Shaping the Nation header


During this period, like his mentors, Anstey and Mann, Curtin was active in both the Labor Party and the Socialist Party, and by 1907 was Branch President of the Brunswick ALP. Curtin's first published work was a two-part article that appeared in the first and second issues of the Socialist, the journal of the Victorian Socialist Party (VSP), formed 1905. In the second of these articles in the September 1906 issue, Curtin introduced themes that were to recur in his writings and speeches throughout his life - internationalism, inequality and the means of overthrowing capitalism. He asserted that, everywhere in the world, poverty and misery were increasing in proportion to those who were wealthy, and that no form of government could or would prevent this. But Socialists provided 'a gleam of comfort' in the 'festering social sore' (Cited in Black, 1995, pp. 3-6).

Cartoon - 'The burden bearer'
'The Burden Bearers - A good time for the parasites', Timber Worker, April 8 1914, p.1.  
Courtesy of the La Trobe collection, State Library of Victoria.

Later in life, he came to place more faith in the ability of a socialist government to effect changes that would achieve a more equitable society.

In 1911 at the age of 26, Curtin left Titan after gaining a position as State Secretary of the Timber Worker's Union. Two years later, he established the Timber Worker, a monthly journal consisting of four pages of newsprint with some illustrations - photographs and satirical cartoons. According to the first editorial, the paper would 'go forth to inform the rank and file of essential questions of life and death' (Timber Worker, [TW] no. 1, p. 2). There were strong parallels with views expressed in the Tocsin. From the first issue, it was evident that the journal had a political agenda. In discussing six proposals by the Fisher Labor Government to amend the Constitution, [3] Curtin dealt specifically and predictably with industrial matters, which would be of greatest interest to his members. He stated that the proposals would enable the Commonwealth to: make laws regarding conditions of employment of all persons engaged in any manual trade, including shop assistants and clerical workers; enact a Workers' Compensation Act and make it applicable to the whole country, and empower the Arbitration Court to deal with disputes anywhere in Australia and establish a Federal Award. (TW, no. 1, p. 4)

In the May 1913 issue, Curtin called for a People's Constitution.

Government of the people, by the people, for the people, indubitably postulates that the popular mandate shall be all authoritative and final. If a proposed law is good for society, it should be sufficient that a majority of the people vote in its favour. Never before in history has the constitution of a completely enfranchised population been designed to narrow the popular choice of laws. Constitutional Government was wrung from unwilling kings and barons to limit their power to coerce a voteless multitude. One was won but yesterday by the Young Turks to give more power to the people and less power to the ruling faction. The Australian Constitution differs from that of Turkey in that here we limit the people's power to rule themselves. (emphasis added)

...Summed up, the Referenda stands for the completion of the structure of Australian self-government, and seeks to constitute the democracy the final repository of political power (emphasis in original). It means a widening and strengthening of the popular franchise.

Curtin urged all timber workers to vote, and to bring their mates and wives to vote 'Yes' to the referendum (TW, May 1913, p. 2). Some of the concerns reflected in these passages are similar to those voiced by the Tocsin: chiefly, the assertion that the Australian Constitution did not further the process of democracy, but actually restricted it. Curtin's use of a non-European country as an example of democracy is also unusual for the time.

Apart from political inequality, there was social inequality. The front page of the Timber Worker's November 1913 issue was dominated by a stark cartoon, showing a starving woman and child looking at a news placard proclaiming that 'Forcibly fed' prisoners had been released from prison. The caption ran: 'Mummer, why don't they forcibly feed us?' The message was clear - the people starved so that capitalists could amass more profits. Thus class warfare was generated. The April 1914 issue contained a statement on the Marxist theory of the wage slave and class hatred between capitalist and worker. On the same page, a cartoon depicted the labourer as the 'burden bearer' with five fat capitalists on his back. In September 1914, the front-page article - signed 'The People' but probably written or compiled by Curtin - declared: 'Two Nations. The Rich and The Poor. The one makes the Wars; the other fights them and suffers'. According to the article, war was 'organised murder' - language similar to that used by Curtin in the May 1914 issue when he said that strikebreaking soldiers who fired upon their fellow workers were murderers.

