The Government of the American People

Cover of book The Government of the American People
Categories: Nonfiction

Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: a business of gre


at magnitude. The police department sometimes contains thousands of men, organized on military principles, for the sole purpose of protection. A fire on a farm may destroy the home of a family, or at most the house and the farm buildings ; but a fire in a city, unless it is promptly extinguished, may destroy property to the amount of millions of dollars, and very many lives may be lost in addition. Therefore, protection against fire, which is hardly thought of in the country except as a purely private matter, becomes in the city an important part of the business of government. A fire department must be maintained, with a body of trained men, horses, hose carts, engines, etc., to carry out this duty of the city government. Again, the matter of health gives little concern to the government of a rural township where people live so much scattered that there is little danger of the spread of disease from one family to another. But when a case of smallpox or scarlet fever occurs in a city, thousands and tens of thousands of people immediately take alarm; for they know that if the infected persons are not rigidly quarantined the disease is likely to sweep over the entire city, causing great suffering and expense, and perhaps carrying off hundreds of victims. So there must be a department of public health, which looks after the removal of such things as are likely to breed disease; inspects the water and milk supply, and also the staple foods sold in the city; makes regulations about the disposal of the dead; prescribes rules for the lighting of school-houses and for the vaccination of school-children, etc. In the country the supply of water is wholly a private question. Every man gets his supply as best he can, by means of wells, springs, or cisterns. In thecity...

The Government of the American People
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