Jacob Riis

The Children of the Poor

359 printed pages

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    Lene Thodsenhas quoted5 years ago
    with and unattuned to our institutions; the dumping-ground where it rids itself of its burden of helplessness and incapacity, leaving the procession of the strong and the able free to move on. This sediment forms the body of our poor, the contingent that lives, always from hand to mouth, with no provision and no means of providing for the morrow. In the first generation it pre-empts our slums;[1] in the second, its worst elements, reinforced by the influences that prevail there, develop the tough, who confronts society with the claim that the world owes him a living and that he will collect it in his own way. His plan is a practical application of the spirit of our free institutions as his opportunities have enabled him to grasp it.
    Thus it comes about that here in New York to seek the children of the poor one must go among those who, if they did not themselves come over the sea, can rarely count back another generation born on American soil. Not that there is far to go. Any tenement district will furnish its own tribe, or medley of many tribes. Nor is it by any means certain that the children

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