Controversial articles such as these were interspersed with others on working conditions and education. In April 1915, R.S. Ross contributed an article on the meaning of the eight-hour working day. In the issue of the previous December, Curtin advocated free, secular and compulsory education, which he regarded as being a responsibility of the nation. What he claimed as the dream of the Labor movement was also his own vision:

... an intellectualised democracy, that will pursue truth for its own sake, that will stretch out into all the regions of man's story and promise; an education that sees beauty in right action, that re-thinks and makes loftier the noble thoughts and ideas of every age and of every race, and which teaches men and women, that unless they leave the world better than they find it, they are disgraced.
(TW, 12 December 1914)
The range and scope of articles published in the Timber Worker show that Curtin was thinking both nationally and internationally, and trying to encourage his readership to embrace a larger vision than the concerns of every day survival. He was to continue this method of educating the workers as editor of the Westralian Worker in Perth.

In 1914, Curtin stood unsuccessfully as the Labor candidate for the federal seat of Balaclava, against W.A. Watt, later Deputy Leader of the National coalition. At the end of 1915, suffering from depression and alcoholism generated by pressure of work, the advent of the war and a growing pessimism about the capacity of Socialism to reform the world, he resigned from the Timber Workers' Union. After short-term employment as an organiser for the AWU and as secretary of the National Executive of the Anti-Conscription Campaign in 1916, Curtin spent some time in a convalescent home. His collapse may have been brought on by a traumatic three and a half days in prison. Under the Governor-General's 1916 Proclamation, ordering all single and childless 'male inhabitants of Australia, aged from 21 to 35 years', to enlist in the armed forces, Curtin was sentenced to three months imprisonment for failing to comply. His sentence (and that of other conscientious objectors) was annulled and the Governor-General's proclamation revoked after the failure of the 1916 conscription referendum (Oliver, 1997, pp. 33-37). After he was released from the convalescent home, Curtin's friends helped him to secure a post as editor of the Westralian Worker in Perth. As 'Worker' editor from 1917 to 1928, Curtin produced his greatest body of work written from a personal perspective in a series of weekly editorials. This period, culminating in Curtin's election to the Federal seat of Fremantle in 1928, has been imbued with particular significance by a number of students of Curtin's life who see this as his transition from political radical to moderate.

In her BA Honours thesis (UWA, 1975), Diane Sholl investigated a remark by Curtin's biographer, Lloyd Ross, that, during the time Curtin was editor of the Worker, 'there was a transformation - possibly a revolution - in his political loyalties and social purposes ... The goal was not a social revolution but a better Australia.' Sholl decided to test Ross' opinion by examining Curtin's editorials between 1917 and 1928. Undoubtedly Ross was correct in saying that Curtin's goal was 'a better Australia' - not social revolution - but Curtin believed that social revolution (in some form) had to happen in order to achieve a better Australia, and it is the contention of this paper that that belief never left him. The difference was that he came to believe that such a revolution could be achieved through Parliament, rather than insisting that no government could or would effect significant reform.

Sholl pointed out that the editorials, at least during Curtin's early years, were markedly different in style and sentiment from the remainder of what was a fairly conservative Labor paper. Curtin reserved some of his most powerfully worded criticisms in the first few months of his editorship for the conduct of the war, the peace settlement, and the inequality of the sacrifice suffered by working people. He attacked profiteering which he saw as an outcome of war, and reiterated his belief that only capitalists benefited from war (for example, WW, 15 June 1917). The working class gained nothing and paid the biggest sacrifice. He called for 'peace negotiations without annexation' (WW, 15 January 1918); he foresaw the dangers of imposing a harsh peace believing that it would result in 'the German people blaming the Allies rather than their own military leaders for their trouble and would encourage them to re-establish militarism in order to get rid of a humiliating treaty which they had been forced to accept' (WW, 13 September 1918). Here, Curtin departed from the ALP position as expressed at the Annual Conference. The ALP was much more cautious about annexations, and avoided any expression of 'pro-German' feeling. Curtin reiterated that imperialism was the basic cause of wars (WW, 5 May 1919).

