The American Tradition: 10. Of the Civilizing of Groups

Play it again Sam!



Newspaper headlines call atten­tion to the events. They tell of demonstrations, of threatened na­tion-wide strikes, of freedom marches, of crowds turning ugly in their behavior and becoming mobs, of union violence, of sit-downs and sit-ins, of panty raids, of protest meetings, and of giant rallies. Pictures which accompany these stories frequently show police employing night sticks, cattle prods, bloodhounds, and fire hoses, or the National Guard advancing with fixed bayonets behind the cover of tear gas. The particular actors and causes change from time to time. In the 1930′s, union violence was the most prominent national phenomenon. In the 1950′s, rebels with­out a cause formed gangs of teen­agers to prey upon one another, as well as the innocent. In the 1960′s, Negroes and their sym­pathizers are the actors.

Taken together, however, these events constitute major trends of our times. On the one hand, the developments can be described as massed action by some group, which frequently is transformed by its fervor, or by some unfor­tunate event, into mob action. On the other, there are the harsh methods of the law enforcers, which appear to become harsher with each new device employed.

The chances are good, of course, that the headline writers will have found new topics before this is published. Shifting from ephem­era to ephemera as they do, they are not likely to convey any sus­tained sense of crisis, even when one exists. It is possible, but un­likely, that Congress will have dealt satisfactorily with the rail­road issue and with civil rights. It is much more probable, how­ever, that if they pass any labor legislation it will be but another expedient patch to stave off the inevitable consequences of the crazy-quilt of protective legisla­tion passed earlier.

Be that as it may, it is most unlikely that the trends of this century will be reversed in the immediate future. Massed action by groups, and terror and vio­lence to contain it, are not exclu­sively, or even particularly, Amer­ican phenomena. They are world­wide in scope. Violence by groups has been epidemic in this century. It may be reviewed in its most instructive manifestation in Ger­many during and before the rise to power of the Nazis. Hitler’s followers terrorized the opposi­tion and capitalized on the cru­cial failure to restrain them. Once in power, Hitler used brutal coer­cion to subdue his own forces and to remove competitors among them. But this was only a more dramatic example of patterns of behavior among communists, fas­cists, Moslems, newly created African countries, and older Eu­ropean and American countries.

Groups Threaten Civilization

It is tempting to draw the con­clusion that civilization has bro­ken down. Those who use the blunderbuss approach to social analysis have pre-empted the po­sition already. But such a con­clusion is too all-inclusive to be useful, and it is of doubtful va­lidity. By any criteria that we would be likely to devise, civiliza­tion still prevails in many coun­tries and may, for aught we know, be spreading to the re­mainder. Nevertheless, if my sur­mise is correct, civilization is gravely endangered by massed group action and political terror and violence.

The phenomena to which I call attention have not gone unob­served, nor is there a lack of popu­lar explanations. Current explana­tions usually follow one of two lines. If the explainer approves of the group action, he usually accounts for it in terms of in­tolerable social conditions which have provoked it. For example, it is now a cliché that labor strikes arise from deprivations of the laborer. (Anyone who thinks that this view has been much modified by sociological studies should read some books on economic history.) Already, Negro demonstrations are being explained environmen­tally. On the other hand, if the writer disapproves the objectives of the action, he will incline to make psychological explanations, e. g., of Nazi behavior or of cur­rent American “rightist” move­ments (which, despite the fact that they have not resorted to violence, are treated by many writers and speakers as if they were underground movements to overthrow the government). Such explanations reveal the ideologi­cal predispositions of those who make them. The explanations are chosen to fit the explainer’s pro­gram.

Mob Action Is a Product

It is not my intention, however, to join the psychologizers and environmentalists in their meth­ods of accounting for group ac­tion. Most of what they have to say is either guesswork or irrele­vant. History is replete with suf­ferings which could have provided occasions for mass eruptions. In most cases, no such action occurred. Nor is there any consistently demonstrable connection between the degree of deprivation and the occurrence of resistance. Even if they were right in their causal explanations, however, they offer little by way of solution for the problems raised by mass violence. A man being chased by a mob would receive small comfort from the notion that it was “all in their minds.” A Kulak would still be unprotected when he had been told that his fate had been occa­sioned by economic deprivation. Mobs must still be subdued if anarchy is to be forestalled, what­ever the explanation for their ex­istence, subdued by whatever means are necessary.

