How Public Transportation Is Destroying America (1907 Edition)

Bring Back the Buggy!

Woman driving a horse carriage as two men board.
(© SEPS)

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—This editorial decrying the rise of the streetcar appeared in the December 14, 1907, edition of The Saturday Evening Post. Become a subscriber to gain access to all of the issues of The Saturday Evening Post dating back to 1821.

Ever and anon rises a cry that the home is perishing from our midst and civilization must perish with it. If domestic virtue is decaying, the real cause is found in the rapid disappearance of the family horse and buggy. That conveyance infused the citizen’s breast with a responsible sense of proprietorship, inspired self-reliance, encouraged individuality.

It preserved to the matron a sweet and delicate atmosphere of family ties.

People shuttled back and forth in the conglomerate streetcar miss this world of tender and binding influence. The citizen, shaken loose from the saving domestic base by much subway strap-hanging, takes to socialism and drink. The matron, thrust daily among a horde of perfect strangers and without the steadying discipline of having to get home in time to feed the horse, gads and grows extravagant.

This article is featured in the January/February 2019 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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  1. Forgot to mention I really love the illustration at the top. Hopefully today you’d see the dog wearing the comfortable and humane harness instead of the neck collar. A lesson of enlightenment only recently learned by the public.

    It still has a long way to go, but is improving. When you see someone walking a dog with a harness, compliment them on it. If they don’t, compliment them on their dog (smiling) and ask if they have a harness. If not, tell them it puts the control force on their chest instead of their neck, and the dog will love them for it. The response is almost always positive, and hopefully they follow through. That’s all you can do.

  2. Although I didn’t understand everything, that doesn’t negate it as something delightful to read now! It’s obvious 1907 still had strong ties to the 1890’s in this regard, and feel it would have been viewed as quaint/old-fashioned by 1917 (World War I) readers in both content and written style.

    Definitely keep your eyes peeled for these wonderful gems. and don’t hesitate to share. It would almost be a crime NOT to share these bountiful goodies in the 21st century. They’re new again now for all intents and purposes.


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