Category: Education

Education's Historic Shift (Part IV)

The somewhat strange-looking man on the left is Robert Owen. He’s the next major figure in my retrospective on how education changed in America. I’ve already noted that Unitarians sought to wrest control of education from orthodox Trinitarian Christians, but although they had some success in Massachusetts, they had little support in the rest of the nation. Owen arrived in America from Britain as a believer in utopian communism. He was also a bitter foe of Christianity. Once here, he… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part III)

Unitarians wanted to remove education from the hands of the orthodox Christian churches. They sought to make all education the responsibility of the state; they were able to impose their will on Massachusetts by the 1830s. The first secretary of the state board of education was a man by the name of Mann. Horace Mann was a Unitarian who was placed in control of Massachusetts state education in 1837. He exhibited all the beliefs of the Unitarians with respect to… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part II)

In a previous post, I noted that Unitarians in early America wanted to take education away from the orthodox churches and place it in the hands of the government. Unitarianism was hardly the dominant theology of early America; the primary place where this view prevailed was in the Boston area and Harvard, so that’s where they tried to make the change first. They decided to push for “common” schools in Boston for all elementary-age chidren. Convinced that many children were… Read more »

Education's Historic Shift (Part I)

Almost all early American education was private. That which was paid for by taxes, particularly in New England, was still local and controlled by a committee that reflected the beliefs of the towns. Early Americans weren’t attracted to the idea of government-sponsored and/or -controlled education. Why were they resistant to this idea? Three reasons come to the forefront: They feared that a government-controlled education system would impose a uniformity of thoughts that would endanger liberty; They believed that education was… Read more »

Education & Biblical Roots

The United States Constitution doesn’t say one word about education. That may surprise some people. The Founders didn’t consider government—at least at the federal level—to be the source of education. The 10th Amendment made it crystal clear [if only we would see the obvious intent of that amendment so clearly today] that whatever authority was not found in the Constitution was left to the states and to the people, respectively. Educational authority is not found there. Yet even if we… Read more »

Religion, Morality, and Knowledge

As Americans began to move into new territories after the Revolution, the Congress set up rules for how those territories were to be governed and how they could become states. The Northwest Territory—which consisted of the current states of Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, and part of Wisconsin—was the first region to be settled. Even before the Constitution was written, the fledgling American Congress under the Articles of Confederation passed what was called the Northwest Ordinance. It was a very significant… Read more »

Harvard & Yale: Solid Foundations

The first college founded in America was Harvard. It got its name from a Puritan settler, John Harvard, who donated his library to get it started. Its motto, as depicted on its seal, is “Veritas,” the Latin word for “Truth.” The first rules and precepts adopted by Harvard stated, Let every Student be plainly instructed, and earnestly pressed to consider well, the main end of his life and studies is, to know God and Jesus Christ which is eternal life, John 3:17 and… Read more »