My point is this: we are for­getting and have to a considerable extent discarded the methods for civilizing groups. Techniques for subduing mobs are substituted for methods of civilizing groups. Learned treatises on mob psy­chology vie for attention with psychological and environmental explanations of group behavior. The police and armies get special training in dealing with groups, and modern technology provides the instruments. Terror and vio­lence used by modern dictators to hold the masses in check are but an extension of methods employed almost everywhere to a more mod­erate degree. Both the mob action and the techniques by which it is quelled are eloquent testimony to our failure to civilize groups. The current alternatives favored by “liberals” amount to admonitions to submit to the pressure and co­ercion of the group.

As implied above, there is an­other possibility of dealing with groups. It is to civilize them. And there was an American tradition of the civilizing of groups. But it has rarely, if ever, been articu­lated, and it has now fallen into such obscurity that it must now be exhumed, as it were. I may be pardoned then for taking a cir­cuitous path to view the remains. The tradition can best be under­stood after we have reviewed the steps we have taken away from it.

Our failure to civilize groups stems from three directions: (1) not keeping clearly before us the important distinctions between individuals and groups; (2) fall­ing prey to certain delusions about group behavior; (3) dis­carding the principles men have learned for civilizing groups. The corrective of these was once a part of the American tradition.

Group Action Is Different

Groups are not simply collec­tions of individuals. This fact is well enough known, yet it needs to be spelled out in order to demonstrate that we have fallen into some delusions. Any reflec­tive person should be able to pro­vide examples from his own ex­perience of differences between in­dividuals and groups. For ex­ample, everyone must have had this happen to him. In a conver­sation with one other person, you have discovered that person to be sympathetic, polite, and thought­ful. You may go away from such an experience concluding that you have met and are coming to know a genuine human being. Your next meeting, however, may take place in a group. Here the person who was congenial when alone with you may make cutting re­marks and align himself with the others of the group against you on matters upon which you were sure you would agree. A little re­flection should convince us, if we are not entirely unusual, that we have done the same thing our­selves.

An explanation for this trans­formation is not far to seek. Most of us are to some extent insecure when we enter a group, however casual and temporary the group­ing. To allay this uneasiness, most men will attempt to identify with the crowd. In so doing, they take on the coloration and mood of the group, tend to suppress their dif­ferences, subordinate their reason to the common passion, and make common cause against whoever or whatever would upset the mood. Little boys will give chase to the one whose differences are too ap­parent; grown men will turn up­on the intruder and subject him to ridicule.

If the grouping is temporary and the occasion social, men will soon go their separate ways and reassume their individual identi­ties. However, if the grouping is more nearly permanent, if it articulates a cause or has been brought together for a cause, the identity of the individual may be more nearly merged with it. In that case, the sense of power which comes from identification with and of righteousness in a shared cause will replace the in­security. At this point, a group can easily become a mob; at the least, it poses a potential threat to all outside of it. Not all groups, of course, become mobs. But that is my point. There are useful groups, and there are dangerous groups. The difference between them is the degree to which they have been civilized.

Anyone who has worked with aggregates of people should have noted some differences between groups and individuals. Groups do not think or reason; that is solely a function of the individual. On the other hand, individuals, feeling the strength of numbers, are emboldened to do things which they would be afraid to do alone. Children in a classroom will become defiant if they sense the class is with them, and one may observe them darting their eyes about over the room to assure themselves that the others are be­hind them. At a more serious level, anyone who has endured the abuse of massed pickets when he crossed the line can testify to the loss of inhibition which ac­companies the merging with a group. People tend to lose their sense of individual responsibility as they become a part of a crowd. Moreover, it is very doubtful that groups can create, whereas, they are very adept at destruction. No mob could erect a building, for such an undertaking requires an ordering of activity which would remove the mob character of a collection of people, but a mob can readily wreck a building.

Delusions About Group Behavior

With these differences in mind, some contemporary ideas about groups take on the appearance of delusions. The most general of these notions is that direct action by groups (or the people) is de­sirable. In American history, this idea was advanced most forcefully by those whom we call Progres­sives. They were particularly prominent in the early twentieth century, but most of the political reforms enacted since were pro­moted during that time. Progres­sives had in mind the more or less direct political action involved in the direct election of Senators, the recall of judges, and the initiative and referendum. This, as it turns out, was the program of reformers out of power, for once in the power they have preferred to use the established machinery of gov­ernment for their ends.

