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impossible. The work of the benevolent despots had, after all, been superficial. By the last quarter of the eighteenth, though, a progressive change was under way which was certain to produce either evolution or revolution. The influence of the American experiment in nation-building now became pronounced. In 1779 Franklin took a copy of the new Pennsylvania Constitution with him to Paris, and in 1780 John Adams did the same with the Massachusetts Constitution. Frenchmen instantly recognized here, in concrete form, the ideas with which their own heads were filled. In 1783 Franklin published in France a French translation of all the American Constitutions, and the National Constitution of 1787 was as eagerly read and discussed in Paris as in New York or Philadelphia or Boston. America appeared to the French of that stormy period as an ideal land; where the dreams of Rousseau about the social contract had been transformed into realities. Two years later the _cahiers_ of the Third Estate demanded a written constitution for France. The French, too, had aided the American Colonies in their struggle for liberty, and French soldiers returning home carried back new political ideas drawn from the remarkable political progress of the new American Nation. By 1788 the demand for reform in France had become so insistent, and the condition of the treasury of the State was so bad, that it was finally felt necessary to summon a meeting of the States-General–a sort of national parliament consisting of representatives of the three great Estates: clergy, nobility, and commons–which had not met in France since 1614.

[Illustration: FIG. 153. THE STATES-GENERAL IN SESSION AT VERSAILLES (After a contemporary drawing by Monnet)]

Besides electing its representatives, each locality and order was allowed to draw up a series of instructions, or _cahiers_ (+R. 252+), for the guidance of its delegates. These _cahiers_ are a mine of information as to the demands and hopes and interests of the French people, [33] and it is interesting to know that the _cahiers_ of nobility, clergy, and commons alike included, among their demands, the organization of a comprehensive plan of education for France. [34]

FRANCE ESTABLISHES CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT. The States-General met May 5, 1789, and soon (June 20) resolved itself into the National or Constituent Assembly. Terrified by the uprisings and burnings of chateaux throughout France, on the night of August fourth, in a few hours, it adopted a series of decrees which virtually abolished the _Ancien Regime_ of privileges for France. The nobility gave up most of their old rights, the serfs [35] were freed, and the special privileges of towns were surrendered. Later the Assembly adopted a “Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen” (R. 253), much like the American Declaration of Independence. This declared, among other things, that all men were born free and have equal rights, that taxes should be proportional to wealth, that all citizens were equal before the law and have a right to help make the laws, and that the people of the nation were sovereign. These principles struck at the very foundations of the old system.

Soon a Constitution for France, the first ever promulgated in modern Europe, was prepared and adopted (1791). This abolished the ancient privileges and reorganized France as a self-governing nation, much after the American plan. Local government was created, and the absolute monarchy was changed to a limited constitutional one. Next the property of the Church was taken over by the State, the monasteries were suppressed, and the priests and bishops were made state officials and paid a fixed state salary. The Jesuits had been expelled from France in 1764; and in 1792 the Brothers of the Christian Schools were not allowed longer to teach. Among other important matters, the Constitution of 1791 declared that:

There shall be created and organized a system of public instruction common to all citizens, and gratuitous, with respect to those branches of instruction which are indispensable for all men.

Up to this point the Revolution in France had proceeded relatively peacefully, considering the nature of the long-standing abuses which were to be remedied. In August, 1792, the King was imprisoned, and in January, 1793, he was executed and a Republic proclaimed. [36] Then followed a reign of terror, which we do not need to follow, and which ended only when Napoleon became master of France.

BENEFICENT RESULTS OF THE REVOLUTION. The French Revolution was not an accident or a product of chance, but rather the inevitable result of an attempt to dam up the stream of human progress and prevent its orderly onward flow. The Protestant Revolts were the first great revolutionary wave, the Puritan revolution in England was another, the formation of the American Republic and the institution of constitutional government and religious freedom another, while the French Revolution brought the rising movement to a head and swept away, in a deluge of blood, the very foundations of the mediaeval system. Along with much that was disastrous, the French Revolution accomplished after all much that was of greatest importance for human progress. The world at times seems to be in need of such a great catharsis. Progress was made in a decade that could hardly have been made in a century by peaceful evolution. The old order of privilege came to an end, mediaevalism was swept away, and the serf was evolved into the free farmer and citizen. One fifth of the soil of France was restored to the use of the people from the monasteries, and an additional one third from the Church and nobility. The new principles of citizenship–Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity–were for France revolutionary in the extreme, while the assertion that the sovereignty of a nation rests with the people rather than with the king, here successfully promulgated, ended for all time the “divine-right-of-kings” idea for France. After political theory had for a time run mad, the organizing genius of Napoleon consolidated the gains, gave France a strong government, a uniform code of laws, [37] and began that organization of schools for the nation which ultimately meant the taking over of education from the Church and its provision at the expense of and in the interests of the nation.

THE NATIONAL IDEA EXTENDS TO OTHER LANDS. The reform work in France, together with the examples of English and American liberty, soon began to have their influence in other lands as well. People everywhere began to see that the old regime of privilege and misgovernment ought to be replaced. Other countries abolished serfdom, introduced better laws, and made reforms in the abuses of both Church and State. French armies and rulers carried the best of French ideas to other lands, and, where the French rule continued long enough, these ideas became fixed. In particular was the _Code Napoleon_ copied in the Netherlands, the Italian States, and the States of southern and western Germany. The national spirit of Italy was awakened, and the Italian liberals began to look forward to the day when the small Italian States might be reunited into an Italian Nation, with Rome as its capital. This became the work of nineteenth-century Italian statesmen. For the first time in Spanish history, too, the people became conscious, under French occupation, of a feeling of national unity, and similarly the national spirit of German lands was stirred by the conquests of Napoleon.

A constitution was obtained in Spain, in 1812, and between 1815 and 1821 all of Spain’s South American colonies–Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela–revolted, became independent, and set up republics with constitutional governments, some of the larger ones based on the federal principle, as in the United States. Brazil similarly freed itself from Portugal and set up a constitutional and federated monarchy, in 1822. The Kingdom of Naples obtained constitutional government in 1820, and Sardinia in 1821. In 1823, when Spain with Austria’s aid prepared to reconquer the Spanish South American Republics, President Monroe transmitted to the American Congress his message in which he declared that any attempt on the part of European nations to suppress republicanism on the American continent would be considered by the United States as an unfriendly act. This has since been known as the _Monroe Doctrine_. In 1829 Greece obtained her independence from Turkey, and in 1843 a constitutional form of government was obtained.

IMPORTANT CONSEQUENCES OF THE DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT. Since the closing decades of the eighteenth century, when democratic government and written constitutions began, the sweep of democratic government has become almost world wide. Nation after nation has changed to democratic and constitutional forms of government, the latest additions being Portugal (1911), China (1912), Russia (1917), and Germany (1918). New English colonies, too, have carried English self-government into almost every continent. The World War of 1914-18 gave a new emphasis to democracy, and there is good reason to believe that government of and by and for the people is ultimately destined to prevail among all the intelligent nations and races of the earth.

With the development of democratic government there has everywhere been a softening of old laws, the growth of humanitarianism, the wider and wider extension of the suffrage, important legislation as to labor, a previously unknown attention to the poor and the dependents of society, a vast extension of educational advantages, and the taking over of education from the Church by the State and the erection of the school into an important institution for the preservation and advancement of the national welfare. These consequences of the onward sweep of new-world ideas we shall trace more in detail in the chapters which follow.


1. Show the importance, for human progress, of each of the meanings of the new eighteenth-century liberalism, as enumerated on pages 471-72.

2. How do you explain the lack of any permanent influence on Spanish life of the work of the benevolent despots in Spain?

3. Show the liberalizing influence of the rise of scientific investigation and economic studies, for a nation still oppressed by mediaevalism and bad government.

4. Enumerate the new sciences which arose in the eighteenth century.

5. Indicate the importance of the freedom of the press in the development of English political liberty.

6. Explain how the religious-freedom attitude of the American national constitution conferred an inestimable boon on the States in the matter of public education.


In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following illustrative selections are reproduced:

247. Dabney: Ecclesiastical Tyranny in France. 248. Voltaire: On the Relation of Church and State. 249. Rousseau: Extract from the Social Contract. 250. Buckle: Changes in English Thinking in the Eighteenth Century, 251. Pennsylvania Constitution: Bill of Rights in. 252. Clergy of Blois: _Cahier_ of 1779. 253. France: Declaration of the Rights of Man.


1. Explain why ecclesiastical tyranny should have awakened such a spirit of rebellion in France (247), and not in Spain or in Italian lands.

2. Just what attitude toward religion is shown in the extract from Voltaire (248)?

3. Bolshevists in Russia and in America talk to-day as did Rousseau in the Social Contract (249). Compare the justification of each with the eighteenth-century France of Rousseau.

4. What do all the changes enumerated by Buckle (250) indicate as to the spread of general education, irrespective of schools, among the English people?

5. Compare the Pennsylvania Bill of Rights of 1776 (251) with that of your own present-day state constitution,

6. Just what type of educational provisions, and what administrative organization, did the recommendations of the Clergy of Blois (252) contemplate? Indicate its shortcomings for eighteenth-century France.

7. Compare the main ideas of 251 and 253.


Dabney, R. H. _The Causes of the French Revolution_. Taine, H. A. _The Ancient Regime_.




THE STATE AS SERVANT OF THE CHURCH. With the rise of the Protestant sects we noted, in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and for the first time since Christianity became supreme in the western world, the beginnings of a state connection with the education of the young. The Protestant reformers, obtaining the support of the Protestant princes and kings, had successfully used this support to assist them in the organization of church schools as an aid to the reformed faith. Luther, it will be recalled (p. 312), had made a strong appeal to the mayors and magistrates of all German lands to establish schools as a part of their civic duties (R. 156), and had contended that a solemn obligation rested upon them to do so. The Dutch Provinces had worked closely with the Dutch Protestant synods (p. 334) in ordering schools established and in providing for their financing; Calvin had organized a religious City-State at Geneva (p. 330), of which religion and learning had been the corner-stones; the Scottish Parliament, by the laws of 1633 and 1646 (p. 335), had ordered schools for Scottish children in connection with the churches; and in the Scandinavian countries and in Finland the beginnings of a connection with the State had also been made (p. 315). Finally, in the new Massachusetts Colony the laws of 1642 and 1647 (p. 366) had, for the first time in the English-speaking world, ordered that children be taught “to read and understand the principles of religion and the capital laws of the country” (p. 364), and that schools be established by the towns, under penalty if they refused to do so. In all Protestant lands we saw that the reformers appealed, from time to time, to what were then the servants of the churches–the rising civil governments and principalities and States–to use their civil authority to force the people to meet their new religious obligations in the matter of schooling.

