Man's Quest for Social Guidance: The Study of Social Problems

By Howard W. Odum | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XXIV
COMMUNITY AND GOVERNMENT

An Early Community Pact . Perhaps there is no more appropriate way of beginning this discussion of the relation of community to government than with the example of a community pact entered into a little more than 300 years ago, which is the archetype of all our American democracy and free institutions. For the Mayflower compact not only represents an ideal of a community of men and women coming together for certain very definite and inclusive purposes of association and welfare, but also it is appropriate to the plans and purposes of this discussion of community and government, in that it reveals the true basis and method of community and government working together. The Mayflower compact may well serve also as a fitting conclusion and challenge to present-day community work.

In the name of God, Amen. Doe by these presents solemnly and mutually, in ye presence of God and one of another, covenant and combine ourselves together in a Civil body politick for our better ordering and preservation and furthermore of yet ends aforesaid and By Verture Hearof do enact, constitute, and frame such just and equal laws, ordnances, Acts, constitutions and offices from time to time as shall be thought most meete and convenient for ye general goode of ye colonie. Unto which we promise a due submission and obedience.

Community and Government. Just as in the beginning of our government, expressed in the Mayflower compact and a year earlier in the "General Assembly" at James City in Virginia, community and government were inseparably inked together so in our present-day efforts to give renewed energy and meaning to democracy we must find in community and government the hope of greater achievement. Group self-government in the community is but the modern result of socially-minded citizens organizing for "better ordering and preservation." For government in a democracy is of the citizens themselves, here and now in their

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