to the world the invention of the combined harvester and
reaper. Greater returns as well as decreased effort are
secured by such devices as the steam plow and the gasoline
tractor. Seed is sown by a drill, which not only covers the
seed but spreads the fertilizer. It must be remembered,
however, that our own European ancestors were at first
skeptical of the steel plow. It was supposed to poison
the land instead of opposing its tendency toward diminish-
To-day the farmer has ceased to be an untrained worker.
Agricultural science has been developed in school and
The college. The national and state governments
progress have established laboratories and maintained
bureaus of information, which have stimulated
agricultural progress. Plant diseases such as blight and
Conservation of Our Natural Resources 217
scale have been scientifically investigated for the benefit
of the farmer. New and better varieties of plant and
animal life have also been developed by a careful process
of breeding and seed selection. Natural selection is an
unconscious process which has evolved the strongest and
best adapted species for survival in the struggle for exist-
ence. Man, however, has domesticated certain plants and
animals, that is, he has largely removed them from this
struggle for existence. He has then practiced artificial
selection among them. For illustration, he has selected
for breeding purposes those cows which give the best milk.
Through artificial selection he has also produced the fat
domestic pig from the scrawny "razor back," which had
a much better chance of survival under natural conditions.
By a similar process in the plant world the tomato has been
developed from a weed. Burbank, the "plant wizard,"
has thus produced new and better varieties of fruits and
In a progressive society man is constantly fighting the
tendency of land to yield diminishing returns. A specific
illustration is his attempt to restore fertility _,
r J Restoration
to soil exhausted by the one-crop system. The of soil
.... . fertility.
one-crop system lessens soil fertility because it
continually drains the same necessary elements from the
soil. Again, it is favorable to the development of enemy
insects and bacteria. It can be avoided, however, by the
rotation of crops. The planting of cover crops is another
cheap and effective method of restoring soil fertility. The
cover crop is planted in the fall after harvest. Later it is
plowed under and serves as a fertilizer. The legumes,
like peas, beans, alfalfa, and clover have additional value,
for their roots possess nodules containing ammonia. These
Problems of American Democracy
are the product of bacteria which have the power of
extracting nitrogen from the air. Other necessary chem-
ical elements in the soil are potassium and phosphorus.
Chemical fertilizers, such as bone products, are rich in
these elements. Ordinary stable manure is another effec-
tive fertilizer. Unfortunately, it is frequently stored in
barns without cement floors and consequently loses its
valuable ammonia. Humus, which is largely made up
of decayed vegetable matter, is a very effective aid to soil
Water is another vital element in increasing production.
Irrigation is the process by which this substance is sup-
plied to arid lands. Before the white man came
to the great arid Southwest the Pueblo Indians
practiced irrigation. The ancient Egyptians and Chal-
deans, like the Incas of Peru, also understood this principle.
The first great work of irrigation in the United States was
Courtesy of U. S. Reclamation Service
The Desert before Irrigation
Conservation of Our Natural Resources 219
Irrigated Farm Land in Arizona
undertaken by the Mormons of Utah, who "made the
desert to blossom as the rose." The Horace Greeley Irri-
gation Colony was begun in 1870 and named after the
editor-statesman whose advice has been summed up in the
words, "Young man, go West." Since that time, when
there were but twenty thousand acres of irrigated lands, the
220 Problems of American Democracy
work has gone on so rapidly that to-day there are about ten
million acres of such land. In 1902 the National Reclama-
tion Act was passed, which provides for the construction of
irrigation works under the direction of the Secretary of
the Interior. The earlier Homestead Act, under which
the new lands of the West were first opened for settlement,
had not prevented a few individuals from getting control
of large* areas. To prevent such concentration the Act
of 1902 limits the holdings of any one person to one hun-
dred and sixty acres. The expense of constructing irri-
gation dams and canals is met by the sale of public land.
The settlers, who take up the irrigated lands, are required
to pay back to the government in ten installments their
share of the cost of irrigation. The government has
merely advanced the money and done the work of con-
struction. After the works have been paid for, they are
turned over to the local government for future administra-
Drainage is the process by which water is subtracted
instead of added to the soil. The Reclamation Act of 1902
provides for this phase of the work also. Indi-
vidual states had drained a total of eight million
acres of land, but the national government had done little
prior to this time. There are .sixty million acres of swamp
land in the United States. This is frequently a very rich
soil, formed by decayed vegetable matter and silt carried
down by rivers. The Florida Everglades and the Great
Dismal Swamp of Virginia are good illustrations of such
lands. The soil is of the richest and covered only in patches
by water which is seldom deep. The drainage of most
of this territory would not be nearly so difficult an engi-
neering feat as the construction of the Panama Canal.