The purpose of the schooling ordered established, however, was almost wholly religious. Massachusetts, in ordering instruction in the “capital laws of the country,” as well as reading and religion, had formed a marked exception. In nearly all lands the rising state governments merely helped the Protestant churches to create the elementary vernacular religious school, and to make of it an auxiliary for the protection of orthodoxy and the advancement of the faith. Even in the new state school systems of the German States–Saxony, Wuertemberg (p. 317), Brunswick, Weimar, Gotha–the elementary schools established were for religious rather than for state ends. This condition continued until well toward the middle of the eighteenth century.

THE NEW STATE THEORY OF EDUCATION. After about the middle of the eighteenth century a new theory as to the purpose of education, and one destined to make rapid headway, began to be advanced. This theory had already made marked progress, as we shall see, in the New England Colonies, and had also found expression, as we shall also see in a later chapter, in the organizing work of Frederick the Great in Prussia. It was from the French political philosophers of the eighteenth century, though, that its clearest definition came. They now advanced the idea that schools were essentially civil affairs, the purpose of which should be to promote the everyday interests of society and the welfare of the State, rather than the welfare of the Church, and to prepare for a life here rather than a life hereafter.

After about 1750 a critical and reformatory pedagogy rapidly began to take shape in France, and the second half of the eighteenth century became a period of criticism and discontent and reconstruction in education, as well as in politics and religion.

This criticism and discontent in France was greatly stimulated by the decline in character and influence of the Jesuit schools. Unwilling to change their instruction to meet the needs of a changing society, their schools had become formal in character (R. 146), and were now engaged chiefly in stilling thinking rather than in promoting it. In consequence the schools had fallen into disrepute throughout all France. The Society, too, in the eighteenth century, came to be a powerful political organization which strove to dominate the State. So bad had the situation become by 1762, that the different parliaments in the provinces and in Paris had formulated complaints against the Jesuits and their schools, [1] and, in 1764, the king was induced to suppress the Order. [2] This decline in influence and final suppression of the Society gave rise to some rather remarkable pedagogical literature, which looked to the creation of a system of state secondary schools in France to replace those of the Jesuits.

The outcome was the rise of a new national and individual conception of the educational purpose. This was destined in time to spread to other lands and to lead to the rise of complete state school systems, financed and managed by the State and conducted for state ends, and to the ultimate divorce of Church and State, in all progressive lands, in the matter of the education of the young. Teachers trained and certificated by the State were in time to supplant the nuns and brothers of the religious congregations in Catholic lands, as well as teachers who served as assistants to the pastors in Protestant lands and whose chief purpose was to uphold the teachings and advance the interests of the sect; citizens were to supplant the ecclesiastic in the supervision of instruction; and the courses of instruction were to be changed in direction and vastly broadened in scope to make them minister to the needs of the State rather than the Church, and to prepare pupils for useful life here rather than for life in another world.


[Illustration: FIG. 154. ROUSSEAU (1712-78)]

THE FRENCH POLITICAL THEORISTS. The leading French political theorists of the two decades between 1760 and 1780 now began to discuss education as in theory a civil affair, intimately connected with the promotion of the welfare of the State. The more important of these, and their chief ideas were:

1. _Rousseau._ The first of the critical and reformatory pedagogical writers to awaken any large interest and obtain a general hearing was Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The same year (1762) that his _Social Contract_ appeared and attacked the foundations of the old political system (p. 483), his _Emile_ also appeared and attacked with equal vigor the religious and social theory as to education then prevailing throughout western Europe. For the stiff and unnatural methods in education, under which children were dressed and made to behave as adults, [3] the harsh discipline of the time, and the excessive emphasis on religious instruction and book education, he preached the substitution of life amid nature, childish ways and sports, parental love, and an education that considered the instincts and natural development of children.

Gathering up the political and social ideas of his age as to ecclesiastical and political despotism; the nature of the social contract; that the “state of nature” was the ideal one, and the one in which men had been intended to live; that human duty called for a return to the “state of nature,” whatever that might be; and that the artificiality and hypocrisy of his age in manners, dress, religion, and education were all wrong–Rousseau restated his political philosophy in terms of the education of the boy, Emile. Despite its many exaggerations, much faulty reasoning, and many imperfections, the book had a tremendous influence upon Europe in laying bare the limitations and defects and abuses of the formal and ecclesiastical education of the time. [4] He may be regarded as the first important writer to sap the foundations of the old system of religious education, and to lay a basis for a new type of child training (R. 254). Though Rousseau’s enthusiasm took the form of theory run mad, and the educational plan he proposed was largely impossible, he nevertheless popularized education, not only in France, but among the reading public of the progressive European States as well. After he had written, the old limited and narrow religious education was on the defensive, and, though time was required, the transition to a more secular type of education was inevitable as fast as nations and peoples could shake off the dominance of the Church in state affairs.

[Illustration: FIG. 155 LA CHALOTAIS (1701-83)]

2. _La Chalotais._ The year following the publication of Rousseau’s _Emile_ appeared La Chalotais’s _Essai d’education nationale_ (1763). Rene de la Chalotais, a Solicitor-General for the Parliament of Bretagne, was one of the notable French parliamentarians of the middle of the eighteenth century. Unlike Rousseau’s highly imaginary, exaggerated, sentimental, and paradoxical volume, La Chalotais produced a practical and philosophical discussion of the problem of the education of a people. Declaring firmly that education was essentially a civil affair; that it was the function of government to make citizens contented by educating them for their sphere in society; that citizen and secular teachers should not be excluded for celibates; [5] that the real purpose of education should be to prepare citizens for France; that the poor were deserving of education; and that “the most enlightened people will always have the advantage” in the struggles of a modern world, La Chalotais produced a work which was warmly approved by such political philosophers as Voltaire, Diderot, and Turgot, and which was translated into several European languages (R. 255). Though far less widely read than Rousseau’s _Emile_, it was far more influential in shaping subsequent political theory and action regarding the relations of education to the State. Nearly every proposal for educational legislation during the days of the Revolution went back in idea to this philosophic discussion of the question by La Chalotais and to the practical proposals of Rolland and Turgot.

[Illustration: FIG. 156. ROLLAND (1734-93)]

3. _Rolland._ In 1768 Rolland, president of the Parliament of Paris, presented to his colleagues a report in which he outlined a national system of education to replace both the schools of the Jesuits and those of the Brothers of the Christian Schools. La Chalotais had proposed a more modern system of state schools chiefly to replace those of the Jesuits, but Rolland went further and proposed the extension of education to all, and the supervision of all schools by a central council of the Government. By means of a centralized control, a central university to which the other universities of France were to be subordinate, a higher normal school to train teachers for the colleges (secondary schools), and universal education, [6] Rolland hoped to develop for France a national spirit, a national character, and a national government and code of laws, and to bring the youth of the provinces into harmony with the best of all French ideas.

4. _Turgot._ In 1774 Turgot was appointed Minister of Finance (p. 481), and in 1775 he made a series of recommendations to the King in which he set forth ideas analogous to those of Rolland, and presented an eloquent plea for the formation of a national council of public instruction and the establishment of a system of civil and national education for the whole of France. In closing he wrote:

Your kingdom, Sir, is of this world. Without opposing any obstacle to the instructions whose object is higher, and which already have their rules and their expounders, I think I can propose to you nothing of more advantage to your people than to cause to be given to all your subjects an instruction which shows them the obligations they owe to society and to your power to protect them, and the interest they have in fulfilling those duties for the public good and their own. This moral and social instruction requires books expressly prepared, by competition, and with great care, and a schoolmaster in each parish to teach them to children, along with the art of writing, reading, counting, measuring, and the principles of mechanics. The study of the duty of citizenship ought to be the foundation of all the other studies…. There are methods and establishments for training geometricians, physicists, and painters, but there are none for training citizens.

5. _Diderot._ In 1776 Diderot, editor with D’Alembert of the _Encyclopaedia_ (1751-72), prepared, at the request of Catherine II (p. 477), under the title of _Plan of a University_, a complete scheme for the organization of a state system of public instruction for Russia. Though the plan was never carried out, it was printed and much discussed in France, and is important as coming from one of the most influential Frenchmen of his time. He commends as an example to be followed the work of the German States in the organization of popular instruction. For Russia he outlines first a system of people’s schools, which shall be free and obligatory for all, and in which instruction in reading, writing, arithmetic, morals, civics, and religion shall be taught. “From the Prime Minister to the lowest peasant,” he says, “it is good for every one to know how to read, write, and count.” For the series of secondary schools to be established, he condemns the usual practice of devoting so much of the instruction to the humanities and a mediaeval type of logic and ethics, and urges instead the introduction of instruction in mathematics, in the modern sciences, literature, and the work of governments. Classical studies he would confine to the last years of the course. Science, history, drawing, and music find a place in his scheme.

All this instruction Diderot would place under the supervisory control of an administrative bureau to be known as the _University of Russia_, at the head of which should be a statesman, who should exercise control of all the work of public instruction beneath. Though never carried out in Russia, the University of France of 1808 is largely an embodiment of the ideas he proposed in 1776.

LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS TO EMBODY THESE IDEAS. During the quarter of a century between the publication of Rousseau’s _Emile_ and the summoning of the States-General to reform France (1762-88), the educational as well as the political ideas of the French reformers had taken deep root with the thinking classes of the nation. The _cahiers_ of 1789, of all Orders (p. 500), gave evidence of this in their somewhat general demand for the creation of some form of an educational system for France (R. 252). From the first days of the Revolution pedagogical literature became plentiful, and the successive National Assemblies found time, amid the internal reorganization of France, constitution-making, the troubles with and trial of the King, and the darkening cloud of foreign intervention, to listen to reports and addresses on education and to enact a bill for the organization of a national school system. The more important of these educational efforts were:

1. _The Constituent Assembly_ (June 17, 1789, to September 30, 1791). In the Constituent Assembly, into which the States-General resolved itself, June 17, 1789, and which continued until after it had framed the constitution of 1791, two notable addresses and one notable report on the organization of education were made. The Count de Mirabeau, a nobleman turned against his class and elected to the States-General as a representative of the Third Estate, made addresses on the “Organization of a Teaching Body” and on the “Organization of a National _Lycee_.” In the first he advocated the establishment of primary schools throughout France. In the second he proposed the establishment of colleges of literature in each department, with a National _Lycee_ at Paris for higher (university) education, and to contain the essentials of a national normal school or teachers’ college as well.

