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trials of strength, and many aim simply at display of
strength. Nevertheless, the play of this period always bears
a peculiar character, corresponding with its inner life. For,
while during the previous period of childhood the aim of play
consisted simply in activity as such, its aim lies now in a
definite, conscious purpose; it seeks representation as such,
or the thing to be represented in the activity. This char-
acter is developed more and more in the free boyish games as
the boys advance in age.

It is the sense of rare and reliable power, the sense of its
increase, both as an individual and as a member of the group,
that fills the boy with all-pervading, jubilant joy during these
games. It is by no means, however, only the physical power
that is fed and strengthened in these games f intellectual and
moral power, too, is definitely and steadily gained and
brought under control. Indeed, a comparison of the relative
gains of the mental and of the physical phases would scarce-
ly yield the palm to the body. Justice, moderation, self-con-


trol, truthfulness, loyalty, brotherly love, and, again, strict
impartiality who, when he approaches a group of boys
engaged in such games, could fail to catch the fragrance of
these delicious blossomings of the heart and mind, and of a
firm will; not to mention the beautiful, though perhaps less
fragrant blossoms of courage, perseverance, resolution, pru-
dence, together with the severe elimination of indolent indul-
gence ? Whoever would inhale a fresh, quickening breath of
life should visit the play-grounds of such boys.

20. The existence of the present teaches man the exist-
ence of the past. This, too, which was before he was, he
would know. Then there is developed in the boy at this age
the desire and craving for tales, for legends, for all kinds of
stories, and later on for historical accounts. This craving,
especially in its first appearance, is very intense ; so much so,
that, when others fail to gratify it, the boys seek to gratify it
themselves, particularly on days of leisure, and in times when
the regular employments of the day are ended.

21. Man is by no means naturally bad, nor has he origi-
nally bad or evil qualities and tendencies ; unless, indeed, we
consider as naturally evil, bad, and faulty the finite, the
material, the transitory, the physical as such, and the logical
consequences of the existing of these phenomena, namely,
that man must have the possibility of failure in order to be
good and virtuous, that he must be able to make himself a
slave in order to be truly free. Yet these things are the
necessary concomitants of the manifestation of the eternal
in the temporal, of unity in diversity, and follow necessarily
from man's destiny to become a conscious, reasonable, and
free being.

A suppressed or perverted good quality a good tend-
ency, only repressed, misunderstood, or misguided lies
originally at the bottom of every shortcoming in man. Hence
the only and infallible remedy for counteracting any short-


coming and even wickedness is to find the originally good
source, the originally good side of the human being that has
been repressed, disturbed, or misled into the shortcoming,
and then to foster, build up, and properly guide this good
side. Thus the shortcoming will at last disappear, although
it may involve a hard struggle against habit, but not against
original depravity in man ; and this is accomplished so much
the more rapidly and surely because man himself tends to
abandon his shortcomings, for man prefers right to wrong.


The state of Massachusetts has been the pioneer in Ameri-
can education. It was the first of the colonies to establish
public schools and to found a college. From 1642, when the
selectmen of every town were enjoined to see that the young
were instructed in " the English tongue and a knowledge of
the capital laws," Massachusetts has shown an interest in
education by the passage of many laws designed to give
greater efficiency to the public schools. But it was due prin-
cipally to the efforts of one person that between 1837 and
1848 the public school system was unified and brought to a
higher degree of efficiency than had prevailed before. This
person was Horace Mann, one of the most distinguished of
American educators. To natural endowments of a high
order he added an invincible zeal in behalf of popular educa-
tion, and a sublime faith in its possibilities as a means of
uplifting and regenerating society.

Horace Mann was born in Franklin, Massachusetts, May
4, 1796. With admirable energy he overcame in early man-
hood the deficiencies in his childhood education which pov-
erty and constant toil had rendered inevitable. Having
learned the elements of Latin and Greek from an itinerant
school-master, he entered the sophomore class of Brown Uni-
versity in 1816, from which he graduated three years later
with the highest honors of his class. He studied law,
was admitted to the bar in 1823, and four years later was
elected to the legislature. In the legislature, to which he



was re-elected for a number of terms, he displayed the same
integrity, energy, and eloquence, which had previously prom-
ised a bright career at the bar. His moral sense was largely
developed, and he showed an especial interest in temperance,
charity and education.

