Excerpt from The Pursuit of Happiness: A Textbook in Civics
Our educational system would be doing a distinct service to the country if it could give to the young people of the present generation a respect for law. In the case of our most interesting girls and boys, the ones we like to consider typically American in their attitude, this respect for law can never be awakened by mere commandments and prohibitions: it must have a sound basis. If young people can be made to understand that laws are necessary to their comfort and happiness, and if they can be made to feel a personal responsibility for keeping laws sane and reasonable and for observance of all laws and a vigorous enforcement of them; we shall have that respect for law which has at all times marked highly civilized nations at the height of their power.
To reach this difficult goal it is necessary that young people take a thoughtful interest in government. The hope of the author is that the material in this book may awaken interest and stimulate discussion on matters which, though of vital importance, are generally neglected by the ordinary man and woman. Many questions have been asked in this book to which it is impossible to give definite answer. Students, even below high school age, are not too young to learn that the world in which they live is full of problems as yet unsettled. These problems may be brought nearer to a satisfactory solution by thoughtful discussion and the marshaling of known facts. Intelligent interest in government problems on the part of even a fraction of the electorate would greatly strengthen a democracy.
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