[Illustration: FIG. 157 COUNT DE MIRABEAU (1749-91)]

[Illustration: FIG. 158. TALLEYRAND (1758-1838)]

Mirabeau’s proposals represent rather a transition in thinking from the old to the new, but the Report of Talleyrand (1791), former Bishop of Autun, now turned revolutionist, embodies the full culmination of revolutionary educational thought. Public instruction he termed “a power which embraces everything, from the games of infancy to the most imposing fetes of the Nation.” He definitely proposed the organization of a complete state system of public instruction for France, to consist of a primary school in every canton (community, district), open to the children of peasants and workmen–classes heretofore unprovided with education; a secondary school in every department (county); a series of special schools in the chief French cities, to prepare for the professions; and a National Institute, or University, to be located at Paris. Inspired by Montesquieu’s principle that “the laws of education ought to be relative to the principles of government,” Talleyrand proposed a bill designed to give effect to the provisions of the Constitution of 1791 relating to education (p. 501), and to provide an education for the people of France who were now to exercise, through elected representatives, the legislative power for France. Instruction he held to be the necessary counterpoise of liberty, and every citizen was to be taught to know, obey, love, and protect the new constitution. Political, social, and personal morality were to take the place of religion in the cantonal schools, which were to be free and equally open to all. As the Constituent Assembly was succeeded by the newly elected Legislative Assembly within three weeks after Talleyrand submitted his Report, no action was taken on his bill.

[Illustration: FIG. 159. CONDORCET (1743-94)]

2. _The Legislative Assembly_ (October 1, 1791, to September 21, 1792). This new legislative body was far more radical in character than its predecessor, and far more radical than was the sentiment of France at the time. Among other acts it abolished (1792) the old universities and confiscated (1793) their property to the State. To it was submitted (April 20-21, 1792) by the mathematician, philosopher, and revolutionist, Marquis de Condorcet, [7] on behalf of the Committee on Public Instruction and as a measure of reconstruction, a Report and draft of a Law for the organization of a complete democratic system of public instruction for France (R. 256). It provided for the organizing of a primary school for every four hundred inhabitants, in which each individual was “to be taught to direct his own conduct and to enjoy the plenitude of his own rights,” and where principles would be taught, calculated to “insure the perpetuation of liberty and equality.” The bill also provided, for the first time, for the organization of higher primary schools in the principal towns; colleges (secondary schools) in the chief cities (one for every four thousand inhabitants); a higher school for each “department”; _Lycees_, or institutions of still higher learning, at nine places in France; and a National Society of Sciences and Arts to crown the educational system at Paris. The national system of education he proposed was to be equally open to women, as well as men, and to be gratuitous throughout. Teachers for each grade of school were to be prepared in the school next above. Sunday lectures for workingmen and peasants were to be given by teachers everywhere. Public morality, political intelligence, human progress, and the preservation of liberty and equality were the aims of the instruction. The necessity for education in a constitutional government he saw clearly. “A free constitution,” he writes, “which should not be correspondent to the universal instruction of citizens, would come to destruction after a few conflicts, and would degenerate into one of those forms of government which cannot preserve the peace among an ignorant and corrupt people.” Anarchy or despotism he held to be the future for peoples who become free without being enlightened. He held it to be a fundamental principle that:

The order of nature includes no distinctions in society beyond those of education and wealth. To establish among citizens an equality in fact, and to realize the equality confirmed by law, ought to be the primary object of national instruction.

The bill proposed by Condorcet, while too ambitious for the France of his day, was thoroughly sound as a democratic theory of education, and an accurate prediction of what the nineteenth century brought generally into existence. Condorcet’s Report was discussed, but not acted upon.

[Illustration: FIG. 160. THE INSTITUTE OF FRANCE Founded by Article 298 of the Constitution of Year III (1793)]

3. _The National Convention_ (September 21, 1792, to October 26, 1795). The Convention was also a radical body, deeply interested in the creation of a system of state schools for the people of France. To higher education there was for a time marked opposition, though later in its history the Convention erected a number of important higher technical institutions and schools, among the most important of which was the Institute of France. There was also in the Convention marked opposition to all forms of clerical control of schools. The schools of the Brothers of the Christian Schools were suppressed by it, in 1792, and all secular and endowed schools and colleges were abolished and their property confiscated, in 1793. The complete supremacy of the State in all educational matters was now asserted. Great enthusiasm was manifested for the organization of state primary schools, which were ordered established in 1793 (R. 258 a), and in these:

Children of all classes were to receive that first education, physical, moral, and intellectual, the best adapted to develop in them republican manners, patriotism, and the love of labor, and to render them worthy of liberty and equality.

The course of instruction was to include: “to speak, read, and write correctly the French language; the geography of France; the rights and duties of men and citizens; [8] the first notions of natural and familiar objects; the use of numbers, the compass, the level, the system of weights and measures, the mechanical powers, and the measurement of time. They are to be taken into the fields and the workshops where they may see agricultural and mechanical operations going on, and take part in the same so far as their age will allow.”

What a change from the course of instruction in the religious schools just preceding this period!

[Illustration: FIG. 161. LAKANAL (1762-1845)]

A multiplicity of reports, bills, and decrees, often more or less contradictory but still embodying ideas advanced by Condorcet and Talleyrand, now appeared. Whereas the preceding legislative bodies had considered the subject carefully, but without taking action, the Convention now acted. The nation, though, was so engrossed by the internal chaos and foreign aggression that there was neither time nor funds to carry the decrees into effect.

The most extreme proposal of the period was the bill of Lepelletier le Saint-Fargeau to create a national system of education modeled closely after that of ancient Sparta. The best of the proposals probably was the Lakanal Law, of November 17, 1794, which ordered a school for every one thousand inhabitants, with special divisions for boys and girls, and which provided for instruction in:

1. Reading and writing the French language. 2. The Declaration of the Rights of Man, and the Constitution. 3. Lessons on republican morals.
4. The rules of simple calculation and surveying. 5. Lessons in geography and the phenomena of nature. 6. Lessons on heroic actions, and songs of triumph.

Lakanal also carefully prescribed the method of instruction, and advocated the founding of a national normal school (Latin _norma_; a rule), which idea the Convention adopted in 1794, the school opening [9] in January, 1795. Supplementing this was the law of February 25, 1795, ordering central or higher schools established to replace the former colleges, [10] one for every three hundred thousand of the population, which were to offer instruction from twelve to eighteen. The course was to include:

12 to 14–Drawing, natural history, ancient and living languages. 14 to 16–Mathematics, natural philosophy, experimental chemistry. 16 to 18–Grammar, literature, history, legislation.

Organized on a soviet principle, each professor declared the equal of every other, and lacking any effective administration or discipline, these institutions soon fell into disrepute and were displaced when Napoleon reorganized secondary education in France.

The law of October 25, 1795, closed the work of the Convention. This made less important provisions for primary education (R. 258 b) than had preceding bills, but was the only permanent contribution of this period to the organization of primary schools. It placed greater emphasis than had the legislative Assembly on the creation of secondary and higher institutions (R. 258 a), of more value to the bourgeois class. This bill of 1795 represents a reaction from the extreme republican ideas of a few years earlier, and the triumph of the conservative middle-class elements in the nation over the radical republican elements previously in control.

The Convention also, in the latter part of its history, created a number of higher technical institutions of importance, which were expressive alike of the French interest in scientific subjects which arose during the latter part of the eighteenth century, and of the new French military needs. Many of these institutions have persisted to the present, so well have they answered the scientific interests and needs of the nation. A mere list of the institutions created is all that need be given. These were:

Museum or Conservatory of Arts (Jan. 16, 1794). Conservatory of Arts and Trades (Oct. 10, 1794). New medical schools (_Schools of Health_) ordered (Dec. 4, 1794). Museum of Natural History (Dec. 11, 1794). Central Schools to succeed the former Colleges (secondary schools) (Feb. 25, 1795).
School of Living Oriental Languages (March 30, 1795). Veterinary Schools (April 21, 1795).
Course in Archaeology, National Library (June 8, 1795). Bureau of Longitude (June 29, 1795).
Conservatory of Music (Aug. 3, 1795). The National Library (Oct. 17, 1795).
Museum of Archaeological Monuments (Oct. 20, 1795). Polytechnic Schools (R. 257);
School of Civil Engineering;
School of Hydrographic Engineers; and School of Mining (Oct. 22, 1795).

The Convention also adopted the metric system of weights and measures; enacted laws under which the peasants could acquire title to the lands they had tilled for so long; and began the unification of the laws of the different parts of the country into a single set, which later culminated in the _Code Napoleon_.

4. _The Directory_ (1795-99) _and the Consulate_ (1799-1804). The Revolution had by this time largely spent itself, the Directory followed, and in 1799 Napoleon became First Consul and for the next sixteen years was master of France. The Law of 1795 for primary schools (R. 258 b) was but feebly administered under the Directory, as foreign wars absorbed the energies and resources of the Government. Napoleon’s chief educational interest, too, was in opening up opportunities for talent to rise, in encouraging scientific work and higher specialized institutions, and in developing schools of a type that would support the kind of government he had imposed upon France. The secondary and higher schools he established and promoted cost him money at a time when money was badly needed for national defense, and primary education was accordingly neglected during the time he directed the destinies of the nation. His educational organizations and work we shall refer to again in a later chapter.

The Revolutionary enthusiasts had stated clearly their theory of republican education, but had failed to establish a permanent state school system according to their plans. This now became the work of the nineteenth century. In the meantime, in the new United States of America the same ideas were taking shape and finding expression, and to the developments there we next turn.


WANING OF THE OLD RELIGIOUS INTEREST. As early as 1647 Rhode Island Colony had enacted the first law providing for freedom of religious worship ever enacted by an English-speaking people, and two years later Maryland enacted a similar law. Though the Maryland law was later repealed, and a rigid Church-of-England rule established there, these laws were indicative of the new spirit arising in the New World. By the beginning of the eighteenth century a change in attitude toward the old problem of personal salvation had become evident. Frontier conditions; the gradual rise of a civil as opposed to a religious form of town government; the rising interests in trade and shipping; the beginnings of the breakdown of the old aristocratic traditions and customs transplanted from Europe; the rising individualism in both Europe and America–these all helped to weaken the hold on the people of the old religious doctrines.