Writing about the inequality of sacrifice in wartime, Curtin emphasised the importance of the rank and file , those 'at the very bottom of the social scale' (for example, WW, 4 April 1919). An area where Curtin believed that the inequality was most marked was conscription for military service overseas. In 1917, prior to the second conscription referendum, Curtin devoted a number of lengthy editorials to putting arguments against the adoption of conscription. He claimed that voluntarism had not failed. Instead, the Prime Minister, W.M. Hughes, had got his sums completely wrong. In 1916 Hughes had asserted that 16 500 extra volunteers per month was the minimum necessary to provide enough reinforcements for the front without introducing conscription. In 1917, he revised the figure to 7000 per month, but Curtin claimed that the revised figure was similarly excessive. Curtin's arguments centred on three main points. Firstly, the British Government had requested that Australia provide five divisions (100 000 men), and there were already sufficient men recruited and in camp to provide the necessary reinforcements. Apart from this, irrespective of what the British Empire required, there were only an estimated 30 000 single men between 20 and 44 years left in the country, including those who were medically unfit. In order to maintain his monthly quota of 7000, therefore, Hughes would soon have to recruit married men with dependents, despite his promises not to do so. Further, Curtin argued that to continue to send in excess of requirements would spell the ruin of the country. (Here he was expressing an argument that he was to continue to reiterate up to and during World War II - Australia should attend to its own defence needs first). But the aspect of the pro-conscription campaigns that caused Curtin the greatest grief was that two Labor men - Hughes and the Minister for Defence, Senator George Pearce - had lied, and were known to have lied, but the damage that the conscription split caused the Labor Party had not been repaired. Furthermore, anti-conscriptionists told the truth and were prosecuted; pro-conscriptionists uttered spurious arguments and lies and were allowed to go unpunished, even after some of the arguments were shown to be erroneous. (WW, 3 August, 7 and 14 December 1917).

The inequality of sacrifice was emphasised by the Government's refusal to consider conscription of wealth. In an editorial the day before the second conscription referendum, Curtin stated that the recently published Wealth Census revealed that less than one per cent of the adult population of Australia owned almost half of the freehold land and one-third of the country's total wealth. He demanded that the owners of mines, shipping lines, major daily newspapers and great pastoral properties, who were 'the back bone and the spinal marrow of the Conscription Conspiracy', should 'nationalise their wealth as they propose to nationalise men' by handing over their resources to the nation and using their wealth to benefit the dependants of dead soldiers (WW, 19 December 1919).

Long after the conscription referendum failed and the war ended, Curtin continued to express his sense of outrage at the vast inequalities existing in Australia. In a particularly angry editorial on social inequality, he wrote:

Yea! While rose-smothered drawing-rooms and thousand-guinea parties manifest the frightful inconsequence of the parasitical class, there reek in narrow streets and stifling alleys the sad-eyed labourers whose exertions have made possible the squandering of the rich....
When the day comes that there are no strikes and revolts, no virile protest against the barbarity and injustice of a mad economic form of life, then shall we lose all hope for the progress and freedom of mankind, nay, more, we shall despair even of the survival of the race itself.
(WW, 8 October 1920)

In his private life at this time, Curtin (who had married his fiancée, Elsie Needham, shortly after taking up his position at the Westralian Worker), was becoming comfortably settled in the beach side suburb of Cottesloe. The Curtins rented a house there in 1920, subsequently buying a block in Jarrad Street and building their own home in 1923 (Day, p. 284). By now, they had two children, Elsie and John. The ease with which Curtin adapted to capitalism (albeit in a humble form) should not be regarded as contradictory to his philosophy. After all, he reiterated often enough his belief that Labor was striving 'not merely to be better paid slaves' but for the full emancipation from servitude (for example, WW, 8 October 1920). The worker, therefore, had the same right to live in comfort in his own home as did the employer. Doubtless, Curtin's experience of shifting so many times during his childhood and youth intensified his desire to purchase his own home.

Curtin maintained the theme of inequality in his editorials. He stated (WW, 18 February 1921) that, in the election campaign for the 12 March State election, the Nationalists were asking the electors to judge each Party on the basis of 'figures' in the bank - 'a monstrous, capitalistic measure that leaves the spiritual out of account and perverts and contaminates all true social values'. Government, he emphasised, was most successful when it provided the greatest good for the greatest number. In contrast, the record of the Nationalists was 'appalling'. He illustrated his point by describing the living conditions of many workers in over-crowded, unsanitary houses, compelled to buy 'shoddy' clothes and 'adulterated' foods, resulting in children being anaemic, and 'mentally deficient'.

