BECK index

American Education 1869-97

by Sanderson Beck

American Learning & Universities
The Education of Henry Adams

Francis Parker on Education for Freedom
Booker T. Washington & Tuskegee Institute

American Learning & Universities

      Charles W. Eliot published “The New Education: Its Organization” in the February and March 1869 issues of the Atlantic Monthly. He concluded,

Americans must not sit down
contented with their position among the industrial nations.
We have inherited civil liberty, social mobility,
and immense native resources.
The advantages we thus hold
over the European nations are inestimable.
The question is not how much our freedom
can do for us unaided but how much
we can help freedom by judicious education.
We appreciate better than we did ten years ago
that true progress in this country
means progress for the world.
In organizing the new education,
we do not labor for ourselves alone.
Freedom will be glorified in her works.1

In his inaugural address Eliot said,

A university is not closely concerned with
the applications of knowledge
until its general education branches into professional.
Poetry and philosophy and science do indeed conspire
to promote the material welfare of mankind;
but science, no more than poetry,
finds its best warrant in its utility.
Truth and right are above utility
in all realms of thought and action….
The important place which history,
and mental, moral, and political philosophy should hold
in any broad scheme of education is recognized by all;…
Mr. Emerson says that history is biography.
In a deep sense this is true.
Certainly, the best way to impart the facts of history
to the young is through the quick interest they take
in the lives of the men and women
who fill great historical scenes or epitomize epochs.2

      Charles W. Eliot was president of Harvard from October 1869 to 1909. In the December 1892 issue of the Forum in his article “Wherein Popular Education Has Failed” he wrote,

The educated critics of the practical results
of public education further complain that
lawless violence continues to break out
just as it did before common schools were thought of,
that lynch law is familiar in the United States,
riots common from Berlin to Seattle,
and assassination an avowed means
of social and industrial regeneration.
Even religious persecution, these critics say, is rife.
The Jews are ostracized in educated Germany
and metropolitan New York, and in Russia
are robbed and driven into exile by thousands….
They admit that the progress of science has made mankind
safer from famine and pestilence than it used to be,
but they point out that wars are more destructive than ever,
this century being the bloodiest of all the centuries.3

      The University of Michigan had been founded in 1817, in 1870 they began accepting female students. Universities started that year included St. John’s in Brooklyn, Syracuse, Ohio State at Columbus, Cincinnati, Loyola in Chicago, and Texas Christian at Fort Worth.
      On 25 February 1870 the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead published “The Unplanned Growth of Cities” emphasizing the value of city parks. He had designed Central Park for New York City in 1858. In 1879 he finished his Boston park system, and Detroit bought Belle Isle in the Detroit River for $200,000 to make a park with 985 acres.
      In 1870 Ralph Waldo Emerson published Society and Solitude which included essays on Civilization, Art, Eloquence, Domestic Life, Farming, Works and Days, Books, Clubs, Courage, Success, and Old Age. In “Civilization” he wrote,

   Right position of woman in the State is another index.
Poverty and industry with a healthy mind
read very easily the laws or humanity, and love them:
place the sexes in right relations of mutual respect,
and a severe morality gives that essential charm to woman which educates all that is delicate,
poetic and self-sacrificing; breeds courtesy and learning,
conversation and wit, in her rough mate;
so that I have thought a sufficient measure of civilization
is the influence of good women….
Civilization is the result of highly complex organization….
   The evolution of a highly destined society must be moral;
it must run in the grooves of the celestial wheels….
   Civilization depends on morality.
Everything good in man leans on what is higher….
   Now that is the wisdom of a man,
in every instance of his labor, to hitch his wagon to a star,
and see his chore done by the gods themselves.
That is the way we are strong,
by borrowing the might of the elements.
The forces of steam, gravity, galvanism, light, magnets,
wind, fire, serve us day by day and cost us nothing….
   Morality and all the incidents of morality are essential;
as, justice to the citizen, and personal liberty.
Montesquieu says: “Countries are well cultivated,
not as they are fertile, but as they are free;”
and the remark holds not less but more true
of the culture of men than of the tillage of land.
And the highest proof of civility is that
the whole public action of the State is directed
on securing the greatest good of the greatest number.4

      Also in 1870 Frederick Douglass became the editor of the New National Era on September 8, and on December 12 he bought it and its printing plant for $8,000.
      Art museums were founded in Boston, New York, and Washington DC. New England began producing paper from pulpwood. Harvard and Yale organized advanced studies for graduate students.
      New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley urged young men to go west, and he sponsored the Union Colony in the Colorado Territory that was later renamed Greeley.
      The anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan was a railroad lawyer. In 1851 he wrote about the league of the Iroquois. In 1871 the Smithsonian Institution published his Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family studying kinship based on languages which Karl Marx read. Morgan’s Ancient Society Or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization was published in 1877 and was more influential. He studied human progress by inventions, discoveries, and domestic institutions. He described how cultures developed with improved tools and many inventions, and he suggested that advancing from savagery and barbarism to civilization could help solve the Indian problems.
      Also in 1871 the American Museum of Natural History opened in New York City next to Central Park. Alfred Tredway White financed low-rent housing in Brooklyn with cottages for workers. Joseph Pulitzer purchased the St. Louis Dispatch in December 1878 and turned it into the St. Louis Post-Dispatch building a newspaper empire.
      On 17 June 1872 in Boston band-leader Patrick Gilmore organized the World’s Peace Jubilee and International Festival with an orchestra of 2,000 musicians led by Johann Strauss who conducted his Blue Danube Waltz.
      Alexander Winchell taught geology and zoology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Although his writing referred to the “inferiority of the Negro,” the reason he was fired in 1878 was because his scientific teaching contradicted Biblical chronology.
      John Wesley Powell became famous for exploring the Grand Canyon in 1869, and in 1878 he published his Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States suggesting that water be diverted for irrigating crops and for livestock. He urged large dams and canals financed by the federal government, and he emphasized, “The right to use water should inhere in the land to be irrigated, and water rights should go with land titles.”5 In 1889 Powell held intellectual gatherings in his Washington home for the Cosmos Club while he was the director of the Bureau of Ethnology at the Smithsonian Institution. In the May 1890 Century Magazine he published his “Institutions for the Arid Lands” writing,