By 1750 the change in religious thinking in the American Colonies had become quite marked. [11] Especially was this change evidenced in the dying-out of the old religious fervor and intolerance, and the breaking-up of the old religious solidarity. While most of the Colonies continued to maintain an “established Church,” other sects had to be admitted to the Colony and given freedom of worship. The Puritan monopoly in New England was broken, as was also that of the Anglican faith in the central Colonies. The day of the monopoly of any sect in a Colony was over. New secular interests began to take the place of religion as the chief topic of thought and conversation, and secular books began to dispute the earlier predominance of the Bible. A few colonial newspapers had begun (seven by 1750), and these became expressive of the new colony interests.

CHANGING CHARACTER OF THE SCHOOLS. These changes in attitude toward the old religious problems materially affected both the support and the character of the education provided in the Colonies. The Law of 1647, requiring the maintenance of the Latin grammar schools, had been found to be increasingly difficult of enforcement, not only in Massachusetts, but in all the other New England Colonies which had followed the Massachusetts example. With the changing attitude of the people, which had become clearly manifest by 1750, the demand for relief from the maintenance of this school in favor of a more practical and less aristocratic type of higher school, if higher school were needed at all, became marked. By the close of the colonial period the new American Academy (p. 463), with its more practical studies, had begun to supersede the old Latin grammar school.

The elementary school experienced something of the same difficulties. Many of the parochial schools died out, while others declined in character and importance. In Church-of-England Colonies all elementary education was left to private initiative and philanthropic and religious effort (p. 373). In the southern Colonies the classes in society and the character of the plantation life made common schools impossible, and the feeling of any need for elementary schools almost entirely died out. In New England the eighteenth century was a continual struggle on the one hand to prevent the original religious town school from disappearing, and on the other to establish in its place a series of scattered and inferior district schools, while either church or town support and tuition fees became ever harder to obtain. Among other changes of importance the reading school and the writing school now became definitely united, in all the smaller places and in the rural districts, as a measure of economy, to form the American school of the “3 Rs.” New textbooks, too, containing less of the gloomily religious than the _New England Primer_, and secular rather than religious in character (p. 443), appeared after 1750 and began to be used in the schools. After 1750, too, it was increasingly evident that the old religious enthusiasm for schools had largely died out; that European traditions and ways and types of schools no longer completely satisfied; and that the period of the transplanting of European educational ideas and schools and types of instruction was coming to an end. Instead, the evolution of a public or state school out of the original religious school, and the beginnings of the evolution of distinctly American types of schools, better adapted to American needs, became increasingly evident in the Colonies as the eighteenth century progressed.

RISE OF THE CIVIL OF STATE SCHOOL. As has been stated earlier, the school everywhere in America arose as a child of the Church. In the Middle Colonies, where the parochial-school conception of education was the prevailing type, the school remained under church control until after the foundation of our national government. In New England, though–and the New England evolution in time became the prevailing American practice–the school passed through a very interesting development during colonial times.

As we have seen (p. 360), each little New England town was originally established as a little religious republic, with the Church in complete control. The governing authorities for church and civil affairs were much the same. When acting as church officers they were known as Elders and Deacons; when acting as civil or town officers they were known as Selectmen. The State, as represented in the colony legislature or the town meeting, was clearly the servant of the Church, and existed in large part for religious ends. It was the State acting as the servant of the Church which enacted the Massachusetts laws of 1642 and 1647 (Rs. 190, 19l), requiring the towns to maintain schools for religious ends. Now, so close was the connection between the religious town, which controlled church affairs, and the civil town, which looked after roads, fences, taxes, and defense–the constituency of both being one and the same, and the meetings of both being held at first in the meeting-house–that when the schools were established the colony legislature placed them under the civil–as involving taxes, and being a public service–rather than under the religious town. The interests of one were the interests of both, and, being the same in constituency and territorial boundaries, there seemed no occasion for friction or fear. From this religious beginning the civil school and the civil school-town and school-township, with all their elaborate school administrative machinery, were later evolved.

The erection of a town hall, separate from the meeting-house, was a first step in the process. School affairs now were discussed at the town hall, instead of in the church. The town authorities now appointed committees to locate and build schoolhouses, select and certificate the teachers, and visit and examine the school. Next a regular town school committee was provided for. To this was given the management of the town school, and town taxes, instead of church taxes, were voted for buildings and maintenance. The minister continued to certificate the grammar-school master until the close of the colonial period, but the power to certificate the elementary-school teachers passed to the town authorities early in the eighteenth century. By the close of the century all that the minister–as the only surviving representative of church control–had left to him was the right to accompany the town authorities in the visitation of schools. Thus gradually but certainly did the earlier religious school in America pass out from under the control of the Church and come under the control of the State. When our national government and the different state governments were established, the States were ready to accept, in principle at least, the theory gradually worked out in New England that schools are state institutions, and should be under the control of the State.

THE EARLY STATE CONSTITUTIONS AND LAWS. In framing the Federal Constitution, in 1787, education, then being regarded largely as a local matter, was left to the States to handle as they saw fit; so we turn to the early state constitutions and laws to see how far the new American States had, by the close of the eighteenth century, advanced toward the conception of education as an affair of the State.

During the period from the Declaration of Independence to the close of the eighteenth century (1776-1800), all the States, except Rhode Island and Connecticut, which considered their colonial charters as satisfactory, formulated and adopted new state constitutions. Three new States–Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee–were admitted to the Union before 1800, and these framed constitutions also. Of the sixteen States forming the Union by 1800, seven had incorporated into their constitutions a clause setting forth the State’s duty in the matter of education (R. 259). As in the earlier period of American education, it was Calvinistic New England which incorporated into the constitutions the best provisions regarding learning. In the parochial-school central Colonies the mention was much less emphatic, while the old Anglican-Church Colonies and the new States of Kentucky and Tennessee remained silent on the subject. Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Hampshire, in particular, incorporated strong sections directing the encouragement of learning and virtue, the protection and fostering of school societies, and the establishment of schools. The Massachusetts provision, afterwards copied by New Hampshire, is so explicit in the matter of state duty that it is worth quoting in full.

Chap. V, Sec. 2. Wisdom and knowledge, as well as virtue, diffused generally among the body of the people, being necessary for the preservation of their rights and liberties; and as these depend on spreading the opportunities and advantages of education in the various parts of the country, and among the different orders of the people, it shall be the duty of the legislatures and magistrates, in all future periods of this Commonwealth, to cherish the interests of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries of them; especially the university at Cambridge, public schools, and grammar schools in the towns; to encourage private societies and public institutions, by rewards and immunities, for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and a natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and frugality, honesty and punctuality in their dealings; sincerity, good humor, and all social affections and generous sentiments among the people.

Though the Federal Constitution made no provision for education or aid to schools, when the Congress of the Confederation, in 1787, adopted the Ordinance for the organization and government of the Northwest Territory, out of which the States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin were later carved, it prefixed to this Ordinance the following significant provision:

Art. 3. Religion, morality, and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged [in the States to be formed from this Territory].

By the time the first State formed from this western territory was ready to be admitted to the Union (Ohio, 1802), the theory that education is a function of the State had come to be so thoroughly accepted, in principle at least, by the new American people that Congress now began a policy, ever since continued, of aiding each new State to establish and maintain a state system of schools. To this end Congress gave the new State for this purpose a generous endowment of national land, and in addition three townships of land to endow a state university. We also find that the constitutions of the first States created from this new Northwest Territory (Ohio, 1802; Indiana, 1816 [12]) contain for the time good provisions relating to public education. The Ohio provisions (R. 260) are noteworthy for the strong stand for religious freedom and against any discrimination in the schools between rich and poor, while the Indiana provisions (R. 261) are marked for their broad and generous conception of the scope and purpose of a state system of public instruction.

Many of the older States enacted general state school laws early in their history (R. 262). Connecticut continued the general school laws of 1700, 1712, and 1714 unchanged, and in 1795 added $1,200,000, derived from land sales, to a permanent state school endowment fund, created as early as 1750. Vermont enacted a general school law in 1782. Massachusetts and New Hampshire enacted new general school laws, in 1789, which restated and legalized the school development of the preceding hundred and fifty years. All these required the maintenance of schools by the towns for a definite term each year, ordered taxation, and fixed the school studies required by the State. New York, in 1784, created an administrative organization, known as the University of the State of New York, to supervise secondary and higher education throughout the State–an institution clearly modeled after the centralizing ideas of Condorcet, Rolland, and Diderot (p. 477), and very similar to the ideas proposed by Talleyrand and Condorcet and later (1808) embodied in the University of France by Napoleon. In 1795 New York also provided for a state system of elementary education. Georgia created a state system of academies, as early as 1783. Delaware created a state school fund, in 1796, and Virginia enacted an optional school law the same year. North Carolina created a state university, as early as 1795.

THE NEW POLITICAL MOTIVE FOR SCHOOLS. We thus see, in the new United States, the theories of the French revolutionary thinkers and statesmen actually being realized in practice. The constitutional provisions, and even the legislation, often were in advance of what the States, impoverished as they were by the War of Independence, could at once carry out, but they mark the evolution in America of a clearly defined state theory as to education, and the recognition of a need for general education in a government whose actions were so largely influenced by the force of public opinion. The Federal Constitution had extended the right to vote for national officers to all, and the older States soon began to remove their earlier property qualifications for voting and to extend general manhood suffrage to all citizens.

This new development in government by the people, which meant the passing of the rule of a propertied and educated class and the establishment of a real democracy, caused the leading American statesmen to turn early to general education as a necessity for republican safety. In his Farewell Address to the American people, written in 1796, Washington said:

Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.

Jefferson spent the years 1784 to 1789 in Paris, and became a great propagandist in America for French political ideas. Writing to James Madison from France, as early as 1787, he said:

Above all things, I hope the education of the common people will be attended to; convinced that on this good sense we may rely with the most security for the preservation of a due sense of liberty.

[Illustration: FIG. 162. THOMAS JEFFERSON (1743-1826)]

In 1779, then, as a member of the Virginia legislature, Jefferson tried unsuccessfully to secure the passage of a comprehensive bill, after the plan of the French Revolutionary proposals, for the organization of a complete system of public education for Virginia. The essential features of the proposed bill (R. 263) were that every county should be laid off into school districts, five to six miles square, to be known as “hundreds,” and in each of these an elementary school was to be established to which any citizen could send his children free of charge for three years, and as much longer as he was willing to pay tuition; that the leading pupil in each school was to be selected annually and sent to one of twenty grammar (secondary) schools to be established and maintained at various points in the State; after two years the leaders in each of these schools were to be selected and further educated free for six years, the less promising being sent home; and at the completion of the grammar- school course, the upper half of the pupils were to be given three years more of free education at the State College of William and Mary, and the other half were to be employed as teachers for the schools of the State. [13]

Though the scheme failed of approval, Jefferson never lost interest in the education of the people for intelligent participation in the functions of government. Writing from Monticello to Colonel Yancey, in 1816, after his retirement from the presidency, he wrote:

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization it expects what never was and never will be…. There is no safe deposit (for the functions of government) but with the people themselves; nor can they be safe with them without information.

