Jane Addams: Challenging a Nation - Jane's Philosophy

"Inside Hull House", Children Playing Hull House, 1900, Swarthmore College ollection, Public Domain.

When Jane Addams established Hull House, she developed three ethical principles to guide social settlements.

  • To teach by example

  • To practice cooperation in all things

  • To practice social democratic relations across all class lines

She always stressed the role of children in the Americanization process of new immigrants, and established play, educational, and service opportunities for them.  Besides recreational programs, there were classes in art and drama, kindergarten classes, boys’ and girls’ clubs, language classes, reading groups, and a safe playground.

Jane identified corruption in city government that led to officials to ignoring building codes, health codes, and sanitation codes in poor neighborhoods and worked to provide equitable city services to all neighborhoods. She provided childcare for women who needed to work, and large meeting places for the discussion of suffrage movement activities. She fought for better sewage control, better regulation to insure safe food, and laws to provide safer workplaces.

Jane’s tireless efforts to protect the rights of those who could not speak for themselves gave her the name “Mother of Social Work.”


Original Release: Jun 14, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Jun 16, 2016

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