There is a sentiment in the land
that the farmer must be free,
that the laborer in the field should be the owner of the field.
Hence, by unfriendly legislation and by judicial decision—
which ultimately reflect the sentiment of the people—
these farming corporations and water corporations
of the West have often failed to secure brilliant
financial results, and many have been almost destroyed.
Thus there is a war in the West between capital and labor—
a bitter, relentless war, disastrous to both parties.
The effort has been made to present a plan by which
the agriculture of the arid lands may be held
as a vast field of exploitation for individual farmers
who cultivate the soil with their own hands;
and at the same time and by the same institutions to open
to capital a field for safe investment and remunerative return,
and yet to secure to the toiling farmers
the natural increment of profit which comes from the land
with the progress of industrial civilization….
I believe that the schoolhouse is primal,
the university, secondary; and I believe that
the justice’s court in the hamlet is the only permanent
foundation for the Supreme Court at the capital.6

      In 1879 Radcliffe College and Elizabeth Cary Agassiz began offering classes for women in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
      Victor Della Vos directed the Moscow Imperial Technical School that had been started in 1868, and he analyzed every trade’s component skills and arranged them pedagogically so that supervised students could gain the right skills. This was exhibited at Philadelphia in 1876, and John D. Runkle, who was president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), observed them. Runkle shared these methods at National Education Association (NEA) meetings in 1877. Calvin M. Woodward of Washington University in St. Louis developed this approach and criticized public schools. In June 1879 he initiated the Della Vos techniques at the Manual Training School at Washington University. The school began in 1880, and 176 students graduated in June 1883. Manual training was adopted in 1885 at Philadelphia and Toledo, in 1886 at Cleveland, Cincinnati, and New Orleans, in 1887 at New York, and in 1888 at Cambridge, Massachusetts.
      The German-American teacher Maximilian D. Berlitz started a language school at Boston in 1880, and he discovered that instructors who knew no English could teach well their languages. That year George Washington Manypenny in Cincinnati published Our Indian Wards describing the wrongs done against Indians and suggesting reforms. William Wells Brown published My Southern Home: or, The South and Its People about his life in the South as a black man after the Civil War.
      In 1880 Martin Delany published Principia of Ethnology: The Origin of Races and Color, with an Archeological Compendium and Egyptian Civilization, from Years of Careful Examination and Enquiry. The third autobiography, The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass brought his life up to date in 1881.
      On 4 March 1881 the California legislature mandated plant and produce quarantines for imports from foreign trade.
      On April 11 Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard founded the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary starting with 11 black women. John D. Rockefeller began supporting the school in 1882. By 1884 they had 16 teachers and 600 students, and the name was changed to the Spelman Seminary.
      George M. Beard in May 1881 published American Nervousness, Its Causes and Consequences. He had been developing his theories of neurasthenia since 1869. He described how American nervousness has resulted from its modern civilization because of specialization, clocks and watches, the telegraph, noises, railroads, new ideas and inventions, and the amount of business which caused repressed emotions, domestic and financial troubles, conflicts in politics and religion, habits of worrying, and anxieties caused by wealth and poverty. He advised that these inequalities could be “corrected by scientific philanthropy.”
      On June 30 the abolitionist and reformer Wendell Phillips gave the Centennial Oration at Harvard University on “The Scholar in a Republic.” He stated that scholars have a duty to educate others in a republic which depends on the “intelligence and the moral sense of the people.” From his experience he discovered that in modern constitutional governments the only peaceful method of progress is by agitation.
      Also in 1881 Marquette University in Milwaukee and the University of Connecticut began. That year Joseph Wharton donated $100,000 to the University of Pennsylvania to found the School of Finance and Economy.
      In 1882 Theodore Roosevelt published The Naval War of 1812. George Washington Williams published his 2-volume History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880.
      Also in 1882 a US Congressional committee found that adulterated foods were defrauding consumers and damaging health and morals, but no significant legislation would be passed until 1906. The Iowa state Senator Preston Sutton presented a bill to replace an 1873 law that made no provision for liberal studies at the agricultural college at Ames. In the March 1882 issue of The Aurora he wrote,

Nothing so inspires the American heart to high ambition
as the study of American history,
and yet we have a college
pretending to be a liberal education
with her doors locked against history.7

      The Baptist minister Russell Conwell, who became famous for his inspirational “Acres of Diamonds” lecture that urged people to become rich, founded in 1884 Temple University in Philadelphia and continued to support it from his lectures.
      In September 1885 the socialist economist Richard T. Ely founded the American Economic Association (AEA) at Saratoga, New York with Edwin Robert Anderson Seligman and Katharine Coman. Ely in December gave a lecture to the Boston Conference of the Evangelical Alliance on “The Needs of the City” in which he suggested that government may aid cities by supporting public education, playgrounds, public gardens, food inspection, medical care, relief for the poor, improved sanitation, liquor regulation, municipal savings banks, and public utilities such as electric lights, gasworks, streetcars, docks, etc. Ely published the AEA report in 1886, the year he wrote The Labor Movement. Their platform included the following:

   1. We regard the state
as an educational and ethical agency whose positive aid
is an indispensable condition of human progress.
While we recognize the necessity
of individual initiative in industrial life,
we hold that the doctrine of laissez faire
is unsafe in politics and unsound in morals;
and that it suggests an inadequate explanation
of the relations between the state and the citizens….
   3. We hold that the conflict of labor and capital
has brought to the front a vast number of social problems
whose solution is impossible
without the united efforts of church, state, and science.8

      In 1886 John Hopkins University in Baltimore started the first university press and began publishing the American Journal of Mathematics.
      Stanton Coit had visited Toynbee Hall in London, and in 1886 he started the first American settlement house in New York on Forsythe Street. He organized neighborhood clubs for the social improvement of the poor.
      In 1887 Clark University began in Worcester, Massachusetts, the University of Wyoming at Laramie, and the Catholic University of America in Washington DC.
      In 1888 the British aristocrat James Bryce published The American Commonwealth, and Theodore Roosevelt wrote him a letter thanking him for “the depth of your insight into our peculiar conditions, and the absolute fairness of your criticisms.”9 Bryce wrote,