In 1835 he entered upon the work with which his name
is chiefly associated and in which he rendered the greatest
service to his native state and to the American union. In
that year the legislature appointed a Board of Education to
revise and reorganize the common school system of the
state. Owing to various forms of opposition, it was a work
of great magnitude and peculiar difficulty. The Board,
which was composed of able and distinguished men, called
Horace Mann to be its secretary a position that made him
practically the state superintendent of education. Recogniz-
ing at once the responsibilities and opportunities of the of-
fice, he gave up his legal and political career, and devoted
himself with great singleness of purpose to the duties of his
new position. He visited all parts of the state, and delivered
able and enthusiastic addresses ; he established The Common
School Journal for the discussion of educational questions ;
but above all other agencies for reaching and molding public
opinion must be placed his " Annual Reports," in which he
treated the various phases of education in a practical and
masterful manner. To a comprehensive grasp of the subject
he joined the charm of an eloquent style and the force of a
deep conviction.

In 1848 he was elected to Congress to fill the vacancy
caused by the death of John Quincy Adams. To this new
field he carried his moral enthusiasm and his interest in edu-
cation. In 1853, giving up a political life, he accepted the
presidency of Antioch College ; and during his brief admin-
istration of six years, he gave the institution a wise, progres-
sive, and liberal policy. His death, which occurred August


2, 1859, cut short a career which would otherwise, no doubt,
have exerted a far-reaching influence in the field of higher

The following extract is taken from his twelfth and last
" Annual Report," which was made in 1848. It may be re-
garded as presenting the matured convictions resulting from
his work as secretary of the Board of Education. He does
not discuss education in the abstract, but in its relations to
the material, intellectual, and moral welfare of society. He
had been charged with a purpose to exclude religion from
education ; and in vindicating himself from this charge, he
lays great stress upon the importance of religious train-
ing. The extracts given, though but a small part of the
Report, present its essential features, and will serve to show
his fundamental views, and the masterful grasp and the
splendid energy with which he asserted and maintained them.



Without undervaluing any other human agency, it may
be safely affirmed that the common school, improved and
energized as it can easily be, may become the most effective
and benignant of all the forces of civilization. Two reasons
sustain this position. In the first place, there is a universal-
ity in its operation, which can be affirmed of no other insti-
tution whatever. If administered in the spirit of justice and
conciliation, all the rising generation may be brought within
the circle of its reformatory and elevating influences. And,
in the second place, the materials upon which it operates are
so pliant and ductile as to be susceptible of assuming a
greater variety of forms than any other earthly work of
the Creator. The inflexibility and ruggedness of the oak,



when compared with the lithe sapling or the tender germ,
are but feeble emblems to typify the docility of childhood
when contrasted with the obduracy and intractableness of
man. It is these inherent advantages of the common school,
which, in our own state, have produced results so striking,
from a system so imperfect, and an administration so feeble.
In teaching the blind and the deaf and dumb, in kindling the
latent spark of intelligence that lurks in an idiot's mind, and
in the more holy work of reforming abandoned and outcast
children, education has proved what it can do by glorious ex-
periments. These wonders it has done in its infancy, and
with the lights of a limited experience; but when its facul-
ties shall be fully developed, when it shall be trained to
wield its mighty energies for the protection of society
against the giant vices which now invade and torment it,
against intemperance, avarice, war, slavery, bigotry, the
woes of want, and the wickedness of waste, then there will
not be a height to which these enemies of the race can escape
which it will not scale, nor a Titan among them all whom it
will not slay.

I proceed, then, in endeavoring to show how the true busi-
ness of the schoolroom connects itself, and becomes identical,
with the great interests of society. The former is the in-
fant, immature state of those interests ; the latter their de-
veloped, adult state. As " the child is father to the man,"
so may the training of the schoolroom expand into the insti-
tutions and fortunes of the state. .

Physical Education.

My general conclusion, then, under this head is that it is
the duty of all the governing minds in society whether in
office or out of it to diffuse a knowledge of these beautiful
and beneficent laws of health and life throughout the length


and breadth of the state ; to popularize them ; to make them,
in the first place, the common acquisition of all, and through
education and custom the common inheritance of all, so that
the healthful habits naturally growing out of their observ-
ance shall be inbred in the people, exemplified in the personal
regime of each individual, incorporated into the economy of
every household, observable in all private dwellings, and in
all public edifices, especially in those buildings which are
erected by capitalists for the residence of their work-people,
or for renting to the poorer classes ; obeyed by supplying
cities with pure water; by providing public baths, public
walks, and public squares ; by rural cemeteries ; by the drain-
age and sewerage of populous towns, and by whatever else
may promote the general salubrity of the atmosphere : in fine,
by a religious observance of all those sanitary regulations
with which modern science has blessed the world.

