Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

General Education

The liberty principle for this Freedom Friday is that a system of general education is necessary in a republic in order to survive as a free society. The American colonists understood the necessity of having an educated people. In fact, America was the first place on earth that attempted to educate everyone. As early as 1647 Massachusetts legislated that a free grammar public school was to be set up in every community withy fifty or more families. The schools were to teach the fundamentals of reading, writing, history, geography, and Bible study. Communities with one hundred families were required to have secondary schools to prepare young men to attend Harvard. The people as a whole were responsible for the education of all levels of society. John Adams said, "A native of America who cannot read and write is rare,… as a comet or an earthquake…." The American colonists wanted all children to be taught basic skills in reading, writing and arithmetic in order that they would become life-long learners and well-informed citizens. This is one of the reasons why all of the Founding Fathers were well-read even though some had limited formal education. They learned the basics well and then continued learning through self-study. The American people as a whole were the "most enlightened in the world" according to Alexis de Tocqueville of France who visited the United States in 1831. Americans understood that they had a wonderful and new experiment in liberty, and they wanted their children to receive instructions in political science. A popular textbook called "Catechism on the Constitution" was used to teach the children about the political system in America. The book was written by Arthur J. Stansbury and published in 1828. Tocqueville wrote, "… But if you question [an American] respecting his own country …; his language will become as clear and precise as his thoughts. He will inform you what his rights are and by what means he exercises them; he will be able to point out the customs which obtain in the political world. You will find that he is well acquainted with the rules of the administration, and that he is familiar with the mechanism of the laws…. The American learns to know the laws by participating in the act of legislation; and he takes a lesson in the forms of government from governing. The great work of society is ever going on before his eyes and as it were, under his hands. "In the United States, politics are the end and aim of education…." (Ibid, 1:329-330). Many of the great leaders of our nation, such as Abraham Lincoln, developed their eloquence in speaking by extensive reading of the Bible because the American colonists insisted that the Holy Bible be taught in their schools. Today's students are not even permitted to read the Bible in many public schools. They are being deprived of the opportunity to learn the linguistic habits of the people, their moral standards, and their behavior patterns. Taking the Bible and God out of the classroom is just one of the ways that education in America is being dumbed down. In order for the United States to survive as a republic, its citizens must receive a broad program of general education. An educated citizenry is necessary in order to keep our inalienable rights from being eroded. Ideas and quotes for this post came from The Five Thousand Year Leap by W. Cleon Skousen

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