There is no class in America to which public political life
comes naturally as it still does to a certain class in England—
no families with a sort of hereditary right to serve the state.
Nobody can get an early and easy start
on the strength of his name and connections
as still happens in several European countries….
   It is true that newspapers and public speakers
say hard things of their opponents;
but this is a part of the game….
   That the education of the masses is
nevertheless a superficial education goes without saying.
It is sufficient to enable them to think
they know something about the great problems of politics;
insufficient to show them how little they know.10

      The poet Matthew Arnold, another British aristocrat, published Civilization in the United States in which he wrote,

   In what concerns the solving of the political
and social problem they see clear and think straight;
in what concerns the higher civilization
they live in a fools’ paradise….
But they have been so plied with nonsense and boasting
that outside those limits and where it is a question of things
in which their civilization is weak,
they seem, very many of them, as if in such things
they had no power of perception whatever,
no idea of a proper scale,
no sense of the difference between good and bad.11

      In 1889 Woodrow Wilson published The State and argued that government could promote the general welfare and cure some of the evils of capitalism. Charles J. Bellamy, like his brother Edward, published a utopian novel with radical ideas, An Experiment in Marriage.
      Lewis H. Blair (1834-1916) was born in Virginia and fought for the Confederate Army. He came to see that as a waste and believed that slavery was a “monstrous institution.” He ran businesses and criticized the New South and ideas that the white race is superior. In 1889 he published The Prosperity of the South Dependent upon the Elevation of the Negro in which he wrote,

The first, the most important and the most difficult
step to take is to mollify
and finally obliterate race and color prejudice…
The clearer one sees and the more enlightened he is,
the freer he is from prejudice,
which may be termed seeing things in a false light….
We must modify our actions before we can inspire
the Negro with the self-respect and hope
that are essential to making him
a good citizen and an efficient producer of wealth.
And the first duty resting upon us in this respect
is to see that in criminal matters—
that is to say, in matters of life and liberty—
the scales of justice hang more level
between whites and blacks.12

      When Calvin M. Woodward was dean of the polytechnic school of Washington University in St. Louis, he started the St. Louis Manual Training School in 1880. In 1890 he published Manual Training in Education arguing that it would keep boys in school longer and increase their mechanical abilities while applying science and mathematics, helping them find work, and stimulating inventions.
      In 1890 the University of Oklahoma was founded at Norman, and Oklahoma State University began at Stillwater. William Colgate and his sons donated so much money to Madison University in Hamilton, New York that they changed the name to Colgate University. At this time only about 3% of Americans aged 18 to 21 were attending college.
      Also in 1890 Christopher Tiedeman published his Unwritten Constitution of the United States suggesting that the judges were expanding the constitution by substantive due process and the development of a national ethics that courts can enforce. He warned that the conflicts between capital and labor were endangering natural rights.
      In 1890 Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan published The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783. He warned that the European powers were building up their navies and advised that the United States must do the same in order to be a world power. Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered that a copy of Mahan’s book be put in the library of every German warship. In 1892 Captain Mahan, who taught at the Naval War College, published his biography Admiral Farragut and the two-volume The Influence of Sea Power upon the French Revolution and Empire, 1793-1812.
      Stanford University about 30 miles south of San Francisco opened in October 1891 as a coeducational institution for undergraduates and graduate students. The California Institute of Technology began in Pasadena, California. The merchant Marshall Field donated 25 acres for the founding of the University of Chicago. John D. Rockefeller provided most of the funding, and the Baptist semiticist William Rainey Harper became the first president.
      In December 1891 Walter Hines Page of The Forum hired Joseph Mayer Rice, who had studied pedagogy in Germany, to appraise public education in the United States. In 1892 Rice traveled to 36 cities and interviewed 1,200 teachers. He came back in June, edited his work, and began publishing it in The Forum in October with nine articles printed by June 1893. This journalism came to be known as “muckraking.” In the last article he urged citizens to adopt “progressive” education.
      On 12 July 1893 historian Frederick Jackson Turner presented his paper “The Significance of the Frontier in American History” to the American Historical Association at the World’s Columbian Exposition. He began by noting that the 1890 Census observed that the westward movement to new frontiers seemed to have been ended by the numerous settlements. He described the American social evolution on the frontier from traders to ranchers to miners to farmers. Though he noted the desire to find “free land” and the need to face the “Indian question” and the controversial issue of extending slavery, he did not seem to grasp the greater trend of European imperialism that began with Columbus and the colonization of the American continents by Europeans who took land from the native peoples and expanded west. The War of Independence was a conflict between the imperialism of the British Empire and the North American colonies, and the tragic Civil War was caused by the conflict over extending slavery. The United States also dominated the western hemisphere with the Monroe Doctrine, by taking over half of Mexico, and by expanding into the Pacific Ocean by buying Alaska and by taking islands of Samoa and Hawaii.
      In 1894 Henry Champernowne published The Boss: An Essay Upon the Art of Governing American Cities exposing the corruption. Mrs. Rena M. Atchison published Un-American Immigration: Its Present Effects and Future Perils. John Muir who had edited and published the 2-volume Picturesque California: The Rocky Mountains and the Pacific Slope; California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Alaska, Montana, Idaho, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Etc. in 1888, published The Mountains of California in 1894.
      In 1895 Henry J. Fletcher published “The Drift of Population to Cities: Remedies” in the August issue of Forum, and F. J. Kingsbury wrote “In Defense of the City” for the November issue of the Journal of Social Science.
      That year the Catholic Bishop John L. Spalding of Peoria published Means and Ends of Education to emphasize the value of religious training in schools. He wrote,

If the chief end of education is virtue;
if conduct is three-fourths of life;
if character is indispensable while knowledge is only useful,
then it follows that religion—which,
more than any other vital influence,
has power to create virtue,
to inspire conduct and to mold character—
should enter into the processes of education.13

      Harvard graduate and professor George Santayana went to Kings College, Cambridge in England to study, and in 1896 he published The Sense of Beauty based on his aesthetics lectures at Harvard.
      Also that year the weekly Emporia Gazette editor William Allen White on August 15 published “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Distribution of the editorial by a syndicate made White famous for criticizing Populists in his own state. Recent Harvard graduate W. E. B. DuBois published Suppression of the African Slave Trade for the Harvard Historical Studies, and he started the Atlanta University Studies.