The theme of working class poverty continued in 1920s editorials. Curtin attacked the 'paradise for the workers' myth, stating that it was not the point to say that the Australian working class was better off than elsewhere. The point was whether 'our standard of living is as good as it ought to be'. While Australia's virtues were praised by those 'whose bellies are filled with meat', there were thousands 'compelled by poverty to buy cheap - and therefore nasty - stuff to eat, to drink, and to wear' (WW, 5 May 1922). He believed that Australia was like any other country in that it contained extremes of wealth and poverty, 'beautiful houses and miserable slums, class hatreds, strikes and lock outs, employers versus unions'.

In Australia today there are thousands of intelligent working men who are embittered against conditions which prevent them from enjoying a full and free life relieved from the dread of 'the sack'. And, shame to say, after centuries of invention, of mechanical and scientific progress; after the preaching of Christ's gospel for two thousand years, the struggle for existence is as keen as ever; careworn and anxious motherhood still confronts us and little children become unnaturally old before their years from preventable and evil environments.
Family in Paddington, Sydney
Photo of a family in Paddington, Sydney.
Courtesy of the Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW
And he wrote feelingly, and from personal experience, of breadwinners and their families being 'tormented by the possibility of a hungry tomorrow'.

The poor health of workers' children featured again in an editorial on child welfare. The West Australian reported that State Premier, Sir James Mitchell opened a kindergarten demonstration. Commenting on this reportage, Curtin stated that, despite scientific advances, the child mortality rate was on the increase and the birth rate was falling. The obvious reason for this was poor health practice as illustrated by the West Australian's statement that 'barefoot kiddies' made their way among the dignitaries. Curtin wrote indignantly:

'Barefoot kiddies! In the depth of winter! In the richest country in the world!'
(WW 28 July 1922).

The problems of child welfare, he wrote, were not primarily about the provision of kindergartens but about adequate means of subsistence for the fathers on whom the children were dependent.

Of what avail an atmosphere of mayoral ermine when the social basis is one of insufficient wages to provide adequate and proper shelter, food and clothing, so that children may be physically healthy!

There is a complaisant superstition that in Australia things are so wonderfully regulated in the matter of wages, that the activity of public bodies in the matter of child welfare takes the form of lessons on how to nurse the baby. This idea is woefully astray. The evidence - it is located in public documents laid on the tables of Legislatures - leaves it beyond all doubt that families of five on the basic wage, even when the father has continuous employment, have always been straitened, and in the past four years, severely straitened ...

Whence arises great fortunes? From the exploitation of labour, from the capitalistic control of commodities for the sake of profit.

In 1927, Curtin chaired a committee which recommended not only that a Federally funded child endowment scheme be established but that a weekly sum of 13 shillings and five pence (rather than the proposed five shillings) be paid on each child in excess of two children (in the belief that two children were already provided for under the Basic Wage). The committee's report strongly opposed any move by the Bruce Federal Government to means test endowment or to pay for it by reducing the wages of single or childless workers. [4] In an editorial on 5 August 1927, Curtin was emphatic that child endowment was a Federal responsibility:

The Federal government, which is the voice of the whole nation, demands the people's sons as soldiers, while at the same time it welcomes the daughters as potential mothers of more soldiers, therefore, the same executive which strips the subject of his children in the time of national feud, should shoulder the responsibility of assisting over-burdened mothers in the proper rearing of their children in times of peace.

The Royal Commission on Child Endowment, which was conducted during 1928, decided against instituting any scheme of child endowment. Labor's representatives, Curtin and Mrs Muscio, submitted a minority report recommending the introduction of a child endowment scheme, but the majority report concluded that the 'advocates of a plan of family assistance have not established that wages were insufficient [to support children adequately]'(WW, 23 March 1929).