Other kinds of direct action by groups, however, were fostered by reformers over the years, un­der such rubrics as “industrial democracy” and “agricultural democracy.” Under the former, union members voted to bind in­dividuals to their decisions; un­der the latter, farmers voted themselves a cut of the tax take. Such direct action, of course, ad­vances the interest of the in-group both at the expense of the in­dividual and of the general wel­fare.

Ideologies Are Not Enough

Another delusion is that causes and ideologies can provide a suf­ficient basis for controlling groups in their common endeavors. This is a delusion which appears to pervade intellectual circles around the world. Ideologies can, at least in theory, unite people; causes can provide a focus for collective action. But they do not usually contain limits which would con­trol the people. For example, democracy is considered by many in the West to be a sufficient cause for social unity and com­mon action in the world today. By contrast, many in the East have succumbed to the notion that communism can provide an ide­ology which will accomplish these ends. Both are wrong. Democ­racy, cut loose from its mooring in an older tradition, serves, as do all ideologies in our day, as a shibboleth by would-be dictators in their thrust to power.

This is not accidental; it is cen­tral. We appear to be regularly astonished that governments which were announced as demo­cratic, by our press as well as the propaganda outlets within the country involved, shortly become despotic and quite often turn into military dictatorships. I cite Cas­tro’s regime as an example, but the number of them around the world today is legion. The people cannot create; they can only de­stroy when they act collectively and directly. Ideologies cannot change this. They can serve as a basis of unity for destroying whatever exists, but this only raises the problem of order rather than settling it. Most modern revolutions have foundered as the leaders attempted to come to grips with this problem. If a predeter­mined ideology is to be realized, if tradition is discarded, that order must be centrally directed and imposed from above. For this, dictators, terror, and violence are the usual means.

“The End Justifies the Means”

The third delusion is the belief that the end justifies the means. So baldly stated, I suppose that most Americans would deny that they believe it. Yet many Ameri­cans speak and act as if they believed it. Direct group action is supposed to be justified if the cir­cumstances are bad enough to war­rant it, or if the cause is suffi­ciently just in the eyes of the per­son making the judgment. Thus, direct action violence and sabo­tage by labor unions would be supposed by many to have been justified by the deprivation of the workers. Or, to take a current ex­ample, many people apparently be­lieve that direct action by Negro groups is justified by wrongs that have been perpetrated upon Ne­groes. But the righteousness of the cause does not alter the character of groups. For aught I know, the violence of groups during the ref­ormations of the sixteenth cen­tury was activated by the purest of human visions, the protection of the immortal souls of men, but this did not prevent the rape and pillage which were widespread. In like manner, “nonviolent” Ne­gro groups are readily trans­formed into violent groups, and even mobs.

There are various other delu­sions about groups which I can only suggest here. There is the belief that some are made “good” by the make-up of their mem­bership, i. e., laborers, farmers, minority groups, and so forth. This is sheer nonsense, and it would need to be disproved only to those who are victims of ideologically induced blindness. There is the notion that the individual’s interest is permanently merged with that of some group. Yet this is only so if his belonging is pre­scribed by law. Otherwise, men will shift from group to group depending upon inclination and circumstances. One of the prime delusions is that freedom can be advanced by direct action. Having loosed the potential mob, how­ever, nothing is more likely than that dictatorship and oppression will be used to contain it. The French Revolution is the classic example of the working out of the eventualities of the arousal of the crowd while destroying the traditional checks upon it.

Forgotten Principles of Law and Order

In large, my point is that the ideologies to which many intel­lectuals have fallen prey, along with those who have simply been attracted by the glowing phrases informed by ideology, have tend­ed to rely upon some kind of group action and solidarity. But they have not taken into account the nature of groups, and thus the thrust toward the realization of these ideologies has been ac­companied by terror, violence, dictatorship, and totalitarianism.

In America, of course, the vio­lence has been somewhat re­strained thus far, the repression less pronounced. This was true because Americans had a long tradition of law-abidingness, and American institutions provided a framework for civilizing groups. Ideologues have been shielded from the consequences of their ideas by the very tradition they have deplored.

With this background in mind, the American tradition of the civilizing of groups can be prof­itably examined. More than one way has been devised for civiliz­ing groups, however. Medieval Europe developed quite different means from those we associate with America, and the American tradition was made both in op­position to this older way and with the remains of it. Thus, something should be said on this head. It will be useful also in providing a standard of compar­ison.