The Education of Henry Adams

      Henry Adams was born on 16 February 1838 in Boston. His father, Charles Francis Adams, was a politician in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate 1840-45. He compiled in 8 volumes the Works of John Adams, who was his grandfather and second President of the United States. Charles was the son of President John Quincy Adams and was elected to the US House of Representatives in 1858, and during the Civil War he served as the US minister to Britain. Henry’s older brother, Charles Francis Adams Jr. was born in 1835, was a Union colonel in the Civil War, and he became a railroad executive and a historian. Henry’s younger brother Brooks Adams was born in 1848, and he published The Law of Civilization and Decay in 1896.
      Henry Adams graduated from Harvard in 1858. During the Civil War he worked as his father’s secretary in England, and he was also an anonymous reporter in London for the New York Times. Henry returned to Washington in 1868 and worked as a journalist. Henry wrote a comprehensive History of the United States of America 1801–1817 in nine volumes which was published 1889-91 and focused on the administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.
      His autobiographical book, The Education of Henry Adams, was published in 1907 as a private edition for a few friends. The book was published soon after his death in 1918 and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1919. In 1998 the Modern Library ranked it as the best non-fiction book in English in the 20th century.
      In The Education of Henry Adams he referred to himself in the third person. He noted that President Washington appointed his grandfather John Quincy Adams the minister to the Hague in 1794. In 1848 his father Charles Francis Adams was the Free Soil Party’s nominee for Vice President of the United States on the ticket with the Ex-President Martin Van Buren. Henry in Boston came to respect Charles Sumner who had helped organize the Free-Soil Party and “had achieved a triumph by his oration against war.” Henry described how he learned in Boston, writing,

   Politics offered no difficulties,
for there the moral law was a sure guide.
Social perfection was also sure,
because human nature worked for Good,
and three instruments were all she asked:—
Suffrage, Common Schools and Press.
On those points doubt was forbidden.
Education was divine, and man needed only
a correct knowledge of facts to reach perfection.—

   “Were half the power that fills the world with terror,
         Were half the wealth bestowed on camps and courts,
   Given to redeem the human mind from error,
         There were no need of arsenals nor forts.”

   Nothing quieted doubt so completely
as the mental calm of the Unitarian clergy.
In uniform excellence of life and character,
moral and intellectual, the score of Unitarian clergymen
about Boston, who controlled society and Harvard College,
were never excelled.
They proclaimed as their merit that
they insisted on no doctrine, but taught, or tried to teach,
the means of leading a virtuous, useful, unselfish life,
which they held to be sufficient for salvation.14

When Henry Adams moved to Washington he noted, “President Taylor owed his election to Martin Van Buren and the Free Soil Party.”15
      On the day in 1860 when Adams voted for Abraham Lincoln, he began studying law. He wrote about that time,

   Not one man in American wanted the civil war,
or expected it or intended it.
A small minority wanted secession.
The vast majority wanted to go on
with their occupations in peace.
Not one, however clever or learned, guessed what happened.
Possibly a few southern loyalists in despair might dream
it as an impossible chance; but none planned it.16

Later in November changes occurred, and he described them.

   Although no one believed in civil war, the air reeked of it,
and the Republicans organised their clubs and parades
as Wide Awakes in a form military
in all things except weapons….
   The government had an air of social instability
and incompleteness that went far to support
the right of secession in theory as in fact,
but right or wrong, secession was likely to be easy
where there was so little to secede from.
The Union was a sentiment, but not much more,
and in December, 1860, the sentiment about the Capitol
was chiefly hostile, so far as it made itself felt….
   The Southern secessionists were certainly
unbalanced in mind—fit for medical treatment,
like other victims of hallucination,—haunted by suspicion,
by idées fixes, by violent morbid excitement,
but this was not all.
They were stupendously ignorant of the world.
As a class, the cotton-planters were mentally one-sided,
ill-balanced, and provincial to a degree rarely known.
They were a close society on whom the new fountains
of power had poured a stream of wealth and slaves
that acted like oil on flame.
They showed a young student his first object-lesson
of the way in which excess of power worked
when held by inadequate hands.17

      New York’s Governor Seward, who was to become Secretary of State, was a friend of the Adams family. When Charles Francis Adams came to the US Congress in December 1859, Seward renewed the friendship and visited the Adams home daily. Seward represented Lincoln Republicans in the US Senate, and Rep. Adams became their leader in the US House of Representatives. Henry worked as a secretary for his father, and later he wrote,

   Any private secretary in the least fit for his business
would have thought, as Adams did, that no man living            
needed so much education as the new President
but that all the education he could get
would not be enough.18

After Lincoln’s inauguration in March 1861 Henry wrote,

Within six weeks they were all to be taught their duties
by the uprising of such as he, and their education
was to cost a million lives and ten thousand million dollars,
more or less, north and south,
before the country could recover its balance and movement.19

For four months until mid-March 1861 Henry had been a correspondent for the Boston Daily Advertiser, and he published “The Great Secession Winter, 1860-61” in Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1909-10. He wrote that Seward’s strategy was

to prevent a separation in order to keep the slave power
more effectually under control,
until its power for harm should be gradually exhausted,
and its whole fabric gently and peacefully sapped away.20

      President Lincoln appointed Charles Francis Adams as his minister to England, and he chose his son Henry to go with him as his secretary. Henry wrote,

The Law, altogether, as path of education,
vanished in April, 1861, leaving a million young men
planted in the mud of a lawless world,
to begin a new life without education at all.21