Curtin's work on the Child Endowment Commission was an outcome of years of striving for working people simply to be given their due, as citizens of a free country. So often, he saw the prospects of working people and their capacity to participate fully in society limited by extreme poverty. In a hard-hitting, angry editorial written almost a decade before the Commission's failure to recommend a family payment, Curtin had attacked the churches' attitude to 'charity'. He reminded his readers that Christ was 'on the side of the poor and the oppressed' and would not be found in churches. If Christ's life meant anything, it meant:

peace on earth and goodwill to men rather than the establishment of cults which clutch a text book in one hand and gold and the sword in the other ... [Charity] is an insult, and a libel, and, in general, is a thing that should be cast out into utter darkness, or into the place where the worm dieth not, or on the tip where the decayed cat spreadeth its fragrance around.
(WW, 26 December 1919, emphasis added)
Some readers may have been offended by his flippant reference to the 'decayed cat' and felt that the use of the archaic form was a mockery of the Bible. There is little in Curtin's writing to suggest irreverence for Christ, but plenty to indicate his frustration when churches allied themselves with conservative politics. In 1922, for example, he pointed to the irony of the National Party's 'trick of encouraging church bodies to vote against Labor, by publishing "evidence" that Labor is Bolshevik' when it was the Labor movement that worked for the furtherance of Christian aims.

Labor men and women ... are giving wide interpretation to the principle of Brotherhood - which the church preaches - and are applying it in industry, no less than in politics. [Demanding complete participation in the social life of the world] implies the equality of all men and the destruction of all castes and privileges ... Can the Congregational Union quarrel with this? If so, then it is because, unlike Paul, it wants faith without works.
(WW, 3 November 1922)
Returning to this theme for his Christmas 1923 editorial, Curtin wrote:

No failure of the Churches has been more tragic than their failure in brotherliness ...

Our Xmas greeting therefore is a call to definite social achievement. We cannot love our fellows if we permit any to go hungry, or homeless, or ill-clad; and as Bread is the foundation of existence, the means whereby bread is produced and distributed are essential phases in the 'Kingdom of God upon earth'; no churchmen, no professing followers of Christ can sincerely celebrate the Xmas festival without resolving to engage in effecting that transformation in society which will enable the human family to live as brothers, sharing in the fruits of the earth, and commonly holding a proprietary title to all of it.
(WW, 21 December 1923)

One of Curtin's most heartfelt pleas for justice for the poor, and peace in the world appeared in the 18 December 1925 issue, when he asked 'When will it be Christmas?' He stated that if Christmas meant anything, it meant peace and goodwill among people and for that to be attained there had to be 'a new Social Order with a new Social Spirit'. He reflected upon why the Great War - labelled as 'the war to end all wars' - had 'pushed peace farther away than ever', and concluded that this was because modern imperialism (specifically 'the Republic of France') was 'as imperially anti-Christ as was Rome under the brutal Nero'. Interestingly, here Curtin turned his attack on America (which he had previously praised for its independence from Britain), remarking that it was 'riddled through and through with a strain of imperialistic despotism' as exemplified by the imprisonment of 'scores of pure-minded men ... whose only offence has been their loyalty to the Prince of Peace'. The editorial concluded on a more Socialist note, urging that the people 'must effect Christmas for themselves' and 'men must become their own saviours'. However,

any day, and every day, is Christmas Day that sees Christ at the heart of things, prompting Governments to altruistic legislation and causing exploiters and monopolies to relax their grip of the people's rights. And December 25 is never Christmas Day where these things do not obtain.
(WW, 18 December 1925)

As in his Timber Worker days, Curtin sought to make workers aware of the bigger picture, posing questions about Australia's international role. Consequently, many of the Worker's editorials were devoted to the subjects of colonialism and internationalism. Ceasing to be a 'colony' had been one of the major incentives for the Australian colonies to become a federated nation (Hirst, pp. 243-44), but a quarter of a century later, Australia was still a colony of Britain. As a colony, Curtin argued, Australia could never take its place in world affairs. It would continue to be a recruiting ground for Empire wars, and to be bound up in Britain's international plans. When the Prince of Wales visited Australia in July 1920, Curtin objected to the heir to the British throne being used as a 'missioner' (or emissary) for the 'psychological propaganda' paving the way for an imperial reconstruction of the post-war world. In line with ALP policy, Curtin criticised the Imperial federation proposed by Lord Milner (the British Secretary of State for the Colonies), because he believed that it would result in 'a contraction in Dominion autonomy'.