In 1819 the founding of the University of Virginia crowned Jefferson’s efforts for education by the State. This institution, the Declaration of Independence, and the statute for religious freedom in Virginia stand to- day as the three enduring monuments to his memory. [14]

Other of the early American statesmen expressed similar views as to the importance of general education by the State. John Jay, first Chief Justice of the United States, in a letter to his friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush, wrote:

I consider knowledge to be the soul of a Republic, and as the weak and the wicked are generally in alliance, as much care should be taken to diminish the number of the former as of the latter. Education is the way to do this, and nothing should be left undone to afford all ranks of people the means of obtaining a proper degree of it at a cheap and easy rate.

James Madison, fourth President of the United States, wrote:

A satisfactory plan for primary education is certainly a vital desideratum in our republics.

A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or, perhaps, both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.

John Adams, with true New England thoroughness, expressed the new motive for education still more forcibly when he wrote:

The instruction of the people in every kind of knowledge that can be of use to them in the practice of their moral duties as men, citizens, and Christians, and of their political and civil duties as members of society and freemen, ought to be the care of the public, and of all who have any share in the conduct of its affairs, in a manner that never yet has been practiced in any age or nation. The education here intended is not merely that of the children of the rich and noble, but of every rank and class of people, down to the lowest and poorest. It is not too much to say that schools for the education of all should be placed at convenient distances and maintained at the public expense. The revenues of the State would be applied infinitely better, more charitably, wisely, usefully, and therefore politically in this way than even in maintaining the poor. This would be the best way of preventing the existence of the poor….

Laws for the liberal education of youth, especially of the lower classes of people, are so extremely wise and useful that, to a humane and generous mind, no expense for this purpose would be thought extravagant.

Having founded, as Lincoln so well said later at Gettysburg, “on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal,” and having built a constitutional form of government based on that equality, it in time became evident to those who thought at all on the question that that liberty and political equality could not be preserved without the general education of all. A new motive for education was thus created and gradually formulated in the United States, as well as in revolutionary France, and the nature of the school instruction of the youth of the State came in time to be colored through and through by this new political motive. The necessary schools, though, did not come at once. On the contrary, the struggle to establish these necessary schools it will be our purpose to trace in subsequent chapters, but before doing so we wish first to point out how the rise of a political theory for education led to the development of a theory as to the nature of the educational process which exercised a far-reaching influence on all subsequent evolution of schools and teaching.


1. What do the proposals of La Chalotais, Rolland, and Turgot indicate as to the degree of unification of France attained by the time they wrote?

2. What new subjects did Diderot add to the religious elementary school of his time?

3. Show how the decline in efficiency of the Jesuits was a stimulating force for the evolution of a system of public instruction in France.

4. Show the statesman-like character of the proposals made in the legislative assemblies of France for the organization of national education.

5. Assuming that there had been enough funds to carry out the law (1793) of the Convention for primary instruction, what other difficulties would have been met that would have been hard to surmount?

6. Compare the Lakanal school with an American elementary school of a half-century ago.

7. Show that many of the important educational reforms of Napoleon were foreshadowed in the National Convention.

8. Was Napoleon right in his attitude toward education and schools?

9. Explain the lack of success of the revolutionary theorists in the establishment of a state system of education.

10. Explain why the breakdown of the old religious intolerance came earlier in the American Colonies than in the Old World.

11. Show the great value of the Laws of 1642 and 1647 in holding New England true to the maintenance of schools during the period of decline.

12. What might have been the result in America had the New England Colonies established the school as a parish institution, as did the central Colonies?

13. Analyze the Massachusetts constitutional provision for education, and show what it provided for.

14. Show the similarity of the University of the State of New York to the proposals for governmental control in France.

15. Explain why the French revolutionary ideas as to education were realized so easily in the new United States, whereas France did not realize them until well into the nineteenth century.

16. Compare Jefferson’s proposed law with the proposals of Talleyrand for France.

17. Just what type of educational institutions did Washington have in mind in the quotation from his Farewell Address? John Jay? John Adams?


In the accompanying Book of Readings the following selections are reproduced:

254. Dabney: The Far-Reaching Influence of Rousseau’s Writings. 255. La Chalotais: Essay on National Education. 256. Condorcet: Outline of a Plan for Organizing Public Instruction in France.
257. Report: Founding of the Polytechnic School at Paris. 258. Barnard: Work of the National Convention in France. (a) Various legislative proposals.
(b) The Law of 1795 organizing Primary Instruction. 259. American States: Early Constitutional Provisions relating to Education.
260. Ohio: Educational Provisions of First Constitution. 261. Indiana: Educational Provisions of First Constitution. 262. American States: Early School Legislation in. 263. Jefferson: Plan for Organizing Education in Virginia.


1. Explain the conditions of society under which the emotional writings of a man of the type of Rousseau could have made such a deep impression (254) on the nation.

2. In how far do nations to-day accept the theories of La Chalotais (255)?

3. What type of administrative organization was proposed by Condorcet (256)?

4. What does the founding of the Polytechnic School (257) indicate as to the French interest in science?

5. What real progress was made by the National Convention (258 a), and to what degree did it fail? 6. Explain the type of school system proposed and the conception of education lying behind the early constitutional provisions (259) for education in each of the American States.

7. In what respects were the educational provisions of the first Ohio constitution (260) remarkable?

8. In what respects were the educational provisions of the first Indiana constitution (261) remarkable?

9. Characterize the early school legislation reproduced (262).

10. Just what type of educational system did Jefferson propose to organize in Virginia (263)?


Barnard, Henry. _American Journal of Education_, vol. 22, pp. 651-64.
Compayre, G. _History of Pedagogy_, chapters 15, 16, 17. Cubberley, E. P. _Public Education in the United States_, chapter 3.



In chapters XVII and XVIII we traced the development of educational theory up to the point where John Locke left it after outlining his social and disciplinary theory for the educational process, and in the chapter preceding this one we traced the evolution of a new state theory as to the purpose of education to replace the old religious theory. The new theory as to state control, and the erection of a citizenship purpose for education, made it both possible and desirable that the instruction in the school, and particularly in the vernacular school, should be recast, both in method and content, to bring the school into harmony with the new secular purpose. In consequence, an important reorganization of the vernacular school now took place, and to this transformation of the elementary school we next turn.


ICONOCLASTIC NATURE OF THE WORK OF ROUSSEAU. The inspirer of the new theory as to the purpose of education was none other than the French-Swiss iconoclast and political writer, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose work as a political theorist we have previously described. Happening to take up the educational problem as a phase of his activity against the political and social and ecclesiastical conditions of his age, drawing freely on Locke’s _Thoughts_ for ideas, and inspired by a feeling that so corrupt and debased was his age that if he rejected everything accepted by it and adopted the opposite he would reach the truth, Rousseau restated his political theories as to the control of man by society and his ideas as to a life according to “nature” in a book in which he described the education, from birth to manhood, of an imaginary boy, Emile, and his future wife, Sophie. In the first sentence of the book Rousseau sets forth his fundamental thesis:

All is good as it comes from the hand of the Creator; all degenerates under the hands of man. He forces one country to produce the fruits of another, one tree to bear that of another. He confounds climates, elements, and seasons; he mutilates his dog, his horse, his slave; turns everything topsy-turvy, disfigures everything. He will have nothing as nature made it, not even man himself; he must be trained like a managed horse, trimmed like a tree in a garden.

His book, published in 1762, in no sense outlined a workable system of education. Instead, in charming literary style, with much sophistry, many paradoxes, numerous irrelevant digressions upon topics having no relation to education, and in no systematic order, Rousseau presented his ideas as to the nature and purpose of education. Emphasizing the importance of the natural development of the child (R. 264 a), he contended that the three great teachers of man were nature, man, and experience, and that the second and third tended to destroy the value of the first (R. 264 b); that the child should be handled in a new way, and that the most important item in his training up to twelve years of age was to do nothing (R. 264 c, d) so that nature might develop his character properly (R. 264 e); and that from twelve to fifteen his education should be largely from things and nature, and not from books (R. 264 f). As the outcome of such an education Rousseau produced a boy who, from his point of view, would at eighteen still be natural (R. 264 g) and unspoiled by the social life about him, which, after all, he felt was soon to pass away (R. 264 i). The old religious instruction he would completely supersede (R. 264 h).


So depraved was the age, and so wretched were the educational practices of his time, that, in spite of the malevolent impulse which was his driving force, what he wrote actually contained many excellent ideas, pointed the way to better practices, and became an inspiration for others who, unlike Rousseau, were deeply interested in problems of education and child welfare. One cannot study Rousseau’s writings as a whole, see him in his eighteenth-century setting, know of his personal life, and not feel that the far-reaching reforms produced by his _Emile_ are among the strangest facts in history.

THE VALUABLE ELEMENTS IN ROUSSEAU’S WORK. Amid his glittering generalities and striking paradoxes Rousseau did, however, set forth certain important ideas as to the proper education of children. Popularizing the best ideas of the Englishman, Locke (p. 433), Rousseau may be said to have given currency to certain conceptions as to the education of children which, in the hands of others, brought about great educational changes. Briefly stated, these were:

1. The replacement of authority by reason and investigation.

2. That education should be adapted to the gradually unfolding capacities of the child.

3. That each age in the life of a child has activities which are normal to that age, and that education should seek for and follow these.

4. That physical activity and health are of first importance.

5. That education, and especially elementary education, should take place through the senses, rather than through the memory.

6. That the emphasis placed on the memory in education is fundamentally wrong, dwarfing the judgment and reason of the child.

7. That catechetical and Jesuitical types of education should be abandoned.

8. That the study of theological subtleties is unsuited to child needs or child capacity.

9. That the natural interests, curiosity, and activities of children should be utilized in their education.

10. That the normal activities of children call for expression, and that the best means of utilizing these activities are conversation, writing, drawing, music, and play.

11. That education should no longer be exclusively literary and linguistic, but should be based on sense perception, expression, and reasoning.

12. That such education calls for instruction in the book of nature, with home geography and the investigation of elementary problems in science occupying a prominent place.

13. That the child be taught rather than the subject-matter; life here rather than hereafter; and the development of reason rather than the loading of the memory, were the proper objects of education.