      Henry and his father sailed for England on May 1, and on May 13 England officially recognized the belligerency of the Confederacy. Henry wrote, “The recognition of independence would then become an understood policy; a matter of time and occasion.”22 Henry was a correspondent for The New York Times from June until January 1862. In December 1862 his father sent him as a messenger to Denmark.
      John Stuart Mill’s Representative Government had come out in 1861. Henry found that Mill agreed with the Adams presidents and wrote, “The most important point of excellence which any form of government can possess is to promote the virtue and intelligence of the people themselves.”23 John Adams had used that last phrase during the Stamp Act crisis of 1865 in his Essay on the Canon and the Feudal Law which was intended to preserve universal education. In 1864-66 Henry traveled in Europe with his mother, sister, and his brother Brooks, and he studied works by John Stuart Mill. Henry was also influenced by Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville where he found his own criticisms of American society.
      Henry served as private secretary for the minister to Great Britain until his father resigned in May 1868. He was interested in evolution, and that year Henry published in the North American Review his long review of Principles of Geology by Charles Lyell. In his chapter “The Press (1868)” he wrote,

   From the moment that railways were introduced,
life took on extravagance….
   They had been obliged, in 1861, to turn aside
and waste immense energy in settling
what had been settled a thousand years before,
and should never have been revived.
At prodigious expense, by sheer force,
they broke resistance down,
leaving everything but the mere fact of power untouched,
since nothing else had a solution.
Race and thought were beyond reach.
Having cleared a path so far, society went back to its work
and threw itself on that which stood first:—its roads.
The field was vast;
altogether beyond its power to control off-hand,
and society dropped every thought of dealing with anything
more than the single fraction called a railway system.
This relatively small part of its task was still so big
as to need the energies of a generation,
for it required all the new machinery to be created:—
capital, banks, mines, furnaces, shops, power-houses,
technical knowledge, mechanical population, together
with a steady remodeling of social and political habits,
ideas and institutions to fit the new scale
and suit the new conditions.
The generation between 1865 and 1895
was already mortgaged to the railways,
and no one knew it better than the generation itself….
   His brother Charles had determined to strike
for the railroads; Henry was to strike for the press;
and they hoped to play into each other’s hands.24

Henry Adams found the US Treasury Secretary Hugh McCulloch to be “the broadest, most liberal, most genial and most practical public man in Washington.”25
      Henry’s brother Charles published “The Erie Railroad Row Considered as an Episode in Court” in the American Law Review in October 1868 and “A Chapter of Erie” in the North American Review in July 1869. Henry wrote “The New York Gold Conspiracy” which appeared in the Westminster Review in October 1870. Charles also wrote “An Erie Raid” for the North American Review in April 1871. The Adams brothers interviewed Jim Fisk and exposed the financial crimes of Jay Gould. Henry Adams concluded his article this way:

Nevertheless it is safe to predict that sooner or later
the last traces of the disturbing influence of war
and paper money will disappear in America,
as they have sooner or later disappeared in every
other country which has passed through the same evils.
The result of this convulsion itself has been in the main good.
It indicates the approaching end of a troubled time.
Messrs. Gould and Fisk will at last be obliged to yield
to the force of moral and economical laws.
The Erie Railway will be rescued, and its history will perhaps
rival that of the great speculative manias of the last century.
The United States will restore a sound basis to its currency,
and will learn to deal with the political reforms it requires.
Yet though the regular process of development may be
depended upon, in its ordinary and established course,
to purge American society of the worst agents
of an exceptionally corrupt time, there is
in the history of this Erie corporation one matter in regard
to which modern society everywhere is directly interested.
For the first time since the creation
of these enormous corporate bodies, one of them
has shown its power for mischief, and has proved itself
able to override and trample on law, custom, decency,
and every restraint known to society, without scruple,
and as yet without check.
The belief is common in America that the day is at hand
when corporations far greater than the Erie—
swaying power such as has never in the world’s history
been trusted in the hands of mere private citizens,
controlled by single men like Vanderbilt,
or by combinations of men like Fisk, Gould, and Lane,
after having created a system
of quiet but irresistible corruption—
will ultimately succeed in directing government itself.
Under the American form of society,
there is now no authority capable of effective resistance.
The national government, in order to deal
with the corporations, must assume powers
refused to it by its fundamental law, and even then
is always exposed to the chance
of forming an absolute central government
which sooner or later is likely to fall
into the very hands it is struggling to escape,
and thus destroy the limits of its power
only in order to make corruption omnipotent.
Nor is this danger confined to America alone.
The corporation is in its nature
a threat against the popular institutions
which are spreading so rapidly over the whole world.
Wherever there is a popular and limited government
this difficulty will be found in its path,
and unless some satisfactory solution of the problem
can be reached, popular institutions
may yet find their very existence endangered.26

      Henry Adams wrote of himself,

   Adams had come to Washington hoping to support
the Executive in a policy of breaking down the Senate,
but he never dreamed that he would be required
to help in breaking down the Supreme Court.
Although, step by step, he had been driven,
like the rest of the world, to admit that
American society had outgrown most of its institutions,
he still clung to the Supreme Court,
much as a churchman clings to his bishops,
because they are his only symbol of unity; his last rag of Right.
Between the Executive and the Legislature,
citizens could have no Rights;
they were at the mercy of Power.
They had created the Court
to protect them from unlimited Power,
and it was little enough protection at best.
Adams wanted to save the independence of the Court
at least for his life-time, and could not conceive that
the Executive should wish to overthrow it.27

      In 1870 Harvard’s new president Charles W. Eliot appointed Henry Adams an assistant professor of history. At first he taught English history and later American history. Henry became the editor of the North American Review in January 1874, and he made Henry Cabot Lodge his assistant editor. In 1876 Adams published Essays on Anglo-Saxon Law, and he included three essays by his doctoral candidates one of whom was Lodge.
      In 1879 Henry Adams published The Life of Albert Gallatin and The Writings of Albert Gallatin. In 1880 he wrote anonymously Democracy: An American Novel. The publisher did not reveal that Adams was the author until after his death in 1918. Adams wrote it while living on H Street in Washington with his wife, and his neighbors and friends John Hay, Clarence King, and their wives may have contributed to the fictional story that describes a corrupt politician and an incompetent president. The novel was popular, and the story was adapted into a comic opera in 1905.
      In 1892 Columbia University awarded Adams the $1,000 of the Loubat Prize for his 9-volume history of the Jefferson and Madison administrations. He expressed his view that Nicolay and Hay for their 10-volume Abraham Lincoln: A History and Alfred Mahan for his books on naval warfare were more deserving of the honor, and he donated the money to the university’s library to buy books on American history.

