Jane Addams (September 6, 1860 – May 21, 1935) was a pioneer settlement social worker, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in women's suffrage and world peace. In an era when presidents such as Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson identified themselves as reformers and social activists, Addams was one of the most prominent reformers of the Progressive Era. She helped turn the US to issues of concern to mothers, such as the needs of children, public health, and world peace. She said that if women were to be responsible for cleaning up their communities and making them better places to live, they needed the vote to be effective in doing so. Addams became a role model for middle-class women who volunteered to uplift their communities. She is increasingly being recognized as a member of the American pragmatist school of philosophy. In 1931 she became the first American woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and is recognized as the founder of the social work profession in the United States. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)
Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.
America's future will be determined by the home and the school. The child becomes largely what he is taught; hence we must watch what we teach, and how we live.
Civilization is a method of living, an attitude of equal respect for all men.
Hospitality still survives among foreigners, although it is buried under false pride among the poorest Americans.
I do not believe that women are better than men. We have not wrecked railroads, nor corrupted legislature, nor done many unholy things that men have done; but then we must remember that we have not had the chance.
If the underdog were always right, one might quite easily try to defend him. The trouble is that very often he is but obscurely right, sometimes only partially right, and often quite wrong; but perhaps he is never so altogether wrong and pig-headed and utterly reprehensible as he is represented to be by those who add the possession of prejudices to the other almost insuperable difficulties of understanding him.
In his own way each man must struggle, lest the moral law become a far-off abstraction utterly separated from his active life.
Life cannot be administered by definite rules and regulations; that wisdom to deal with a man’s difficulties comes only through some knowledge of his life and habits as a whole...
National events determine our ideals, as much as our ideals determine national events.
Nothing could be worse than the fear that one had given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort that might have saved the world.
Of all the aspects of social misery nothing is so heartbreaking as unemployment.
Old-fashioned ways which no longer apply to changed conditions are a snare in which the feet of women have always become readily entangled.
Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we often might win, by fearing to attempt.
Private beneficence is totally inadequate to deal with the vast numbers of the city's disinherited.
Social advance depends as much upon the process through which it is secured as upon the result itself.
Social advance depends quite as much upon an increase in moral sensibility as it does upon a sense of duty.
That which may have sounded like righteous teaching when it was remote and wordy, will be challenged afresh when it is obliged to simulate life itself.
The common stock of intellectual enjoyment should not be difficult of access because of the economic position of him who would approach it.
The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of one's self.
The excellent becomes the permanent.
The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.
Unless our conception of patriotism is progressive, it cannot hope to embody the real affection and the real interest of the nation.
We have learned to say that the good must be extended to all of society before it can be held secure by any one person or class; but we have not yet learned to add to that statement, that unless all (people) and all classes contribute to a good, we cannot even be sure that it is worth having.
What after all, has maintained the human race on this old globe despite all the calamities of nature and all the tragic failings of mankind, if not faith in new possibilities, and courage to advocate them.
With all the efforts made by modern society to nurture and educate the young, how stupid it is to permit the mothers of young children to spend themselves in the coarser work of the world!
(September 6 is also the birthday of Jeff Foxworthy.)