Self-Help by Samuel Smiles.docx - Self-Help Middle-Class...

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Self-Help: Middle-Class Attitudes by Samuel Smiles “Heaven helps those who help themselves” is a well tried maxim, embodying in a small compass the results of vast human experience. The spirit of self-help is the root of all genuine growth in the individual; and, exhibited in the lives of many, it constitutes the true source of national vigor and strength. Help from without is often enfeebling in its effects, but help from within invariably invigorates. Whatever is done for men or classes, to a certain extent takes away the stimulus and necessity of doing for themselves; and where men are subjected to over-guidance and over-government, the inevitable tendency is to render them comparatively helpless. Even the best institutions can find a man no active help. Perhaps the most they can do is to leave him free to develop himself and improve his individual condition. But in all times men have been prove to believe that their happiness and well-being were to be secured by means of institutions rather than by their own conduct. Hence the value of legislation as an agent in human advancement has usually been much overstated. To constitute the millionth part of a Legislature, by voting for one or two men once in

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