14. That a many-sided education is necessary to reveal child possibilities; to correct the narrowing effect of specialized class education; and to prepare one for possible changes in fortune.

A new educational ideal presented. Rousseau’s _Emile_ presented a new ideal in education. According to his conception it was debasing that man should be educated to behave correctly in an artificial society, to follow blindly the doctrines of a faith, or to be an obedient subject of a king. Instead he conceived the function of education to be to evolve the natural powers, cultivate the human side, unfold the inborn capacities of every human being, and to develop a reasoning individual, capable of intelligently directing his life under diverse conditions and in any form of society. A book setting forth such ideas naturally was revolutionary [1] in matters of education. It deeply influenced thinkers along these lines during the remaining years of the eighteenth century, and became the inspiring source of nineteenth-century reforms. As Rousseau’s _Social Contract_ became the political handbook of the French Revolutionists, so his _Emile_ became the inspiration of a new theory as to the education of children.

Coming, as it did, at a time when political and ecclesiastical despotisms were fast breaking down in France, when new forces were striving for expression throughout Europe, and when new theories as to the functions of government were being set forth in the American Colonies and in France, it gave the needed inspiration for the evolution of a new theory of non- religious, universal, and democratic education which would prepare citizens for intelligent participation in the functions of a democratic State, and for a reorganization of the subject-matter of education itself. A new theory as to the educational purpose was soon to arise, and the whole nature of the educational process, in the hands of others, was soon to be transformed as a result of the fortunate conjunction of the iconoclastic and impractical discussion of education by Rousseau and the more practical work of English, French, and American political theorists and statesmen. Out of the fusing of these, modern educational theory arose.


INFLUENCE OF THE _EMILE_ IN GERMAN LANDS. The _Emile_ was widely read, not only in France, but throughout the continent of Europe as well. In German lands its publication coincided with the rising tide of nationalism–the “Period of Enlightenment”–and the book was warmly welcomed by such (then young) men as Goethe, Schiller, Herder, Richter, Fichte, and Kant. It presented a new ideal of education and a new ideal for humanity, and its ideas harmonized well with those of the newly created aristocracy of worth which the young German enthusiasts were busily engaged in proclaiming for their native land. The ideal of the perfected individual, strong in the consciousness of his powers, now found expression in the new “classics of individualism” which marked the outburst of the best that German literature has ever produced. As Paulsen [2] well says:

Rousseau exercised an immense influence on his times, and Germany was stirred perhaps even more deeply than France. In France Voltaire continued to be regarded as the great man of his time, whereas, in Germany, his place in the esteem of the younger generation had been taken by the enthusiast of Geneva. Kant, Herder, Goethe, Schiller, Fichte, all of them were roused by Rousseau to the inmost depths of their natures. He gave utterance to the passionate longing of their souls: to do away with the imitation of French courtly culture, by which Nature was suppressed and perverted in every way, to do away with the established political and social order, based on court society and class distinctions, which was felt to be lowering to man in his quality as a reasonable being, and to return to Nature, to simple and unsophisticated habits of life, or rather to find a way through Nature to a better civilisation, which would restore the natural values of life to their rightful place and would be compatible with truth and virtue, sincerity and probity of character.

The great German philosopher, Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), was so deeply stirred by the _Emile_ that the regularity of his daily walks and the clearness of his thinking were disturbed by it. Goethe called the book “the teacher’s Gospel.” Schiller praised Rousseau as “a new Socrates, who of Christians wished to make men.” Herder acclaimed Rousseau as a German, and his “divine work” as his guide. Jean-Paul Richter confessed himself indebted to Rousseau for the best ideas in his _Levana_. Lavater declared himself ready for a Reformation in education along the lines laid down by Rousseau.

[Illustration: FIG. 64. BASEDOW (1723-90)]

BASEDOW AND HIS WORK. Perhaps the most important practical influence exerted by the _Emile_ in German lands came in the work of Johann Bernard Basedow and his followers. Basedow was a North German who had been educated in the _Gymnasium_ at Hamburg, had studied in the theological faculty at Leipzig, had been a tutor in a nobleman’s family, and had been a teacher in a _Ritterakademie_ in Denmark and the _Gymnasium_ at Altona. Deeply imbued with the new scientific spirit, in thorough revolt against the dominance of the Church in human lives, and incited to new efforts by his reading of the _Emile_, Basedow thought out a plan for a reform school which should put many of Rousseau’s ideas into practice. In 1768 he issued his _Address to Philanthropists and Men of Property on Schools and Studies and their Influence on the Public Weal_, in which he appealed for funds to enable him to open a school to try out his ideas, and to enable him to prepare a new type of textbooks for the use of schools. He proposed in this appeal to organize a school which should be non-sectarian, and also advocated the creation of a National Council of Education to have charge of all public instruction. These were essentially the ideas of the French political reformers of the time. The appeal was widely scattered, awakened much enthusiasm, and subscriptions to assist him poured in from many sources. [3]

In 1774 Basedow published two works of more than ordinary importance. The first, a _Book of Method for Fathers and Mothers of Families and of Nations_, was a book for adults, and outlined a plan of education for both boys and girls. The keynotes were “following nature,” “impartial religious instruction,” children to be dealt with as children, learning through the senses, language instruction by a natural method, and much study of natural objects. The ideas were a combination of those of Bacon, Comenius, and Rousseau. The second book, in four volumes, and containing one hundred copper-plate illustrations, was the famous _Elementary Work_ (_Elementarwerk mit Kupfern_) (R. 266), the first illustrated school textbook since the _Orbis Pictus_ (1654) of Comenius. This work of Basedow’s became, in German lands, the _Orbis Pictus_ of the eighteenth century. By means of its “natural methods” (R. 265) children were to be taught to read, both the vernacular and Latin, more easily and in less time than had been done before, and in addition were to be given a knowledge of morals, commerce, scientific subjects, and social usages by “an incomparable method,” founded on experience in teaching children. The book enjoyed a wide circulation among the middle and upper classes in German lands.

BASEDOW’S _PHILANTHROPINUM_. In 1774 Prince Leopold, of Dessau, a town in the duchy of Anhalt, in northern Germany, gave Basedow the use of two buildings and a garden, and twelve thousand thalers in money, with which to establish his long-heralded _Philanthropinum_, which was to be an educational institution of a new type. Great expectations were aroused, and a widespread interest in the new school awakened. Education according to nature, with a reformed, time-saving, natural method for the teaching of languages, were to be its central ideas. Children were to be treated as children, and not as adults. Powdered hair, gilded coats, swords, rouge, and hoops were to be discarded for short hair, clean faces, sailor jackets, and caps, while the natural plays of children and directed physical training were to be made a feature of the instruction. The languages were to be taught by conversational methods. Each child was to be taught a handicraft–turning, planing, and carpentering were provided– for both social and educational reasons. Instruction in real things– science, nature–was to take the place of instruction in words, and the vernacular was to be the language of instruction. The institution was to have the atmosphere of religion, but was not to be Catholic, Lutheran, Reformed, or Jewish, and was to be free from “theologizing distinctions.” Latin, German, French, mathematics, a knowledge of nature (geography, physics, natural history), music, dancing, drawing, and physical training were the principal subjects of instruction. The children were divided into four classes, and the instruction for each, with the textbooks to be used, was outlined (R. 265).

The school opened with Basedow and three assistants as teachers, and two of Basedow’s children and twelve others as pupils. Later the school came to have many boarding pupils, drawn from as far-distant points as Riga and Spain. In 1776 a public examination was held, to which many distinguished men were invited, and the work which Basedow’s methods could produce was exhibited. These methods seem to have been successful, judging from the rather full accounts which have been left us. [4] The school represented a new type of educational effort, and was frankly experimental in purpose. It was an attempt to apply, in practice, the main ideas of Rousseau’s _Emile_. Basedow tried the plan of education outlined by Rousseau with his own daughter, whom he named Emilie.


As a promising experiment the school awakened widespread interest, and Basedow was supported by such thinkers of the time as Goethe and Kant. The year following the “Examination” Kant, then professor of philosophy at the University of Koenigsberg, contributed an article to the _Koenigsberg Gazette_ explaining the importance of the experiment Basedow was making. Still later, in his university lectures _On Pedagogy_, he further stated the importance of such a new experiment, in the following words:

It was imagined that experiments in education were not necessary; and that, whether any thing in it was good or bad, could be judged of by the reason. But this was a great mistake; experience shows very often that results are produced precisely the opposite to those which had been expected. We also see from experiment that one generation cannot work out a complete plan of education. The only experimental school which has made a beginning toward breaking the path was the Dessau institution. This praise must be given to it, in spite of the many faults which may be charged against it; faults which belong to all conclusions based upon such undertakings; and which make new experiments always necessary. It was the only school in which the teachers had the liberty to work after their own methods and plans, and where they stood in connection, not only with each other, but with men of learning throughout all Germany.

BASEDOW’S INFLUENCE, AND FOLLOWERS. Basedow, though, was an impractical theorist, boastful and quarrelsome, vulgar and coarse, given to drunkenness and intemperate speech, and fond of making claims for his work which the results did not justify. In a few years he had been displaced as director, and in 1793 the _Philanthropinum_ closed its doors. The school, nevertheless, was a very important educational experiment, and Basedow’s work for a time exerted a profound influence on German pedagogical thought. He may be said to have raised instruction in the _Realien_ in German lands to a place of distinct importance, and to have given a turn to such instruction which it has ever since retained. [5] The methods of instruction, too, worked out in arithmetic, geography, geometry, natural history, physics, and history were in many ways as revolutionary as those evolved by Pestalozzi later on in Switzerland. In his emphasis on scientific subject-matter Basedow surpassed Pestalozzi, but Pestalozzi possessed a clearer, intuitive insight into the nature and purpose of the educational process. The work of the two men furnishes an interesting basis for comparison (R. 271), and the work of each gave added importance to that of the other.

From Dessau an interest in pedagogical ideas and experiments spread over Europe, and particularly over German lands. Other institutions, modeled after the _Philanthropinum_, were founded in many places, and some of Basedow’s followers [6] did as important work along certain lines as did Basedow himself. His followers were numerous, and of all degrees of worth. They urged acceptance of the new ideas of Rousseau as worked out and promulgated by Basedow; vigorously attacked the old schools, making converts here and there; and in a way helped to prepare northern German lands for the incoming, later, of the better-organized ideas of the German-Swiss reformer Pestalozzi, to whose work we next turn.


