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The English colonists in America undertook something which no nation had ever attempted before—the educating of the whole people.
The colonists had a sense of “manifest destiny” which led them to believe that they must prepare themselves for a most unique and important role in the unfolding of modern world history. Universal education was therefore considered an indispensable ingredient in this preparation.
John Adams Describes Beginning of Public Education
The movement for universal education began in New England. Clear back in 1647 the legislature of Massachusetts passed a law requiring every community of 50 families or householders to set up a free public grammar school to teach the fundamentals of reading, writing, ciphering, history, geography, and Bible study.
In addition, every township containing 100 families or more was required to set up a secondary school in advanced studies to prepare boys for attendance at Harvard. John Adams stated that this whole program was designed to have “knowledge diffused generally through the whole body of the people.” He said: “They made an early provision by law that every town consisting of so many families should be always furnished with a grammar school.
They made it a crime for such a town to be destitute of a grammar schoolmaster for a few months, and subjected it to heavy penalty. So that the education of all ranks of people was made the care and expense of the public, in a manner that I believe has been unknown to any other people, ancient or modern. “The consequences of these establishments we see and feel every day [written in 1765]. A native of America who cannot read and write is as rare … as a comet or an earthquake. It has been observed that we are all of us lawyers, divines, politicians, and philosophers. And I have good authorities to say that all candid foreigners who have passed through this country and conversed freely with all sorts of people here will allow that they have never seen so much knowledge and civility among the common people in any part of the world…. Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people…. They have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge—I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.
An excerpt from: The Five Thousand Year Leap Written by: W.Cleon Skousen.
His travels have taken him to most of the United States, as well as Australia, Belize, Egypt and the Canary Islands.
He has studied the Mayan culture of Central America as well as the aborigines of Australia. Photography has given him the opportunity to observe life in various parts of the world.
He has published several books about his adventures.
For more information, please consult his website,www.journeysthrulife.com.
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