For this thorough diffusion of sanitary intelligence, the
common school is the only agency. It is, however, an ade-
quate agency. Let human physiology be introduced as an in-
dispensable branch of study into our public schools; let no
teacher be approved who is not master of its leading prin-
ciples, and of their applications to the varying circumstances
of life ; let all the older classes in the schools be regularly and
rigidly examined upon this study by the school-committees,
and a speedy change would come over our personal habits,
over our domestic usages, and over the public arrangements
of society. Temperance and moderation would not be such
strangers at the table. Fashion, like European sovereigns,
if not compelled to abdicate and fly, would be forced to com-
promise for the continual possession of her throne by the sur-
render to her subjects of many of their natural rights. A
sixth order of architecture would be invented, the hygienic,
which, without subtracting at all from the beauty of any
other order, would add a new element of utility to them


all. The " health regulations " of cities would be issued in
a revised code, a code that would bear the scrutiny of
science. And, as the result and reward of all, a race of men
and women, loftier in stature, firmer in structure, fairer in
form, and better able to perform the duties and bear the
burdens of life, would revisit the earth. The minikin speci-
mens of the race, who now go on dwindling and tapering
from parent to child, would reascend to manhood and wom-
anhood. Just in proportion as the laws of health and life
were discovered and obeyed, would pain, disease, insanity,
and untimely death, cease from among men. Consumption
would remain; but it would be consumption in the active

Intellectual Education.

Another cardinal object which the government of Massa-
chusetts, and all the influential men in the state, should pro-
pose to themselves, is the physical well-being of all the
people, the sufficiency, comfort, competence, of every indi-
vidual in regard to food, raiment, and shelter. And these
necessaries and conveniences of life should be obtained by
each individual for himself, or by each family for themselves,
rather than accepted from the hand of charity or extorted by
poor laws. It is not averred that this most desirable result
can, in all instances, be obtained ; but it is, nevertheless, the
end to be aimed at.

True statesmanship and true political economy, not less
than true philanthropy, present this perfect theory as the
goal, to be more and more closely approximated by our im-
perfect practice. The desire to achieve such a result can-
not be regarded as an unreasonable ambition ; for, though
all mankind were well fed, well clothed, and well housed,
they might still be but half civilized.


Our ambition as a state should trace itself to a different
origin, and propose to itself a different object. Its flame should
be lighted at the skies. Its radiance and its warmth
should reach the darkest and the coldest abodes of men. It
should seek the solution of such problems as these : To what
extent can competence displace pauperism? How nearly
can we free ourselves from the low-minded and the vicious,
not by their expatriation, but by their elevation? To what
extent can the resources and powers of nature be converted
into human welfare, the peaceful arts of life be advanced,
and the vast treasures of human talent and genius be devel-
oped? How much of suffering, in all its forms, can be
relieved? or, what is better than relief, how much can be
prevented? Cannot the classes of crimes be lessened and
the number of criminals in each class be diminished? Our
exemplars, both for public and for private imitation, should
be the parables of the lost sheep and of the lost piece of

When we have spread competence through all the abodes
of poverty, when we have substituted knowledge for igno-
rance in the minds of the whole people, when we have re-
formed the vicious and reclaimed the criminal, then may
we invite all neighboring nations to behold the spectacle, and
say to them, in the conscious elation of virtue, " Rejoice with
me," for I have found that which was lost. Until that day
shall arrive, our duties will not be wholly fulfilled, and our
ambition will have new honors to win. . . .

Surely nothing but universal education can counterwork
this tendency to the domination of capital and the servility of
labor. If one class possesses all the wealth and education,
while the residue of society is ignorant and poor, it matters
not by what name the relation between them may be called ;
the latter, in fact and in truth, will be the servile dependants
and subjects of the former. But, if education be equably dif-


fused, it will draw property after it by the strongest of all
attractions; for such a thing never did happen, and never
can happen, as that an intelligent and practical body of men
should be permanently poor. Property and labor in different
classes are essentially antagonistic; but property and labor
in the same class are essentially fraternal. The people of
Massachusetts have, in some degree, appreciated the truth,
that the unexampled prosperity of the state its comfort, its
competence, its general intelligence and virtue is attribu-
table to the education, more or less perfect, which all its peo-
ple have received ; but are they sensible of a fact equally im-
portant, namely, that it is to this same education that
two-thirds of the people are indebted for not being to-day the
vassals of as severe a tyranny, in the form of capital, as the
lower classes of Europe are bound to in the form of brute
force ?

Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin,
is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-
wheel of the social machinery. I do not here mean that it
so elevates the moral nature as to make men disdain and ab-
hor the oppression of their fellow-men. This idea pertains
to another of its attributes. But I mean that it gives each
man the independence and the means by which he can re-
sist the selfishness of other men. It does better than to dis-
arm the poor of their hostility towards the rich : it prevents
being poor. Agrarianism is the revenge of poverty against
wealth. The wanton destruction of the property of others
the burning of hay-ricks and corn-ricks, the demolition of
machinery because it supersedes hand-labor, the sprinkling
of vitriol on rich dresses is only agrarianism run mad.
Education prevents both the revenge and the madness. On
the other hand, a fellow-feeling for one's class or caste is
the common instinct of hearts not wholly sunk in selfish
regards for person or family. The spread of education, by


enlarging the cultivated class or caste, will open a wider
area over which the social feelings will expand; and, if this
education should be universal and complete, it would do more
than all things else to obliterate factitious distinctions in