THE INSPIRATION OF PESTALOZZI. Among those most deeply influenced by Rousseau’s _Emile_ was a young German-Swiss by the name of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, who was born (1746) and brought up in the ancient city of Zurich. Inspired by Rousseau’s writings he spent the early part of his life in trying to render service to the poor, and the latter part in working out for himself a theory and a method of instruction based on the natural development of the child. To Pestalozzi, more than to any one else, we owe the foundations of the modern secular vernacular elementary school, and in consequence his work is of commanding importance in the history of the development of educational practice.

Trying to educate his own child according to Rousseau’s plan, he not only discovered its impracticability but also that the only way to improve on it was to study the children themselves. Accordingly he opened a school and home on his farm at Neuhof, in 1774. Here he took in fifty abandoned children, to whom he taught reading, writing, and arithmetic, gave them moral discourses, and trained them in gardening, farming, and cheese- making. It was an attempt to regenerate beggars by means of education, which Pestalozzi firmly believed could be done. At the end of two years he had spent all the money he and his wife possessed, and the school closed in failure–a blessing in disguise–though with Pestalozzi’s faith in the power of education unshaken. Of this experiment he wrote: “For years I have lived in the midst of fifty little beggars, sharing in my poverty my bread with them, living like a beggar myself in order to teach beggars to live like men.”

Turning next to writing, while continuing to farm, Pestalozzi now tried to express his faith in education in printed form. His _Leonard and Gertrude_ (1781) was a wonderfully beautiful story of Swiss peasant life, and of the genius and sympathy and love of a woman amid degrading surroundings. From a wretched place the village of Bonnal, under Pestalozzi’s pen, was transformed by the power of education. [7] The book was a great success from the first, and for it Pestalozzi was made a “citizen” of the French Republic, along with Washington, Madison, Kosciusko, Wilberforce, and Tom Paine. He continued to farm and to think, though nearly starving, until 1798, when the opportunity for which he was really fitted came.

PESTALOZZI’S EDUCATIONAL EXPERIMENTS. In 1798 “The Helvetic Republic” was proclaimed, an event which divided Pestalozzi’s life into two parts. Up to this time he had been interested wholly in the philanthropic aspect of education, believing that the poor could be regenerated through education and labor. From this time on he interested himself in the teaching aspect of the problem, in the working-out and formulation of a teaching method based on the natural development of the child, and in training others to teach. Much to the disgust of the authorities of the new Swiss Government, citizen Pestalozzi applied for service as a schoolteacher. The opportunity to render such service soon came.

That autumn the French troops invaded Switzerland, and, in putting down the stubborn resistance of the three German cantons, shot down a large number of the people. Orphans to the number of 169 were left in the little town of Stanz, and citizen Pestalozzi was given charge of them. For six months he was father, mother, teacher, and nurse. Then, worn out himself, the orphanage was changed into a hospital. A little later he became a schoolmaster in Burgdorf; was dismissed; became a teacher in another school; and finally, in 1800, opened a school himself in an old castle there. He now drew about him other teachers interested in improving instruction, and in consequence could specialize the work. He provided separate teachers for drawing and singing, geography and history, language and arithmetic, and gymnastics. The year following the school was enlarged into a teachers’ training-school, the government extending him aid in return for giving Swiss teachers one month of training as teachers in his school. Here he wrote and published _How Gertrude teaches her Children_, which explained his methods and forms his most important pedagogical work (R. 267); a _Guide for teaching Spelling and Reading_; and a _Book for Mothers_, devoted to a description of “object teaching.” In 1803, the castle being needed by the government, Pestalozzi moved first to Munchenbuchsee, near Hofwyl, opening his Institute temporarily in an old convent there. For a few months, in 1804, he was associated with Emanuel von Fellenberg, at Hofwyl (p. 546), but in October, 1804, he moved to Yverdon, where he reestablished the Institute, and where the next twenty years of his life were spent and his greatest success achieved.


THE CONTRIBUTION OF PESTALOZZI. The great contribution of Pestalozzi lay in that, following the lead of Rousseau, he rejected the religious aim and the teaching of mere words and facts, which had characterized all elementary education up to near the close of the eighteenth century, and tried instead to reduce the educational process to a well-organized routine, based on the natural and orderly development of the instincts, capacities, and powers of the growing child. Taking Rousseau’s idea of a return to nature, he tried to apply it to the education of children. This led to his rejection of what he called the “empty chattering of mere words” and “outward show” in the instruction in reading and the catechism, and the introduction in their place of real studies, based on observation, experimentation, and reasoning. “Sense impression” became his watchword. [8] As he expressed it, he “tried to organize and psychologize the educational process” by harmonizing it with the natural development of the child (R. 267). To this end he carefully studied children, and developed his methods experimentally as a result of his observation. To this end, both at Burgdorf and Yverdon, all results of preceding teachers and writers on education were rejected, for fear that error might creep in. Read nothing, discover everything, and prove all things, came to be the working guides of himself and his teachers.

The development of man he believed to be organic, and to proceed according to law. It was the work of the teacher to discover these laws of development and to assist nature in securing “a natural, symmetrical, and harmonious development” of all the “faculties” of the child. Real education must develop the child as a whole–mentally, physically, morally–and called for the training of the head and the hand and the heart. The only proper means for developing the powers of the child was use, and hence education must guide and stimulate self-activity, be based on intuition and exercise, and the sense impressions must be organized and directed. Education, too, if it is to follow the organic development of the child, must observe the proper progress of child development and be graded, so that each step of the process shall grow out of the preceding and grow into the following stage. To accomplish these ends the training must be all-round and harmonious; much liberty must be allowed the child in learning; education must proceed largely by doing instead of by words, the method of learning must be largely analytical; real objects and ideas must precede symbols and words; and, finally, the organization and correlation of what is learned must be looked after by the teacher.


Still more, Pestalozzi possessed a deep and abiding faith, new at the time, in the power of education as a means of regenerating society. He had begun his work by trying to “teach beggars to live like men,” and his belief in the potency of education in working this transformation, so touchingly expressed in his _Leonard and Gertrude_, never left him. He believed that each human being could be raised through the influence of education to the level of an intellectually free and morally independent life, and that every human being was entitled to the right to attain such freedom and independence. The way to this lay through the full use of his developing powers, under the guidance of a teacher, and not through a process of repeating words and learning by heart. Not only the intellectual qualities of perception, judgment, and reasoning need exercise, but the moral powers as well. To provide such exercise and direction was the work of the school.

Pestalozzi also resented the brutal discipline which for ages had characterized all school instruction, believed it by its very nature immoral, and tried to substitute for this a strict but loving discipline– a “thinking love,” he calls it–and to make the school as nearly as possible like a gentle and refined home. To a Swiss father, who on visiting his school exclaimed, “Why, this is not a school, but a family,” Pestalozzi answered that such a statement was the greatest praise he could have given him.

THE CONSEQUENCES OF THESE IDEAS. The educational consequences of these new ideas were very large. They in time gave aim and purpose to the elementary school of the nineteenth century, transforming it from an instrument of the Church for church ends, to an instrument of society to be used for its own regeneration and the advancement of the welfare of all. [9] The introduction of the study of natural objects in place of words, and much talking about what was seen and studied instead of parrot-like reproductions of the words of a book, revolutionized both the methods and the subject-matter of instruction in the developing elementary school. Observation and investigation tended to supersede mere memorizing; class discussion and thinking to supersede the reciting of the words of the book; thinking about what was being done to supersede routine learning; and class instruction to supersede the wasteful individual teaching which had for so long characterized all school work. It meant the reorganization of the work of the vernacular school on a modern basis, with class organization and group instruction, and a modern-world purpose (R. 269).

The work of Pestalozzi also meant the introduction of new subject-matter for instruction, the organization of new teaching subjects for the elementary school, and the redirection of the elementary education of children. Observation led to the development of elementary-science study, and the study of home geography; talking about what was observed led to the study of language usage, as distinct from the older study of grammar; and counting and measuring led to the study of number, and hence to a new type of primary arithmetic. The reading of the school also changed both in character and purpose. In other words, in place of an elementary education based on reading, a little writing and spelling, and the catechism, all of a memoriter type and with religious ends in view, a new primary school, essentially secular in character, was created by the work of Pestalozzi. This new school was based on the study of real objects, learning through sense impressions, the individual expression of ideas, child activity, and the development of the child’s powers in an orderly way. In fact, “the development of the faculties” of the child became a by-word with Pestalozzi and his followers.

Pestalozzi’s deep abiding faith in the power of education to regenerate society was highly influential in Switzerland, throughout western Europe, and later in America in showing how to deal with orphans, vagrants, and those suffering from physical defects or in need of reformation, by providing for such a combination of intellectual and industrial training.

THE SPREAD AND INFLUENCE OF PESTALOZZI’S WORK. So famous did the work of Pestalozzi become that his schools at Burgdorf and Yverdon came to be “show places,” even in a land filled with natural wonders. Observers and students came from America (R. 268) and from all over Europe to see and to teach in his school, and draw inspiration from seeing his work (R. 270) and talking with him. [10] In particular the educators of Prussia were attracted by his work, and, earlier than other nations, saw the far- reaching significance of his discoveries. Herbart visited his school as early as 1799, when but a young man of twenty-three, and wrote a very sympathetic description of his new methods. Froebel spent the years 1808 to 1810 as a teacher at Yverdon, when he was a young man of twenty-six to eight. “It soon became evident to me,” wrote Froebel, “that ‘Pestalozzi’ was to be the watchword of my life.” The philosopher Fichte, whose Addresses (1807-08) on the condition of the German people (page 568), after their humiliating defeat by Napoleon, did much to reveal to Prussia the possibilities of national regeneration by means of education, had taught in Zurich, knew Pestalozzi, and afterward exploited his work and his ideas in Berlin. [11] As early as 1803 an envoy, sent by the Prussian King, [12] reported favorably on Pestalozzi’s work, and in 1804 Pestalozzian methods were authorized for the primary schools of Prussia. In 1808 seventeen teachers were sent to Switzerland, at the expense of the Prussian Government, to spend three years in studying Pestalozzi’s ideas and methods. On their return, these and others spread Pestalozzian ideas throughout Prussia. A pastor and teacher from Wuertemberg, Karl August Zeller (1774-1847), came to Burgdorf in 1803 to study. In 1806 he opened a training-school for teachers in Zurich, and there worked out a plan of studies based on the work of Pestalozzi. This was printed and attracted much attention. In 1808 the King of Wuertemberg listened to five lectures on Pestalozzian methods by Zeller, and invited him to a position as school inspector in his State. Before he had done but a few months’ work he was called to Prussia, to organize a normal school and begin the introduction of Pestalozzian ideas there. From Prussia the ideas and methods of Pestalozzi gradually spread to the other German States.