Conservation of Our Natural Resources 221
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Name and explain the implications of several economic ideals.
2. Explain the relationship between wealth and welfare.
3. Upon what factors does national prosperity depend?
4. Show the relationship between the ideals of efficiency' and
conservation; between conservation and social welfare.
5. Illustrate the former waste of our natural resources.
6. What were some causes of the movement for conservation?
7. Who were some of its leaders and what did they do?
8. Explain the causes -and effects of deforestation.
9. What remedial steps have been taken?
10. What measures can you suggest for the conservation of our
11. Explain and illustrate the principle of diminishing returns.
12. Explain and illustrate the opposing forces.
13. What have been some important factors in recent agricultural
14. Compare natural selection with artificial selection and show
how man has utilized the latter.
15. What are the essential elements in the soil? How can each of
these be restored?
16. Discuss the Reclamation Act of 1902.
17. Prove the value of irrigation.
18. Explain some irrigation work with which you are familiar.
19. What has been done in the way of draining swamp land?
TOPICS FOR SPECIAL REPORT
1 . Rise of the conservation movement in the United States.
2. Forests as a national asset.
3. Forest reservations and their care.
4. New sources of physical energy.
5. New species of plants and animals.
6. Early irrigation projects.
7. The drainage of the Everglades.
222 Problems of American Democracy
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,
Conservation of natural resources.
Harwood, W. S. The New Earth.
Kelsey, C. The Physical Basis of Society.
Proceedings of the Conference of Governors in 1908.
Quick, H. The Good Ship Earth.
Reports of National Conservation Commission.
United States Census Reports on Irrigation.
Van Hise, C. R. Conservation of Natural Resources in the United
Warren, G. F. Elements of Agriculture. '
The Industrial Revolution
I. Industrial society
i . Factors in production
2. Characteristics of industry:
c. Social classes
3. Stages of development
4. Importance of the Industrial Revolution :
a. A comparison
b. Old methods ^
II. Industry before the age of machinery
1 . The manorial system
2. The guilds
3. Later changes
III. The Industrial Revolution
1. The invention of machinery
2. The factory system:
a. General features
b. The consequences
3. Early American manufacturing
4. Later development
Just as American political development cannot be under-
stood without some knowledge of its European back-
ground, so the economic development of our rich natural
resources was conditioned upon England's earlier industrial
progress. A brief survey of the State as a social institu-
tion was necessary before our study of the American State
224 Problems of American Democracy
in particular. A similar sketch of the evolution of indus-
trial society is necessary before we undertake a study of
the present problems of industry in our American
Industrial Society. — Just as protection is the object
of a politically organized society, so production is the end
Factors in of economic society. The two primary factors
production. j Q p ro( juction are i an( j an d labor. Land, in its
economic sense, means limited natural resources and
includes such things as mineral wealth and water resources.
It represents nature's part in the production of wealth.
Man's part is represented by labor, which broadly speaking
is the wage-earning population. The production of
wealth, however, is at present rarely achieved by the
combination of these two primary factors only. Very
early in the development of industry a secondary factor
known as capital, came into existence. Capital may be
denned as the product of past labor used for further pro-
duction. Material wealth may be divided into two kinds
of goods. In the first place, there are those kinds of goods,
like food and clothing, which serve man's immediate wants;
in the second place, there are such articles as plows and
engines, which further directly the production of more
wealth. Tools and machinery belong to this class, and
such goods are known as capital.
The development of industrial society has been char-
acterized by an increasing amount of capital. When
primitive man used several days' labor to fashion
istics: a crude sort of spade, instead of satisfying his
dfpmdence. nun g er directly by digging for clams with his
naked hands, he was creating capital. Seed,
which was saved for some future planting and not eaten,
The Industrial Revolution 225
also became capital. Indeed, capital has been termed the
seed of industry. The development of industrial society
is marked by another characteristic which is closely related
to the first one. Social organization and cooperation
accompany the division of labor made necessary by the
development of capital. This is absent among primitive
groups, where each family is a complete economic unit.
The Industrial Revolution carried division of labor to a
degree never before known. Thus, in more advanced
countries there is a complete specialization of effort; one
man farms, another makes shoes, and still another
exchanges goods produced in the community.
In addition to the growth of social organization there
goes on a process of invention and discovery within the
group, whereby man has been enabled to util- r
. . . . . Inventions.
ize more fully his economic environment. Dis-
coveries and inventions, such as the rotation of crops, the
expansive power of steam, and the modern mechanical
inventions have multiplied enormously the productivity
of nature. This has been called man's conquest of nature
and is part of the process of the evolution of industrial
society. The twin forces of invention and of social organi-
zation have created a social surplus, that is, a surplus of
goods above what is needed for present consumption.