Francis Parker on Education for Freedom

      With the exception of fighting for a few years in the Civil War to maintain the Union of the democracy in which he so fervently believed, the entire mature life of Col. Francis Wayland Parker was devoted to teaching and the cause of education. Respected for his success with the schools of Quincy, Massachusetts and the Cook County Normal School in Chicago, Parker had demonstrated the value of his theories pragmatically. His major work was taken from talks he first gave in July 1891 at the Chautauqua Assembly Teachers’ Retreat in New York and was published in 1894 as Talks on Pedagogics: An Outline of the Theory of Concentration. He said,

The great central principle of democracy
is mutual responsibility.
Democracy in its essence gives to each individual
the liberty of becoming free; raises no artificial barriers,
political or social, between him and his goal.
This is the ideal of democracy.
Pure democracy does not exist today;
more than one-half of the people of the United States
are excluded from franchise….
Democracy means the responsibility of all for each;
the common school is the direct exposition
of this fundamental principle;
common education is the means of freedom.28

      Parker studied in Europe the pedagogical ideas of Pestalozzi and the principle of unity from Froebel, and drew the doctrine of concentration from the psychology of Herbart. Putting his hypotheses of concentration into practice, he worked to develop a science of education which he defined as “the science of the soul and the laws of its development” since it “comprehends all sciences.” He encouraged students to criticize and improve upon the doctrine.
      Parker’s ideas were based on spiritual love for the divine soul of the child. For Parker the question “What is the child?” leads to the greater question, “What is the Creator and Giver of Life?” He affirmed the reality of the “invisible, all-controlling One who permeates the universe and breathes His Eternal Life through it to be taken into the human soul.” Parker’s theory that all education was intrinsically moral was based on the premise “that education is the outworking of the design of God into highest character, into highest possibilities of individual development” that are infinite. Parker’s education was “the development of the attitude of the soul toward truth.” To find truth is to find God, the Author of Truth, and to act according to God’s Will. Although the universe is continually undergoing change, Parker sought the one central law that controls both humans and the universe, the law of being and life. He sought the sovereignty of God within and its justice above all so that everything else could be added.
      Parker saw the value of studying mutable matter to understand the immutable laws which govern Nature and science. In the early development of the child he saw the divine soul exploring and innately growing to understand Nature and the world. Following the theory that ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, that is that the development of the individual child reflects the evolution of the species and human race, Parker described how the free child moves from a fairy tale and mythic view of life toward the natural exploration of one’s environment as one begins spontaneously the study of every science. Since the child learns so effectively by this method of self-activity in such complex activities as the understanding and speaking of language, Parker advocates promoting similar natural methods for learning reading and writing and other subjects, rather than employing seemingly logical but actually artificial methods.
      Parker did not want to see the naturally active and curious child being forced to become passive and therefore bored in the classroom. He wanted to energize and at the same time refine education. He said, “All mental and moral development is by self-activity. Education is the economizing of self-effort in the direction of all-sided development.” Parker was for studying “the Creator through the manifestation of His thought in the universe and the man.” All subjects were creation, and therefore unified, but the highest truth was the invisible all-efficient power. With this philosophy Parker could effectively combine subjects and point out their higher relations with each other. If a student was interested in the laws of force he could go into physics and chemistry. Laws of energy, the chemistry and physics of life are physiology and biology.
      Parker was adamantly against rote memorization. What good is knowing something without truly understanding it? Numbers and words were to be used when expressing thought. Addition and subtraction could be taught by practicing measuring with a twelve-inch ruler. Division, multiplication, and fractions have meanings which should be understood when used. Getting the right answer is not enough if the child does not know what it signifies.
      Parker stressed self-effort and motivation as the keys which open up the education process. By examining consciousness Parker discovered that one cannot consciously direct every idea in the mind. Yet by focusing attention on a specific thing a flow of related ideas would arise. Parker’s theory of attention was a continuous unity of four elements: 1) external stimuli, 2) physical response, 3) intellectual action, and 4) motive.

This unity of action or effort of the whole being
is the central educative moment;
it is in education a supreme act, bringing about the conditions
necessary to a most economical use of the body
as an instrument for the action of external energies.