In the Middle Ages, groups were civilized, to the extent that they were, by giving legal rec­ognition to them, chartering them, giving them status, and regulat­ing them. Workmen were organ­ized in guilds, landholders and fighters into a nobility, students in colleges, people with a reli­gious vocation into clerical orders, and so forth. Orders were grant­ed privileges presumed to be suit­ed to their task, or their members claimed rights by ancient usage and by virtue of their role in society. Charters served as a basis for regulating the activities of townsmen. Guilds minutely regulated the quantity and qual­ity of goods produced, the prices for which they could be sold, and the methods of tradesmen. The nobility was regulated by a hier­archy of nobles in which the mem­bers were bound together by oaths of allegiance and fidelity.

Conflicts between groups oc­curred, of course, and were even ritualized into tournaments. Men were supposed to be held to their oaths by fear of the dread con­sequences which were expected to follow if they should be broken. The church could punish offend­ers in a variety of ways, such as denying absolution, excommuni­cation, and refusal to bury the dead in consecrated ground. As kings grew in power, they were able to subdue unruly groups by force.

Rules, Forms, Rituals

One of the most potent means for the civilizing of groups is the use of rules, forms, and rituals. These are to groups what good manners are to the individual—habitual and customary means for order and discipline. Ideals may also be most useful in restraining and directing the behavior of groups. All of these were dramatically exemplified in the Middle Ages. Almost every activity was preceded by cere­mony and done according to pre­scribed forms. Elaborate rituals were developed for initiation in­to certain groups. For example, here is a description of the cere­mony by which some became knights:

The candidate was first given a ritual bath…, a sort of baptism purifying him from sin. He was then clothed in a white linen tunic sym­bolic of his purity, a scarlet robe to remind him of his duty if need be to shed his blood for the Church, and black hose to symbolize death. He must fast for the twenty-four hours preceding his initiation, and spend the night watching upon his arms before the high altar of the church…. The following morning he must confess his sins, attend Mass, and make his communion.1

After which, the formal ceremony of knighting took place. In ad­dition, knights were supposed to conform to a code of behavior and strive to realize certain ideals. John of Salisbury described these duties as follows:

To defend the Church, to assail infidelity, to venerate the priesthood, to protect the poor from injuries, to pacify the province, to pour out their blood for their brothers (as the formula of their oath instructs them), and, if need be, to lay down their lives…. But to what end?… Rather to the end that they may execute the judgment that is committed to them to execute; wherein each follows not his own will but the de­liberate decision of God, the angels, and men, in accordance with equity and the public utility….2

The relationships between lord and vassal were spelled out in great detail in contracts. If a man had more than one lord, these contracts became quite complex, as in the following example: “I, John of Toul, make known that I am the Liege man of the Lady Beatrice, Countess of Troyes, and of her son Theobald, Count of Champagne, against every crea­ture, living or dead, saving my allegiance to Lord Enjorand of Coucy, Lord John of Arcis, and the Count of Grandpré.”³.

Other orders lived according to rules as well. Here is a descrip­tion of some of the rules under which the Cistercian Order lived:

They have two tunics with cowls, but no additional garment in winter, though, if they think fit, in summer they may lighten their garb. They sleep clad and girded, and never after matins return to their beds…. Directly after (singing)… hymns they sing the prime, after which they go out to work for stated hours. They complete whatever labour or service they have to perform by day without any other light.4

The following are prescriptions for those who occupied certain papal lands:

These are the things which the people of Nimfa should do. They should do fealty to St. Peter and Lord Pope Paschal and his succes­sors whom the higher cardinals and the Romans may elect. Service of army and court when the court may command. The service which they have been accustomed to do…, they should do to St. Peter and the pope. The fourth which they ought to render henceforth, they should render at the measure of the Roman modius….5

It would be difficult, if not im­possible, to determine how well the medieval system succeeded in civilizing groups. It is probably an irrelevant question, in any case. Most of the system has long since disappeared, preserved only in records and some practices of the Roman Catholic Church, hard­ly enough to offer a viable alter­native in contemporary circum­stances. Suffice it to say, the medie­val system was designed to estab­lish order and stability, that it pro­vided little room for liberty and was entirely antithetical to equal­ity.