Many Swiss teachers were trained by Pestalozzi, and these also helped to extend his work and ideas over Switzerland. Particularly in German Switzerland did his ideas take root and reorganize education. As a result modern systems of education made an early start in these cantons. One of Pestalozzi’s earliest and most faithful teachers, Hermann Kruesi, became principal of the Swiss normal school at Gais, and trained teachers there in Pestalozzian methods. Zeller’s pupils, too, did much to spread his influence among the Swiss. Pestalozzi’s ideas were also carried to England, but in no such satisfactory manner as to the German States. Where German lands received both the method and the spirit, the English obtained largely the form. Later Pestalozzian ideas came to the United States, at first largely through English sources, and, after about 1860, resulted in a thoroughgoing reorganization of American elementary education.

After Pestalozzi’s institution had become celebrated, and visitors and commissions from many countries had visited him and it, and after governments had vied with one another in introducing Pestalozzian methods and reforms, the vogue of the Pestalozzian ideas became very extended. Many excellent private schools were founded on the Pestalozzian model, while on the other hand self-styled Pestalozzian reformers sprang up on all sides. All this imitation was both natural and helpful; the foolishness and charlatanism in time disappeared, leaving a real advance in the educational conception.

THE MANUAL-LABOR SCHOOL OF FELLENBERG. Of the Swiss associates and followers of Pestalozzi one of the most influential was Phillip Emanuel von Fellenberg (1771-1844). The son of a Swiss official of high political and social position, possessed of wealth, having traveled extensively, Fellenberg, having become convinced that correct early education was the only means whereby the State might be elevated and the lot of man made better, resolved (1805) to devote his life and his fortune to the working- out of his ideas. For a short time associated with Pestalozzi, he soon withdrew and established, on his own estate, an Institution which later (1829) came to comprise the following:

1. A farm of about six hundred acres.

2. Workshops for manufacturing clothing and tools.

3. A printing and lithographing establishment.

4. A literary institution for the education of the well-to-do.

5. A lower or _real_ school, which trained for handicrafts and middle-class occupations.

6. An agricultural school for the education of the poor as farm laborers, and as teachers for the rural schools.

[Illustration: PLATE 12: FELLENBERG’S INSTITUTE AT HOFWYL. The first Agricultural and Mechanical College. This school contained the germ-idea of all our agricultural education.]

By 1810 the Institution had begun to attract attention, and soon pupils and visitors came from distant lands to study in and to examine the schools. The agricultural school in particular aroused interest. More than one hundred Reports (R. 272) were published, in Europe and America, on this very successful experiment in a combined intellectual and manual- labor type of education. Fellenberg died in 1844, and his family discontinued the school in 1848.

Fellenberg’s work was a continuation of the social-regeneration conception of education held by Pestalozzi, and contained the germ-idea of all our agricultural and industrial education. His plan was widely copied in Switzerland, Germany, England, and the United States. It was well suited to the United States because of the very democratic conditions then prevailing among an agricultural people possessed of but little wealth. The plan of combining farming and schooling made for a time a strong appeal to Americans, and such schools were founded in many parts of the country. The idea at first was to unite training in agriculture with schooling, but it was soon extended to the rapidly rising mechanical pursuits as well. The plan, however, was rather short-lived in the United States, due to the rise of manufacturing and the opening of rich and cheap farms to the westward, and lasted with us scarcely two decades. A generation later it reappeared in the Central West in the form of a new demand for colleges to teach agricultural and mechanical arts, but with the manual-labor idea omitted. This we shall refer to again, later on (chapter xxix).

[Illustration: FIG. 167. FELLENBERG (1771-1844)]


SIGNIFICANCE OF THIS WORK. Though some form of parish school for the elements of religious instruction had existed in many places during the later Middle Ages, and foundations providing for some type of elementary instruction had appeared here and there in almost all lands, the elementary vernacular school, as we have previously pointed out, was nevertheless clearly the outcome of the Protestant movement in the sixteenth century, and in its origin was essentially a child of the Church. A child of the Church, too, for more than two centuries the elementary vernacular school remained. During these two centuries the elementary school made slow but rather unsatisfactory progress, due largely to there being no other motive for its maintenance or expansion than the original religious purpose. Only in the New England Colonies in North America, in some of the provinces of the Netherlands, and in a few of the German States had any real progress been made in evolving any different type of school out of this early religious creation, and even in these places the change was in form of control rather than in subject- matter or purpose. The school remained religious in purpose, even though its control was beginning to pass from the Church to the State.

Now, within half a century, beginning with the work of Rousseau (1762), and by means of the labors of the political philosophers of France, the Revolutionary leaders in the American Colonies, the legislative Assemblies and Conventions in France, and the experimental work of Basedow and his followers in German lands and of Pestalozzi and his disciples in Switzerland, the whole purpose and nature of the elementary vernacular school was changed. The American and French political revolutions and the more peaceful changes in England had ushered in new conceptions as to the nature and purpose and duties of government. As a consequence of these new ideas, education had come to be regarded in a new light, and to assume a new importance in the eyes of statesmen. In place of schools to serve religious and sectarian ends, and maintained as an adjunct of the parishes or of a State Church, the elementary vernacular school now came to be conceived of as an instrument of the State, the chief purpose of which was to serve state ends. Some time would, of course, be required to develop the state support necessary to effect the complete transformation in control, and the forces of reaction would naturally delay the process as much as possible, but the theory of state purpose had at last been so effectively proclaimed, and the forces of a modern world were pushing the idea so steadily forward, that it was only a question of time until the change would be effected.

A NEW IMPETUS FOR CHANGE IN CONTROL. Basedow and Pestalozzi, too, had given the movement for a transfer of control a new impetus by working out new methods in instruction and in organizing new subject-matter for the school, and methods and subject-matter which harmonized with the spirit and principles of the new democracy that had been proclaimed. Pestalozzi in particular had sought, guided by a clearer insight into the educational problem than Basedow possessed (R. 271), to create a school in which children might, under the wise guidance of the teacher, develop and strengthen their own “faculties” and thus evolve into reasoning, self- directing human beings, fitted for usefulness and service in a modern world. To make intelligent and reasoning individuals of all citizens, to develop moral and civic character, to train for life in organized society, and to serve as an instrument by means of which an ignorant, drunken, immoral, and shiftless working-class and peasantry might be elevated into men and women of character, intelligence, and directive power, was in Pestalozzi’s conception the underlying meaning of the school. After Pestalozzi, the earlier conception as to the religious purpose of the elementary vernacular schools, by means of which children were to be trained almost exclusively “in the principles of our holy religion” and to become “loyal church members,” and to “fit them for that station in life in which it hath pleased their Heavenly Father to place them,” was doomed. In its stead there was certain to arise a newer conception of the school as an instrument of that form of organized society known as the State, and maintained by the State to train its future citizens for intelligent participation in the duties and obligations of citizenship, and for social, moral, and economic efficiency.

THE WAY NOW BECOMING CLEAR. After two hundred and fifty years of confusion and political failure, the way was now at last becoming clear for the creation of national instead of church systems of elementary education, and for the firm establishment of the elementary vernacular school as an important obligation to its future citizens of every progressive modern State and the common birthright of all. This became distinctively the work of the nineteenth century. It also became the work of the nineteenth century to gather up the old secondary-school and university foundations, accumulated through the ages, and remould them to meet modern needs, fuse them into the national school systems created, and connect them in some manner with the people’s schools. To see how this was done we next turn to the beginnings of the organization of national school systems in the German States, France, Italy, England, and the United States. These may be taken as types. As Prussia was the first modern State to grasp the significance of national education, and to organize state schools, we shall begin our study by first tracing the steps by which this transformation was effected there.


1. Compare the statement of the valuable elements in the theories of Rousseau (p. 530) with the main ideas of Basedow (p. 535); Ratke (p. 607); Comenius (p. 409).

2. Do we accept all the fourteen points of Rousseau’s theory to-day?

3. Might a Rousseau have done work of similar importance in Russia, early in the twentieth century? Why?

4. Explain the educational significance of “self-activity,” “sense impressions,” and “harmonious development.”

5. What were the strong points in the experimental work of Basedow?

6. Explain the great enthusiasm which his rather visionary statements and plans awakened.

7. Show the importance of such work as that of Basedow in preparing the way for better-organized reform work.

8. How far was Pestalozzi right as to the power of education to give men intellectual and moral freedom?

9. What do you understand Pestalozzi to have meant by “the development of the faculties”?

10. State the importance of the work of Pestalozzi from the point of view of showing the world how to deal with orphans and defectives.

11. Show how the germs of agricultural and technical education lay in the work of Fellenberg.

12. Explain the greater popularity of the _Emile_ in German lands.

13. State the change in subject-matter and aims from the vernacular church school to the school as thought out by Pestalozzi.

14. Show that it was a fortunate conjunction that brought the work of Pestalozzi alongside of that of the political reformers of France.

15. What differences might there have been had Comenius lived and done his work in the time of Pestalozzi?


In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following selections, illustrative of the contents of this chapter, are reproduced:

264. Rousseau: Illustrative Selections from the _Emile_. 265. Basedow: Instruction in the _Philanthropinum_. 266. Basedow: A Page from the _Elementarwerk_. 267. Pestalozzi: Explanation of his Work. 268. Griscom: A Visit to Pestalozzi at Yverdon. 269. Woodbridge: An Estimate of Pestalozzi’s Work. 270. Dr. Mayo: On Pestalozzi.
271. Woodbridge: Work of Pestalozzi and Basedow compared. 272. Griscom: Hofwyl as seen by an American.


1. Show the fallacy of Rousseau’s reasoning (264 d) as to society being a denominator which prevents man from realizing himself.

2. What are the elements of truth and falsity in Rousseau’s idling-to-the- twelfth-year (264 d) idea?

3. Would such a training up to twelve (264 e) be possible, or desirable?

4. What type of education is presupposed in 264 f?

5. Show the similarity in the conceptions of the _Orbis Pictus_ (221) and the _Elementarwerk_ (266).

6. What types of schools and conceptions of education were combined in the Philanthropinum (265)?

7. Just what did Pestalozzi attempt (267) to accomplish?

8. Compare the accounts as to purpose and instruction given by Pestalozzi (267) and Griscom (268).

9. What do the tributes of Woodbridge (269) and Mayo (270) reveal as to the character of Pestalozzi and his influence?

10. Analyze the courses of instruction (272) at Hofwyl.

11. State the points of similarity and difference between the work of Basedow and Pestalozzi (271), and the points of superiority in the work of Pestalozzi.