Teaching then, was the presentation of the best external conditions for this self-effort, and since motive determines all intellectual action and growth, the teacher should seek to fulfill and heighten the interest and development of the student. Because the environment conditions evolution, the improvement of the environment through education is a valuable aid in evolving humanity.
      The three modes of attention according to Parker were observation, hearing-language, and reading. Observation has educative value because the continuous action of an object upon consciousness develops and intensifies corresponding concepts. Attention is educative thinking because conscious activities are immediately needed for development. Direct acts of consciousness are synthesis, association, recollection, remembrance, and imagination, while secondary acts caused by the ego are inference or judgment such as recognition, analysis, comparison, classification, and generalization. Purpose motivating attention is educative.
      Observation leads the student to be able to think for oneself based on one’s own perceptions, and it is the remedy to prejudiced and dogmatic teaching which should be avoided. Teaching reliance upon human authority is dangerous and should be replaced by allowing the student to find the truth for oneself. The book of nature is the “direct revelation of God to man,” and observation cultivates the love for science and truth.
      Language is based on the law of association, the correspondence between the verbal symbols and the meaning. Parker pointed out that the more intense the acts of association are, the fewer repetitions are needed. Correspondences can be shown to be meaningful to the consciousness and experience of the child. Words, like other objects, act as a whole. Language can be learned by understanding words and sentences. Thinking develops real understanding and reading-power. Thus reading is learned in the study of subjects. The purpose of reading is to develop thinking and reasoning powers.
      Parker’s complement to attention was expression which together are the action and reaction of the whole being in mental and bodily movement. Expressions may be generally defined as “the manifestation of thought and emotion through the body by means of the physical agents.” Parker described the nine expressions of gesture, voice, speech, music, making, modeling (sculpture), painting drawing, and writing. Motivation impels expression, and the higher the motive, the higher the human expression. Education can inspire higher motives and uplift human action. The factors in cultivating expression are “motive, the intrinsic quality of the soul,” mental and emotional preparatory action, execution of the will, skill of the physical agents, and attentive reflection. In school writing should occur when there is the motive to express thought. Motivated practice allows children to develop at their own natural pace and rhythm.
      Parker emphasized that economizing personal energy means using the body, mind, and soul. Economy of personal energy is freedom, and personal liberty is self-effort unrestricted by anything but the laws of being. Grace and genuineness are expressions that are unified by the soul in honesty, poise, balance, rhythm, and harmony. To correct fear, self-conceit, and lack of unity, Parker suggests a change of motive toward the courage of duty and high purpose. The modes of expression can be developed by growing out of the study of the sciences, history, and literature.
      Parker’s arrangement of learning was psychological rather than logical—in other words, to suit the child, not the teacher. He points to the child’s “motive, thought, previous development, and the unparalleled energy with which it overcomes difficulties and acquires skill.” The teacher is to act with “the tact and ability to stimulate interesting related thought in the minds of the children and the recognition of the psychological moment in which to help the individual to express that thought.”
      Parker believed that all truly educative work is moral. His attitude toward discipline was practical and situational: What is for the best good of all?—“Everything to help and nothing to hinder.” Educative work that was best for the whole and best for each individual meant that a school was in order. His qualifications for a teacher were first, “a dominating love for children, manifested by a strong desire to assist them,” and second a persistent study of the subject taught.
      The social relations of the school community were ideal for teaching students good citizenship, especially the common school which is an “embryonic democracy.” The lifting of motivation to altruism and love of humanity was the essence of religion. Parker unified intellectual and moral power in the “movement of the being upward.” Through free expression and natural motivation the individual learns responsibility. “The power to choose the truth and apply it is the highest gift of God to man.” Parker always put forward the good the true, and the beautiful, that by familiarity with them the students would learn to identify and find them. Yet he succinctly described the moral process neutrally: “Motive controls; reason chooses; will executes.” He did not believe in punishment or reward, for one weakened by fear and cowardice, and the other by bribery and greed. Nor was the sheer will-power of the teacher beneficial since it did not allow the students to exercise their own wills. God gave humans free choice, and education should present the conditions for choice for the exercise of reason.
      The result Parker sought was quality, not quantity which would take care of itself. He criticized those who tried to cram the greatest quantity of knowledge into their students. He elucidated seven indications of quality teaching:

1) observation of the character, mental action, and expression of each pupil
2) study as a means to personal, mental, and moral power,
3) persistent study of the child,
4) apprehension of the infinite means for the pupils’ development,
5) immediate manifestation of subjects in the character of the child,
6) excluding competition, rivalry, and ambition, and
7) essence of quality teaching is love, its one aim, the truth.

      Parker was convinced that education was the key to enlightened and free democracy. In fact freedom was the goal of education. Democracy goes hand in hand with universal education, because it recognizes the right and ability of every person to make responsible decisions. Thus true education liberates people from oppression, tyranny and false authority in whatever guises they may appear. Parker described how the use of the teaching methods of Pestalozzi worked to free people in Europe, and how tyrants tried to suppress them. Parker attempted to synthesize a theory of scientific teaching for democracy that would “set the souls of children free.”
      The Forum editor Walter Hines Page in October 1892 began publishing a series of articles on primary education and how it needs reform. Joseph Mayer Rice found that with the notable exception of Francis Parker’s Cook County Normal School the other elementary teaching techniques were absurd. He wrote,

In no single exercise is a child permitted to think.
He is told just what to say,
and he is drilled not only in what to say
but also in the manner he must say it.29

Booker T. Washington & Tuskegee Institute

      Born a slave in 1856, for the first nine years of his life until 1865 the boy Booker, like many other Americans of dark skin, had been considered a piece of property on a Southern plantation until the close of the Civil War emancipated him. Any education extraneous to enforced labor had been forbidden to most Negroes in the South.
      Declared free, Booker and his mother and brother John journeyed several hundred miles from the plantation in Franklin County, Virginia to Malden in West Virginia where they joined his step-father who worked in the salt furnaces and coal-mines. Booker had to work in the mines until nine at night, but his intense desire to learn enabled him to master a Webster “blue-back” spelling book. He even moved ahead the hands of the clock at work so he could get to his night school by nine. At that Kanawha Valley school he selected the name Washington.
      While playing marbles with other boys, an old, colored man told Booker about the meaning of Sunday school. He gave up his marble game for regular Sunday school attendance in Malden, and later he became the teacher and superintendent of this school where he had learned to read.
      Once while working in a coal mine in the earth over a mile from the light of day, Booker overheard two men mention a school for the colored where poor but worthy students could work for their bed and board while learning a trade. This lit the fire of his ambition, and everything he did pointed toward his one goal—Hampton Institute. Later the poet Paul Laurence Dunbar was to describe this attribute.

   The secret of Mr. Washington’s power is organization,
and organization after all is only a concentration of force.
This concentration only expresses his own personality
in which every trait and quality
tend toward one definite end.30