I hold all past achievements of the human mind to be
rather in the nature of prophecy than of fulfilment, the
first-fruits of the beneficence of God in endowing us with the
faculties of perception, comparison, calculation, and causal-
ity, rather than the full harvest of their eventual develop-
ment. For look at the magnificent creation into which we
have been brought, and at the adaptation of our faculties to
understand, admire, and use it. All around us are works
worthy of an infinite God; and we are led, by irresistible
evidence, to believe that, just so far as we acquire this
knowledge, we shall be endued with his power. From his-
tory and from consciousness, we find ourselves capable of
ever-onward improvement : and therefore it seems to be a de-
nial of first principles it seems no better than impiety
to suppose that we shall ever become such finished scholars,
that the works of the All-wise will have no new problem for
our solution, and will, therefore, be able to teach us no

Nor is it any less than impiety to suppose that we shall
ever so completely enlist the powers of Nature in our serv-
ice, that exhausted Omnipotence can reward our indus-
try with no further bounties. This would be to suppose that
we shall arrive at a period when our active and progressive
natures will become passive and stationary; when we shall
have nothing to do but to sit in indolent and inglorious con-
templation of past achievements ; and when, all aspirations
having been lost in fruition, we shall have outlived the joys
of hope and the rewards of effort, and no new glories will
beckon us onward to new felicities.


Moral Education.

Moral education is a primal necessity of social osstence.
The unrestrained passions of men are not only homicidal, but
suicidal ; and a community without a conscience would soon
extinguish itself. Even with a natural conscience, how often
has evil triumphed over good ! From the beginning of time,
wrong has followed right, as the shadow, the substance. As
the relations of men become more complex, and the business
of the world more extended, new opportunities and new
temptations for wrong-doing have been created. With the
endearing relations of parent and child came also the pos-
sibility of infanticide and parricide; and the first domestic
altar that brothers ever reared was stained with fratricidal
blood. Following close upon the obligations to truth came
falsehood and perjury, and closer still upon the duty of
obedience to the divine law came disobedience. With the
existence of private relations between men came fraud ; and
with the existence of public relations between nations came
aggression, war, and slavery. And so, just in proportion as
the relations of life became more numerous, and the inter-
ests of society more various and manifold, the range of pos-
sible and of actual offenses has been continually enlarging.
As for every new substance there may be a new shadow,
so for every new law there may be a new transgres-
sion. . . .

The race has existed long enough to try many experi-
ments for the solution of this greatest problem ever sub-
mitted to its hands ; and the race has experimented, without
stint of time or circumscription of space to mar or modify
legitimate results. Mankind have tried despotisms, mon-
archies, and republican forms of government. They have
tried the extremes of anarchy and of autocracy. They have
tried Draconian codes of law, and for the lightest offenses


have extinguished the life of the offender. They have estab-
lished theological standards, claiming for them the sanction
of divine authority, and the attributes of a perfect and infal-
lible law ; and then they have imprisoned, burnt, massacred,
not individuals only, but whole communities at a time, for
not bowing down to idols which ecclesiastical authority had
set up. These and other great systems of measures have
been adopted as barriers against error and guilt: they have
been extended over empires, prolonged through centuries,
and administered with terrible energy; and yet the great
ocean of vice and crime overleaps every embankment, pours
down upon our heads, saps the foundations under our feet,
and sweeps away the securities of social order, of property,
liberty, and life. . . .

But to all doubters, disbelievers, or despairers in human
progress, it may still be said, there is one experiment which
has never yet been tried. It is an experiment which, even
before its inception, offers the highest authority for its ulti-
mate success. Its formula is intelligible to all; and it is as
legible as though written in starry letters on an azure sky.
It is expressed in these few and simple words : " Train up
a child in the way he should go ; and when he is old, he will
not depart from it." This declaration is positive. If the
conditions are complied with, it makes no provision for a
failure. Though pertaining to morals, yet, if the terms of
the direction are observed, there is no more reason to doubt
the result than there would be in an optical or a chemical

But this experiment has never yet been tried. Education
has never yet been brought to bear with one-hundredth part
of its potential force upon the natures of children, and
through them upon the character of men and of the race.
In all the attempts to reform mankind which have hitherto
been made, whether by changing the frame of government,


by aggravating or softening the severity of the penal code,
or by substituting a government created for a God-created
religion in all these attempts, the infantile and youthful
mind, its amenability to influences, and the enduring and

Online LibraryF. V. N. (Franklin Verzelius Newton) PainterGreat pedagogical essays; Plato to Spencer → online text (page 29 of 33)