Each new invention or change in organization means a
problem of social adjustment, and the transition period
may be one of hardship.
Another characteristic of industry may be found in the
formation of social classes, whose existence is due to the
development of industrial society, as well as to social
the growth of the State, the effect of war, and classes -
numerous other forces. The earliest division of labor and
226 Problems of American Democracy
of social classes was based on sex. In savage societies the
women worked while the men hunted. Later, society was
divided into a slave and a leisure class. We have seen how
the conquering group exploited the labor of the conquered
by the institution of slavery. Upon it developed many
ancient cultures and civilizations. Modern industrial
society involves social distinctions based upon labor and
capital. These groups, however, should not be antago-
nistic, but complementary and interdependent.
Social evolution divides the development of industrial
society into four stages: (i) hunting and fishing; (2) pas-
sta es of toral; (3) agricultural, and (4) industrial. There
develop- i s no clearly cut line of demarcation between
these stages. Like other periods of history, one
gradually fades into the other. Often we may see both
existing side by side. Again, some groups advance more
rapidly than others and arrive earlier at an advanced stage.
With the passage from the hunting and fishing periods to
the pastoral, and then to the agricultural stage, there are
developed the early handicrafts like weaving and pottery
making. When the fourth stage is reached, the society
has usually attained a high degree of civilization.
The Industrial Revolution took place after European
civilization had long been in the last stage of economic
impor- development. It occurred during the last half
* a *l ce °* of the eighteenth and the first part of the nine-
Revolution: teenth centuries. The French Revolution,
A comparison. i • i ■ 1 1 i , ., .. ?
which took place about the same time, was tar
more spectacular and produced great social and political
changes. The gradual, progressive, economic changes in
the method of production, which is merely another way
of defining the Industrial Revolution, were not heralded
The Industrial Revolution
so loudly as the guillotining of a few aristocrats. Never-
theless, they were perhaps of far greater moment to the
world. The Industrial Revolution made it possible for
Europe to double her population within the next century.
Great cities arose as if by magic. There had been some
improvement in the method of agriculture after the close
of the Middle Ages, but labor-saving machinery was a
distinct development of the nineteenth century.
Old-Fashioned Spinning Wheel
Before the Industrial Revolution manufacturing was
still done by hand, as the etymology of the word indicates.
The distaff had been supplanted by the spinning wheel.
Problems of American Democracy
Weaving was done by a cumbersome hand loom. Home-
spun cloth was worn by the patriots of the Revolution.
The old Methods of illumination, as well as of transpor-
tation, had made little progress. Animal fats were
used for making candles and oils required in lamps. Mod-
ern means of communication, like the telegraph and tele-
phone, were undreamed of. Men journeyed on land like
Hand Printing Press
the ancients, on foot or by horseback. On sea the small
sailing vessel had not been replaced by the huge steamer.
The means of travel used by Napoleon's troops were hardly
superior to those of the legionaries of Caesar. Indeed
many of the old Roman roads offered a means of trans-
portation superior to those of that day. In order to appre-
ciate fully the gains of the Industrial Revolution let us see,
The Industrial Revolution 229
therefore, what economic conditions were like before the
great mechanical inventions took place in the eighteenth
and nineteenth centuries.
Industry Before the Age of Machinery. — During the.
Middle Ages, when agriculture was the prevailing occupa-
tion, population was widely scattered through- The
out the country districts of Europe. The insti- manorial
. . . system.
tution of feudalism, determining the economic as
well as the military organization of society, made the manor
the unit of agricultural production. The serfs who tilled
the soil lived in small villages close to the protecting walls
of the neighboring castle or manor house. Their wretched
huts, with thatched roof and crude interior, often shel-
tered both man and beast. On all sides lay the lord's
estate composed of woodland for hunting, meadow land
for grazing, and the lands for actual farming. Some of
these farm lands the lord kept for himself, but the remainder
was divided into strips for the serfs, who worked not only
their own lands but also their lord's. The serf also paid
the lord a rent in the form of a share of the produce derived
from the land which he tilled for his own support. Not
only were methods of agriculture crude, but one-third of the
land lay fallow every year. The manor, shut off from the
outside world and supported by its own activities, had
little intercourse with the rest of Christendom.
