Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)

1919

New immigrants learn that "the good citizen loves God, loves the Empire, ... and is every inch of a man"

This year, Alfred Fitzpatrick (the founder of Frontier College, and himself an immigrant from Europe) published the Handbook for New Canadians, to instill among them the values of ‘good citizenship’. On page 56, a poem entitled ‘Citizenship’ informs new immigrants about the virtues of citizenship under which they have to model their lives in their new country:

Citizenship

The good citizen 
Loves God 
Loves the Empire 
Loves Canada 
Loves his own family 
Protects women and children 
Works hard 
Does his work well 
Helps his neighbour 
Is truthful 
Is just 
Is honest 
Is brave 
Keeps his promise 
His body is clean 
Is every inch of a Man.

Interestingly enough, women were not included in this conception of citizenship. If a good citizen “protects women and children,” and is “every inch of a man,” then it follows that women were not considered citizens. Moreover, in this poem citizenship was connected mainly to patriotism and colonialism (“loves the Empire and Canada, and is brave”), to religion (“loves God”), to work (“works hard and well”) and to personal virtues (“honest”, “just”, “keeps promises”). In this formulation the good citizen is male, and is conceived as a good worker, a good neighbour, a good patriot and a good provider.

Absent from this was the idea of a good citizen as critical, informed and engaged. Also absent from this poem was the idea of the citizen as active participant in the polis, and the idea of citizenship as an inclusive concept, connected to the enforcement of equal rights and responsibilities for all peoples.

At the same time, however, it has been noted that during the early years of Frontier College (founded in 1899), Fitzpatrick strongly encouraged the participation of women, but “those who followed him did not share his progressive views” (Butterwick 1997:108). In any case, several of the ideas of citizenship (and citizenship education) advanced in this poem would be challenged during the remaining of the 20th century.

Sources:

Fitzpatrick, Alfred (1919). Handbook for New Canadians. Toronto. Ryerson Press.

Butterwick, Shauna (1998). Lest we forget: uncovering women’s leadership in adult education. In G. Selman et al (eds.), The Foundations of Adult Education in Canada. Toronto: Thompson Press, pp. 103-116.

Russell, Roberta (2002). Bridging the boundaries for a more inclusive citizenship education. In Y. Hebert (ed.). Citizenship in transformation in Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, pp. 134-149.

For an more extensive discussion on gender and citizenship, please see the work of Pat Durish entitled “Citizenship and Difference: Feminist Debates”, in the Annotated Bibliography Series edited by Daniel Schugurensky: <http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_schugurensky/lclp/lclp_annbib.html>

Prepared by DS

Citation: Author (2003). Title. In Daniel Schugurensky (Ed.), History of Education: Selected Moments of the 20th Century [online]. Available:  http://fcis.oise.utoronto.ca/~daniel_schugurensky/assignment1/  (date accessed).

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