The Land of Fair Play by Geoffrey Parsons is a free public domain civics text for students in the middle grades.
This great resource likens the running of government to the lessons we learn “on the playground.”
Every American boy and girl learns on the playground the true spirit of America, which is nothing else than fair play, fair play for every one, big and little, neither bullies nor cheats allowed. You can sum up the whole object of our American Government by saying that it seeks to give every American, man or woman, boy or girl, rich or poor, an equal chance.
With that in mind, the author compares the running of government to a baseball game where we have captain, umpire and judge, and the rules and laws. And, of course, nothing happens without a team.
Other topics covered include:
- Types of government.
- The Constitution.
- Duties of citizens.
- Detailed examination of roles of the three branches of government.
- Services our government provides citizens.
- Roles of state governments and services they provide.
- Political parties and elections.
- How trials work.
- Constitutional history.
This book was published in 1919 (it was updated in 1920). Quite a bit has changed in the last 100 years! You will want to bring some of the facts up to date. For example, at the time of writing there were only 18 amendments to the Constitution, tax rates were much lower, and Arrowrock Dam in Idaho was the highest dam in the world (and now only the 4th highest … in Idaho!).
These facts can easily be brought up to date. The research project if done by the student will make the whole stick. If you prefer, an updated version published by Christian Liberty Press is available for purchase.
The 1920 version includes excellent questions that can be used for narrations, discussions, and/or notebooking.
If you have younger children you may be interested in our free civics studies based on The Century Book for Young Americans.
Excellent text that describes the working of our government in terms easily understood … and free!
- Read online
- Read online (1920 version with questions)
- PDF (1920 version with questions)
- EPUB (convert to Kindle)
The Land of Fair Play
The Christian Liberty Press paperback updated in 2008 for those interested.