[Ads-l] Saying: The test of a nation's civilization is its care of its weakest members.

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Tue Mar 14 17:29:49 EDT 2017


More from the late 19th century...

"Buddhism and Christianity," New Englander, Apr. 1874, p. 284
The true test of a civilization is in its elevation of the masses, its
exaltation of the average of the masses, its exaltation of the average man
in comfort, in culture, in morals; in all that makes a man.
https://books.google.com/books?id=wo8FAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA284

"The Next Step," Christian Union, Oct. 21, 1886, p. 3
The supreme test of a civilization is the manner in which it treats its
weak and helpless subjects.
https://books.google.com/books?id=3b1NAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA163

Women are also used as the civilizational test...

"Colliers and Collieries," The American Eclectic, Sep. 1842, p. 330
[From the Quarterly Review, June 1842]
The state of women is the true test of civilization in every community.
https://books.google.com/books?id=FYJHAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA330

"The Burden-Bearers of the Old World," The Ladies' Repository, Jan. 1875,
p. 50
Indeed, we are accustomed in some measure, to gauge the Christianity of a
country by the way it treats its women.
https://books.google.com/books?id=CCNLAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA50


On Tue, Mar 14, 2017 at 1:28 PM, Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at gmail.com> wrote:

> “The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of cities,
> nor the crops, but the kind of man that the country turns out.”--Ralph
> Waldo Emerson, Society and Solitude, 1870.
>
> On Mar 13, 2017 4:58 PM, "ADSGarson O'Toole" <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > There is a large family of sayings that present a metric for
> > evaluating a society. Here is an example.
> >
> > Year: 1913
> > Title: Proceedings of The National Conference of Charities and
> > Correction at the Fortieth Annual Session Held in Seattle, Washington,
> > July 5-12, 1913
> > Article: Probation, Prisons and Parole: The Honor System of Prison Labor
> > Author: Mrs. Millie R. Trumbull, Portland, Oregon (Representing
> > Governor Oswald West)
> > Start Page 116, Quote Page 116
> > Printer: Fort Wayne Printing Company, Fort Wayne, Indiana
> >
> > https://books.google.com/books?id=haY5AQAAMAAJ&q=%
> 22weakest+members%22#v=
> > snippet&
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > The test of a nation's civilization is its care of its weakest members.
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > The expression is highly variable. The first part might refer to a
> > society, nation, government, or civilization. The latter part might
> > refer to the poor, the less fortunate, the helpless, or the lowest.
> >
> > Perhaps a list member would be willing to share some earlier examples
> > and/or examples from prominent individuals. I see claims that it is
> > biblical or ancient, but would like precise citations.
> >
> >
>

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