Absolute Monarchy

As the medieval order broke down, groups were either crushed by monarchs or made subservient to them. The long range tendency was for the powers once vested in groups to be subsumed by kings, who ruled more or less absolutely. These powers, in turn, came to be vested in the state, according to the doctrine of sovereignty and modern practice. Both individuals and groups were often at the mercy of capricious monarchs. It is too gross a judgment to say that the countries of continental Europe never managed to devel­op a tradition that would provide for individual liberty and the civilizing of groups. Yet much of modern history is filled with the anarchy of contending groups and the oppressions by which they were brought to heel.

England and America followed a different course, and it looked for a time in the nineteenth and early twentieth century as if Europe might follow their example. Currently, the direction of emula­tion has been to a considerable extent reversed, of course. I would speak, however, of the emergence of the American tradition of the civilizing of groups.

Principles of the American Tradition

The American tradition can be reduced to several principles.

(1) Americans used forms and rituals for the civilizing of groups. These were largely from the in­heritance from the Old World. They consisted of parliamentary rules for debates, prayers at the beginning and end of meetings, inaugurations, and installations of officers, the taking of oaths of of­fice, and similar practices of great number and variety. To the thoughtless, these practices may seem of little moment. They are not. Every gathering of people is potentially disorderly, and as num­bers increase, the threat to the peace and to individuals mounts. Following rules and forms dimin­ishes this danger. The meeting that begins with prayer is less likely than otherwise to end riot­ously. The observance of parlia­mentary rules protects individuals who would speak out and helps maintain order. Following pre­determined orders of business helps to prevent precipitous action.
(2) The American tradition is one of limited action by groups or the populace as a whole. Con­stitutionalism was the device adopted to serve this end. The Con­stitution set limits upon what governments could do, and, by im­plication, denied the force of gov­ernment to groups who might use it for unlimited ends. True, the Constitution could be amended, but it takes so long and is so cumber­some that groups are not likely to maintain solidarity long enough to amend it. If they do, the more dangerous aspects of group be­havior are likely to have been stilled.
(3) The republican form of government prescribes indirect political action. Laws were sup­posed to be passed by represent­atives of the people. When the crowd cannot act directly, much of its force is lost, and its danger is apt to be dissipated. Represent­atives, even when they represent groups, are likely to be confronted by representatives of other groups in a large country, or so James Madison argued in the Federalist, Number 10. In that case, they will probably have to resort to reason and persuasion to win their case. The group is civilized not only by having had a voice in decisions but also by participating indirectly and by having to submit to the dis­cipline of parliamentary rules.
(4) The United States Constitution did not give legal recogni­tion to groups.6 At law, there were no classes, orders, or group­ings of men possessing privileges, duties, immunities, or exemptions. A New York judge was speaking out of this tradition when he de­livered his opinion on the actions of a tailor’s union in 1836:

The law leaves every individual master of his own individual acts. But it will not suffer him to en­croach upon the rights of others. He may work or not, as suits his pleas­ure, but he shall not enter into a confederacy with a view of control­ling others, and take measures to carry it into effect. The reason for the distinction is manifest. So long as individual members of the com­munity do not resort to any acts of violence, their hostility can be guarded against. But who can with­stand an extensive combination to injure him in his calling? When such cases, therefore, occur, the law ex­tends its protecting shield.7

When groups are prohibited by law from committing depredations, long strides have been made to­ward civilizing them.

(5) Groups were dependent upon the recruiting of volunteers for their membership and upon their appeal for their continuation. Individuals were free to join or not to join, to continue their mem­bership or to resign. Far from bringing about the end of all or­ganizations, however, groups of all sorts proliferated in America. Visitors from other shores were astounded at their number and variety. Note, too, that this system made possible the greatest amount of liberty both for individuals and for groups. In this tradition, there was no need to prescribe rules for groups by law. The members of a group could do nothing legally that they could not do as individ­uals. The group is deactivated as a mob, actual or potential, when it is broken up into individuals. This, the American tradition provided for doing.

Departure from Tradition

To say that there was an Ameri­can tradition of the civilizing of groups is not to say that groups always behaved in a civilized man­ner in America. Indeed, Ameri­cans did form mobs on occasion. These mobs did sometimes commit lynchings and other depredations upon the citizenry. But the remedy was ready at hand. Punish the individuals for their unlawful acts and, if conspiracy was involved, punish them for that also.

