MILITARY DRILL IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS

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  • World Affairs Institute

    MILITARY DRILL IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLSAuthor(s): E. A. CoilSource: The Advocate of Peace (1894-1920), Vol. 56, No. 6 (JUNE, 1894), pp. 129-131, 139-140Published by: World Affairs InstituteStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20665138 .Accessed: 14/05/2014 00:45

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  • 1894. THE ADVOCATE OF PEACE. 129

    ily increasing its navy, which now numbers forty-two new

    war-vessels and has cost nearly one hundred millions of dollars. A considerable class of our citizens are advo

    cating the universal introduction of military instruction into the public schools and some are even calling for a forced militia service. International fears and suspicion still exist to a deplorable extent and men seem as yet incapable of throwing off the spell which the sorcery of

    militarism has thrown over them. While the condition of the world has greatly improved and wars are much less

    frequent and less likely to occur than was the case at the dark and bloody epoch when the American Peace Society began its work sixty-six years ago, there will be occa sion for a long time to come for the most earnest, unremitting and wisely directed effort on the part of all the friends of peace.

    THE OUTLOOK.

    On the whole, notwithstanding these untoward signs, the outlook is unquestionably encouraging. It is difficult to forecast the immediate future, but there are unmistak able evidences that love of peace and dislike of war are

    growing deeper and stronger in public opinion. The

    press has spoken out in this sense in larger measure and in greater clearness during the past year than at any pre vious period. Efforts to increase the national armaments in Europe have met with greater public opposition on the

    part of the people than heretofore. This was notably the case in Germany last summer when the bill for the fur ther enlargement of the army was introduced into the Parliament.

    Recently in England a protest against further naval

    development was signed by more than five hundred lead ers of workingmen's associations. Peace Societies con tinue to multiply in Europe, gathering more and more in to the ir membership the intelligent and prominent men of the towns and cities, and their efforts are unceasing not

    only to promote the growth of peace sentiment but also to devise practical means for the abolition of war. The

    Interparliamentary Union has grown until it now numbers several hundred members from different European par liaments. It has established a paper known as the

    Interparliamentary Conference {Conference Interparlemen taire), and is putting forth earnest efforts to unite all the

    lawgivers of Europe into a compact body opposed to war. The beginnings have been made of an International Alli ance of Universities in which students and professors are to become an active factor in the peace propaganda. The commercial treaty recently made between Germany and Russia is allaying the unpleasant feelings which have so

    long existed between the two countries. Statesmen of

    France, Italy and Spain have recently suggested a truce until the close of the present century, during which the nations shall pledge themselves not to go to war and not to make any further additions to their fighting strength. This proposal has been made known to all the peace

    societies of the world through the International Peace Bureau at Berne and will probably be made the subject of serious study at the coming Peace Congress at Antwerp in August.

    For more than twenty years summer has opened in

    Europe with general talk and prophecy of war, and people have lived in feverish dread of an early outbreak of hos tilities. Some of this anxiety has disappeared and this

    year opens with general talk of peace. Sovereigns, states men and people seem to be really anxious to extricate themselves from the straits into which a long-continued war-policy has brought them. Who will dare to lead the

    way in disarmament no one can yet tell, nor can it be

    guessed how it will come about. Recent rumors say that Russia is actually on the point of disbanding two hundred thousand of her troops and sending them home that they may assist in gathering the harvests.

    Whatever of weal or woe the summer may bring forth, we have abundant reason to thank God that in various

    ways and through manifold agencies the cause of human brotherhood is steadily advancing and that the broad foundations of what is ultimately to be a universal and

    lasting peace are already securely laid.

    MILITARY DRILL IN OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS.

    Sermon preached April 1, 1894, by Rev. E. A. Coil, Pastor of Unity Church, Cincinnati, Ohio,

    Text: ?Let us follow after the things which make for peace. Rom. xiv. 19.

    The awful tragedy enacted in this country between '61 and '65 was at an end, and the time for a presidential election drew near. The delegates of the Republican party, assembled in convention in the city of Chicago, placed their banner in the hands of General Ulysses S. Grant, the hero of Fort Donelson, Vicksburg and Appo mattox. He wrote a brief letter, accepting the responsi bilities and honor thus conferred upon him, and then closed it with the following significant words :

    " Let us have peace."

    Inasmuch as he had seen the picture painted in the blood and tears of a divided and warring nation in proc ess of making, the general's appeal in behalf of peace has more than ordinary force. He had seen war in all its awfulness, and he preferred peace. When visiting Eng land a few years later, General Grant refused to

    " appear

    at a military review "

    because having seen so much of war,

    " so much of its 4 pomp and circumstance ' " and

    knowing so well what it all meant he desired never to see a regiment of soldiers again. I doubt not if some great principle had been assailed, and no way of defence other than an appeal to arms had been clear to him, he would have been as resolute as when he faced Pemberton or Lee. My point is this, having seen war he seemed to recognize the value of the Pauline advice and he sought to follow after these things which make for peace. It is to the end that we may all do this that I am speaking to you to-day. I do not believe the scene pictured by the poet, " When the war-drums throb no longer, and the battle flags are

    furled, In the parliament of man, the federation of the world

    "

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  • 130 THE ADVOCATE OF PEACE. June,

    is but a visionary dream that can never be realized in fact. I have more faith in humanity than such belief im plies, and it is because I believe that beautiful ideal, that parliament of man, can and will become the real that I raise the question to-day : Will our present course retard or hasten its corning? I challenge the motives of no one. I grant to those who differ from me in regard to this matter all that I ask for myself, namely, credit for sin

    cerity and honesty of purpose. If I am wrong, I am

    willing to be corrected ; but if I am right, if my arguments are free from sophistr}T, I hope they will be accepted and used for the betterment of our city.