The medieval towns were the birthplaces of commerce
and manufacturing, which were carried on by an organiza-
tion of trade and craft guilds. A trade guild _
& . ° The guilds.
included the merchants of that particular town,
and a craft guild, the makers of a special commodity. Not
only was a fraternal spirit maintained in each group, but a
practical monopoly was secured by the members, who
230 Problems of American Democracy
excluded outsiders from participation in the production of
that particular commodity and also placed restrictions upon
their own activities. The quantity and quality of the
goods produced were carefully regulated. Medieval pro-
duction was, of course, carried on by hand and under the
careful eye of the master. A boy worked as an apprentice
while he learned the trade. After the period of appren-
ticeship had expired, he became a journeyman and could
then work for wages. Upon the accumulation of a little
capital, he might set up a shop for himself and become a
master workman. Medieval trade and commerce were
carried on at certain markets and by great annual fairs.
The Crusades helped to break down feudalism by stimu-
lating commerce, while the Black Death hastened the
Later gradual decay of serfdom. When the manorial
c anges. system began to decline, a class of farm laborers
appeared to take the place of the medieval serf. With the
decline of guilds, great trading companies came into exist-
ence, like the London and East India Companies, which
planned to carry on commerce with the new lands that had
been discovered. The craft guilds were replaced by the
domestic system of manufacturing, whereby artisans could
now set up hand machinery in their own homes and there
carry on production free from the protection of the guild.
The necessity for some sort of protection in industry,
together with the decline of feudalism, led finally to the
development of strong national governments.
The Industrial Revolution. — The textile industries
_. . were the first to be revolutionized by the use of
The inven- J
tion of machinery. Under the domestic system weaving
was done upon the hand loom by the father of
the house, assisted perhaps by a journeyman, while the
The Industrial Revolution 231
women did the spinning on the primitive spinning wheel.
But, during the second half of the eighteenth century, a
great series of mechanical inventions took place, which
completely altered these simple processes. Hargreaves
invented a "spinning jenny" which could spin several
threads at once out of the raw material, while Cartwright's
power loom superseded the slower method of weaving by
hand. Another Englishman, named Watt, gave to the
world the steam engine. Eli Whitney's cotton gin increased
the supply of raw cotton for the manufacture of cloth.
These were the first of a series of great mechanical inven-
tions which have continued down to our own day. The
movement began in England in the manufacture of tex-
tiles, but has spread to other lands and other industries.
The locomotive and the steamboat have revolutionized
means of transportation as much as the earlier inventions
revolutionized methods of manufacturing. The last cen-
tury has been called the age of steam and machinery.
The new machinery, with its great demands for capital,
was responsible for the change to the factory system of
manufacturing. The cumbersome mechanical The
inventions were too large and costly for the cot- factor y
m ° J system:
tage weavers and spinners to set up in their General
homes. Large factories were therefore built to
house the new machinery, and production went from the
home into large specialized industrial plants. Since this
method required great sums of money, a new capitalistic
class, who owned the instruments of production, sprang
into existence. The laborers, who had formerly owned
their own tools, now became a group of machine operators
who no longer worked for themselves. Population shifted
to the regions where coal and iron were to be found and
232 Problems of American Democracy
great industrial towns grew up. Many of the estates,
which had formerly been regarded as common pasture
land, were inclosed for the benefit of the local landlord,
who raised sheep in order to procure a supply of raw wool
for the manufacture of cloth.
This change worked hardship to the rural workers of Eng-
land, many of whom came to the town to seek employment
in the factories. Again, the new machinery drove many
Theconse- of the hand weavers out of employment. In
quences. alleys and cellars some kept up a futile competi-
tion for a lower wage, while others retaliated by burning
and destroying the new machinery. A period of adjust-
ment was necessary before labor could adapt itself to the
new industrial environment. During this period of tran-
sition there was considerable disorder and distress. In
America, there was comparatively little manufacturing
before the Industrial Revolution and such problems of
adjustment were not difficult at that time. But in the long
run, machinery, like any other improvement, was of great
benefit to society. It not only multiplied the output, but
made possible the lowering of prices to such a level that the
new goods could come within the reach of all. The Indus-
trial Revolution, however, divided society into the opposing
camps of capital and labor, whose apparently conflicting
interests have created many modern problems. The early
social effects of the factory system were disastrous because
the first factories were unhealthy and housing conditions
were equally unsanitary. The problems of women in
industry and of child labor likewise sprang into existence.
The Industrial Revolution was largely responsible for
England's proud position of industrial and commercial
leadership, which continued undisputed until the economic
The Industrial Revolution 233
expansion of Germany and the United States. Looking
overseas at their great colonial empire, Englishmen might
well be proud of their country; but, glancing inwardly at
industrial conditions, the picture was not so inspiring.
Colonies were at first regarded as important for maintain-
ing industrial supremacy. They were viewed as sources of
raw materials and as markets for finished goods. The Rev-
olutionary War represented the opposition of Americans
to the theory that colonies existed for the benefit of the
mother country. It was forbidden to export machinery to
the colonies, and America was prohibited from