He also believed that the more centralised governments became, the less they reflected democratic values and a broad franchise. This statement appears to be at odds with his own pronouncements on the benefits of a strong Federal administration. According to Curtin, imperial interference pushed countries towards independence rather than cementing them in the Empire, and he mentioned the examples of India, Egypt and Ireland to prove his point. Curtin insisted that: 'Loyalty does not demand that we consent to any expansion of imperial authority'. Using the Prince as a 'missioner for doubtful causes' put Australians in a very awkward situation. To speak out against the cause would embarrass the future King; to remain silent suggested acquiescence. The heir to the throne, he argued, should never be placed in such a position. (WW, 2 July 1920). The State Branch of the ALP agreed with Curtin's position and in fact declined to be represented in an official capacity at any of the functions in the Prince's honour. (Oliver, 1995, p. 162).

Curtin felt it necessary to mention the Prince in a second editorial (WW, 9 July 1920). As the Prince of Wales was involved in a railway accident that could have cost him and his party their lives, 'we feel it demanded of us publicly to express our deep satisfaction that the derailment of the Prince's carriage was unattended by physical injury of any kind ...' Here and elsewhere, Curtin maintained that, 'As long as the Throne exists by consent, it is not only to that extent safe, but, irrespective of theories, will not be savagely assailed in practice'. He used this exact wording on the subject on the visit of the Duke and Duchess of York (WW, 20 May 1927). Both of these editorials contain an under current of anxiety, indicating that Curtin feared that the Worker might be branded 'disloyal' if these sentiments were not expressed.

In true Tocsin style, however, while Curtin wrote respectfully of royal persons he was scathing of the Imperial system. In an editorial titled 'An LSD Dependency of London', [5] Curtin remarked that Australia was 'merely a pup of Great Britain' (WW, 6 May 1921, emphasis added). He chronicled the change in Australian attitudes since 1918, observing that, prior to the war, Australians had been developing 'a patriotism of a natural and rational kind', loving Australia for its uniqueness, and because it was 'our homeland'.

To the true Australian there was ever - and still is - the glamour of mystery and attraction hovering over our great plains, our hills and gullies clothed with the noble eucalyptus, our wide stretched deserts barren of vegetation, but often rich in useful minerals, and the long wash of Australian Seas - these all woke echoes of an affection which is the genesis of patriotism.
But this was not a jingoistic patriotism, Curtin insisted. When the war came, however, the 'vitality' built up over decades on 'our native soil' was drained away in four short years on foreign battlefields. Since the war, there had been a change of national attitude. Leaders of government emphasised Australia's dependence upon Britain. Australia sank deeper into debt to British bondholders, and the debt 'strengthened the chains of subservience'. These bondholders were:

... loyalty howlers [who] are but the representatives of everything that is opposed to what is essentially Australian. [With them] everything British must take precedence to everything Australian.

In contrast to Australia, Canada had set out on a very different path since the war. Curtin commented on this in an editorial on the Dominions and the Imperial Conference in 1923. He remarked that: 'If the reactionaries of Australia want to have a cast-iron Imperial Empire, they will have to agree to an Empire without Canada' (WW 31 March 1923). Curtin contrasted the attitude of Australia's prime minister, W.M. Hughes, with that of the Canadian prime minister and government since World War I. He pointed out that Hughes had gained the opportunity to sign the Peace Treaty for Australia only because of the Canadian demand to sign in its own right. Canada had shown its independence from Britain in other ways, too, having signed a fishing agreement with the US, without Britain's agreement, and had objected so strongly against a renewal of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty that the Treaty was abrogated. When Lloyd George cabled Canada for troops to fight the Turks, the prime minister said that the parliament would have to discuss the matter first, in contrast with Hughes' promise of troops without consulting parliament.

Nor did Curtin fear to take up another highly emotive issue - the proper use of the Union Jack. In an May 1921 editorial, entitled 'The Flag - whose is it?', he argued that the Union Jack had been appropriated by 'brass hats' and capitalists for their own 'predatory purposes' and thereby 'cheapened'. He quoted a comment by the Australian General, 'Pompey' Elliott, who had objected to the practice of attaching a Union Jack to the front of motor vehicles used by generals, so that everyone had to salute as the car passed - even when no general was travelling in it. Curtin objected to the practice of flying the flag over business premises 'of every sweater and despoiler' who then conveniently regarded attacks on his business or his practices as an attack on the flag.

Thus the Union Jack instead of being the property of all citizens and a symbol of national unity, has become but a cloak for the assertion of political mastery and the perpetuation of economic robbery by those who suck the people bloodless.
(WW, 20 May 1921)

Essay Home