    Believing now that we understand each other as far as the spirit that prompts us is concerned, let us inquire into the reasons for and the probable result of introducing military training into our public schools.

    One of the reasons given by those who seek to justify the introduction of the military element into our schools is that it constitutes an important part of that physical training so essential to the development of the perfect

    man. If this is true it constitutes a very strong argu ment in favor of compulsory military drill, and in a meas ure justifies the appropriation of public money for the

    purchase of guns. ******

    The question to be determined now is whether or not

    military training is essential to that physical culture the need of which we all admit. I am very well aware that authorities are not agreed upon this point, and therefore I speak with caution. I have seen young men, stoop shouldered and hollow-chested, greatly improved by means of military drill ; but I do not believe it follows that that was the only method whereby those very desir able results could have been attained, nor do I believe it was the best method. We are not entirely at sea in

    regard to this matter. tk Experiments, which were conducted in a public

    school, with a view to ascertain the relative value of

    gymnastics and of mere drill, showed that the average results yielded by the former were more than three times as great as those yielded by drill alone. Relatively, therefore, this method of physical culture is inferior.

    Military drill is defective, inasmuch as it does not meet the physiological demands of the body."

    The best evidence of the truth of this statement is to be found in the course pursued by the great military nations of Europe. There

    " measures are taken to give all the recruits ?rom three to twelve months gymnastic training to develop them as men before they are expected to conform to the requirements of the soldier." In our

    country military authorities have found it necessary to

    adopt a set of calisthenic exercises or free gymnastics in order to develop ?and make available all the powers of the individual.

    " Upton in his Manual of the United States Army

    Infantry Tactics'' dwells upon these exercises and their

    importance as far as the physical well being of the soldier is concerned. My point now is to show you that military authorities acknowledge the inadequacy of purely military exercises to develop the physical man, and they appeal to the gymnasium as the best means to secure that end. But 1 wish to quote another authority whose testimony I deem very important.

    Dr. Dudley A. Sargeant, Director of the Hemenway Gymnasium, Harvard University, who is an acknowledged

    authority, says: " In reference to the gracefulness that

    is thought to characterize the movements of young cadets, I can only say it is not the outcome of drilling and march

    ing. The soldier is trained to square corners, straight platoons, and angular movements. Curves and embellish ments are not encouraged, in speech, or in action. If

    you would account for the graceful poise of our National Cadets you must see them from one to two hours a day in charge of the dancing master." Dr. Sargeant sums up his conclusions in the following

    forcible words: ? 44 After taking the most favorable view possible of military drill as a physical exercise, we are led to conclude that its constrained positions, and

    closely localized movements do not afford the essential

    requisites for developing the muscles, and improving the

    respiration and circulation, and thereby improving the

    general health and condition of the system. We must further conclude that in case of any malformation, local weakness, or constitutional debility, the drill tends, by its strain upon the nerves and prolonged tension on the

    muscles, to increase the defects rather than to relieve them."

    44 Finally, if the ultimate object of the drill was to pre

    pare young men for the life and duties of a soldier, we should be forced to conclude that the drill itself would still be defective as a means of developing the chief

    requisites for men in that profession." Now, since military and civil authorities are agreed

    that gymnastic exercises are necessary to develop the

    physical powers of the soldier, if physical culture is the sole end in view, why should we not advocate a larger number of and better equipped gymnasia in connection with our public schools, instead of buying guns for our

    boys ?* I am afraid my friends, when we probe this matter to

    the bottom we shall find that physical training is not the sole end in view. There are certain signs which indicate that preparation is being made for a possible war. The answer I have in many cases received in reply to my pro test against the course pursued by our school board is this : 44 In times of peace we should prepare for war."

    It sometimes happens that those who are supposed to stand first of all for peace and good will, fall back upon that old adage as though it justified their indifference to or advocacy of military training in our public schools.

    My conviction is that in time of peace we should 44 follow

    after those things which make for peace " instead of in

    viting war by preparing for it. There is, there must be a better way of settling disputes than that which appeals to the sword, and, professing to believe in the brotherhood of man, I believe it is our duty to try to find it.

    But I wish to give you other reasons for my statement that I fear physical culture is not the sole end in view on the part of those who advocate the introduction of military training into our public schools. To me this is a very grave matter and I am weighing my words with the utmost care.

    In an illustrated magazine for January ex-President Harrison makes the following reply to a query bearing directly upon this subject.

    44 You ask me," said the ex

    President, 44 my opinion of the suggestion of Lafayette

    Post G. A. R. that military instruction and drill be used

    *The Cincinnati School Board appropriated $500 to buy guns for the High School Cadets, and the advisability of making military training compulsory is being discussed.

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  • 1894. THE ADVOCATE OF PEACE. 131

    in all schools for boys. It is good in every aspect of it ?

    good for the boys, good for the schools, and good for the

    country." Then follows a remarkable statement which I fear indicates the real sentiment back of the widespread interest which is now being taken in the question of

    military drill in our schools. Continuing, Mr. Harrison said : " if a...