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April 11, 1914


JAMA. 1914;LXII(15):1171-1172. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02560400039019

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State and municipal health officers are realizing more and more that one of their most important duties is to teach the public, and that instruction, if properly given, is much more effective than coercion without instruction. The majority of persons are not only willing but also anxious to do what is right if they know what they ought to do, and especially if they are shown why they ought to do it.

The first development of public health administration was in the direction of compulsory laws forbidding certain actions and requiring others. These, too often, while enacted from the best of motives, and based on sound scientific knowledge, either were in advance of public opinion or were passed without any effort to develop public sentiment to support them. While often effective in the hands of an energetic and capable health officer, they have been in many cases dead letters and

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