But Americans have broken radically from this tradition in the last eighty years. Today it is doubtful that there is any longer much of a tradition for civilizing groups. The break was most prom­inent in several directions. So­phisticates, assorted intellectuals, cynics, and aliens to the culture, along with the careless, under­mined the supports to forms, rit­uals, and rules of order. The fall­ing away from religion removed much of the underpinning from oaths, made prayer on public oc­casions empty or at least slightly ridiculous, and took away much of the support from forms. A de­termined informality in America, promoted by relativism, has made those who insist upon observing rules appear stodgy. It has been my misfortune to sit in meetings where the chairman addressed participants informally, thus re­moving the safeguards to individ­ual dissent and making noisy dis­sent the alternative to mute acqui­escence in what was proposed.

At another level, class theories began to occupy thinkers in the latter part of the nineteenth cen­tury. They began to describe la­bor as a class, business as a class, and farmers as a class. Socialists and assorted reformers were at the forefront of this class thought and the subsequent appeal to peo­ple as a class. Notions of the populace as consisting in the main of inert masses of people became prominent.

This development was followed by a thrust to the recognition and empowering of groups by law. The United States government virtu­ally recognized the existence of economic classes by creating de­partments of agriculture, com­merce, and labor. Progressives pressed to remove the safeguards against direct action by advocat­ing the direct election of Sena­tors, the recall of judges, and the initiative and referendum. Cor­porations were likened to individ­uals by court decision. Labor unions were given special exemp­tions by the Clayton Anti-trust Act, the Wagner-Connery Act, and others. Farmers were em­powered to vote themselves price supports by various acts.8

Extra-Legal Grants of Power

However, much of the practical empowering of groups has not been accomplished by either con­stitutional amendment or legis­lative act. Instead, in many instances law enforcement officers have looked the other way while unions employed coercion and vio­lence. Politicians have practiced a policy of divide and conquer on the American people. The Demo­cratic Party has been most adept at this, though the Republicans have often attempted to compete. They have forged a party out of numerous minority groups, mak­ing promises and presumably pro­viding favors for them. Many of these groups have become vested interests, both legally and extra-legally.

As I write these words, Con­gress has just been engaged in providing compulsory arbitration for the railroads and the related unions. Negroes have gathered in Washington for a massive dem­onstration. The pattern is repeat­ing itself. The birds are coming home to roost. If the restraints are removed from group behavior by the grant of special privilege, if groups are empowered by law, if direct action is advanced be­cause the end is “good,” if the means for civilizing of groups are abandoned, compulsion and au­thoritarianism must be used to preserve order.

If anyone doubts that the situ­ation is perilous, let him imagine this situation. Suppose the com­panies in a major American in­dustry were to decide to operate without a union agreement, to throw their doors open and employ whom they would, and to announce this course as their policy in the future. Could anyone doubt that the violence that would ensue could only be curbed by violence? When groups become accustomed to having others submit to threats and pressure, they will become less and less willing to brook re­sistance. But there comes a time when social order requires resist­ance to the anarchy of contending groups. The road of resistance, however, leads to despotism in one form or another. Something anal­ogous to the medieval way might be tried, of course, at the expense of liberty and equality. Or, we might begin the now difficult and forbidding task of the restoring of the American tradition of civ­ilizing groups.

The next article in this series will treat “Of Rights and Responsibilities.”



1 James W. Thompson and Edgar N. Johnson, An Introduction to Medieval Europe (New York: W. W. Norton, 1937), p. 324.

2 Quoted in James B. Ross and Mary M. McLaughlin, The Portable Medieval Reader (New York: Viking, 1949), p. 90.

3 Quoted in Thompson and Johnson, op. cit., p.302.

4 Ross and McLaughlin, op. cit., p. 57.

5 Norton Downs, ed.,Basic Documents in Medieval History (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand, 1959), p. 54.

6 The one exception was Negro slav­ery, and that was abolished, of course, by the Thirteenth Amendment. How­ever, states sometimes recognized the existence of groups by privileges and exemptions.

7 New York v. Faulkner, reprinted in Henry S. Commager, The Era of Re­form, 1830-1860 (Princeton: D. Van Nostrand, 1960,), p. 106. It does not speak well for his objectivity that his­torian Commager characterizes it as a “notorious” decision.

8 I have treated this development more fully in The Fateful Turn (Irving­ton-on-Hudson: Foundation for Eco­nomic Education, 1963), pp. 107-127.


Clarence B. Carson was a frequent contributor to THE FREEMAN. He was professor of American history at Grove City College, Pennsylvania.

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