      Booker took a job in the home of Mrs. Ruffner, an exacting and stern disciplinarian who demanded cleanliness and precise truth all the time. Previous boys had lasted only about a week under Mrs. Ruffner, but Booker devoted himself for several years to perfecting his work, allowing no leisure for mischief. After enduring several tests of his industriousness culminating in the use of a broom in a “sweeping examination” he was accepted at Hampton Institute. He became an assistant janitor for several years while he was a student at Hampton.
      Washington saw in General Samuel C. Armstrong, the Principal of Hampton, the ideal he was to strive for because he was honest, confident, and the most perfect man physically, mentally and spiritually that he had ever seen. He was inspired by educational work and felt that General Armstrong was but part of “that Christlike body of men and women who went into the Negro schools at the close of the war by the hundreds to assist in lifting up my race.”31
      The other great benefit Washington received from Hampton was his attitude toward education which changed from the common idea that education would free one from manual labor, to a love of labor, self-reliance, and usefulness, an unselfishness that strives to do the most to make others useful and happy. By experiencing this transformation himself Washington could lead others through a more practical education.
      As the Reconstruction period was closing in the late 1870s, Washington taught school in West Virginia, dabbled in politics in support of making Charleston the capitol of West Virginia, and he assisted with the education of Indians at Hampton Institute. He began to love and understand the Bible while at Hampton, and starting in the fall of 1878 he studied for a year at Wayland Seminary where the “high Christian character” of Dr. George M. P. King made a strong impression on him.
      When a normal school for colored was being established in Tuskegee, Alabama, the organizers asked General Armstrong to suggest a principal, assuming no qualified Negro could be found. He gave Washington a high recommendation, and on 4 July 1881 Booker T. Washington founded the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to provide industrial education for Negroes starting with one building and 37 students financed by $2,000 from the Alabama Legislature. Their beginning was humble, and the first efforts were in agriculture with “one hoe and a blind mule.” A loan of $500 from General Marshall of Hampton Institute enabled them to buy a farm of 100 acres.
      The first religious services at Tuskegee Institute were conducted on Thanksgiving Day 1882 by a pastor from Montgomery. A few years later an ordained minister was named chaplain of the school which Washington described as “non-denominational but by no means non-religious.”
      Washington struggled to raise money to pay back the loan and meet the payments on land and buildings. Starting with three shanties which were repaired for class-rooms and dormitories, within two decades sixty buildings stood on the campus, and students built all but four of them as part of their industrial education. By the third year student enrollment was up to 169, and by 1894 they had 712 students with 54 officers and teachers. The Institute received $11,679 in the first two years. That was almost doubled the third year, and after 14 years they were getting about $80,000 annually.
      On 16 July 1884 Washington spoke to the National Education Association at Madison, Wisconsin and said,

Brains, property, and character for the Negro
will settle the questions of civil rights….
Educate the black man, mentally and industrially,
and there will be no doubt of his prosperity.32

      In the spring of 1895 he spoke on “Industrial Education” at Fisk University. Nashville American called it a “complete success” and compared him to Frederick Douglass as a “benefactor to the Negro race.”33
      At the Atlanta Cotton States and International Exposition in September 1895 Negroes were invited to display their products, and the Exposition attracted 800,000 visitors. Washington was selected as one of the State Commissioners of the Exposition as Tuskegee and Hampton had the largest Negro exhibits. The Board of the Exposition invited Washington to deliver an address at the opening, a rare opportunity for a Negro to speak on the same platform as white men in the South. He was diplomatic in his approach before a predominantly white Southern audience. Yet he was determined to say only what he felt in his heart was true and right. On September 18 Washington was introduced by former Gov. Bullock of Georgia as “a great Southern educator” and “a representative of Negro enterprise and Negro civilization.” His speech was later called the “Atlanta Compromise.” He described how some in his race had managed to rise out of slavery saying,

You can be sure in the future, as in the past,
That you and your families will be surrounded
by the most patient, faithful, law-abiding,
and unresentful people that the world has seen.
As we have proved our loyalty to you in the past,
in nursing your children, watching by the sick-bed
of your mothers and fathers, and often following them
with tear-dimmed eyes to their graves,
so in the future, in our humble way, we shall stand by you
with a devotion that no foreigner can approach,
ready to lay down our lives, if need be, in defense of yours,
interlacing our industrial, commercial, civil, and religious life
with yours in a way that shall make
the interests of both races one.
In all things that are purely social
we can be as separate as the fingers, yet one as the hand
in all things essential to mutual progress.
   There is no defense or security for any of us
except in the highest intelligence and development of all.
If anywhere there are efforts
tending to curtail the fullest growth of the Negro,
let these efforts be turned into stimulating, encouraging,
and making him the most useful and intelligent citizen.
Effort or means so invested
will pay a thousand per cent interest.
These efforts will be twice blessed—
blessing him that gives and him that takes….
   Starting thirty years ago with ownership here and there
in a few quilts and pumpkins and chickens
(gathered from miscellaneous sources),
remember the path that has led from these to the inventions
and production of agricultural implements, buggies,
steam engines, newspapers, books, statuary, carving,
paintings, the management of drug-stores and banks,
has not been trodden without contact
with thorns and thistles….
   The wisest among my race understand that the agitation
of questions of social equality is the extremest folly,
and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that
will come to us must be the result of severe
and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing.
No race that has anything to contribute
to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized.
It is important and right that
all privileges of the law be ours,
but it is vastly more important that
we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges.
The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now
is worth infinitely more than the opportunity
to spend a dollar in an opera-house….
   I pledge that in your effort to work out
the great and intricate problem
which God has laid at the doors of the South,
you shall have at all times
the patient, sympathetic help of my race;
only let this be constantly in mind, that,
while from representations in these buildings
of the product of field, of forest, of mine, of factory,
letters, and art, much good will come,
yet far above and beyond material benefits
will be that higher good, that, let us pray God, will come,
in a blotting out of sectional differences
and racial animosities and suspicions,
in a determination to administer absolute justice,
in a willing obedience among all classes
to the mandates of law.
This, coupled with our material prosperity, will bring
into our beloved South a new heaven and a new earth.34

Reports and copies of the speech were published in many newspapers. Even W. E. B. DuBois at the time called it “a word fitly spoken.” Although criticized later by Du Bois as a compromise, the speech had tremendous power and within the context of the times probably did much to improve the friendship and working relationship between the races.
      In 1896 the brilliant botanist George Washington Carver became the Director of Tuskegee Institute’s Agriculture Department, and he told Washington,

It has always been the one great ideal of my life
to be of the greatest good to the greatest number
of “my people” possible, and to this end
I have been preparing myself for these many years;
feeling as I do that this line of education is the key
to unlock the golden door of freedom to our people.35

Washington wanted Carver to teach more “rational methods of agriculture,” saying,

More and more, at the present day,
education must take the place of force in the affairs of men.
The world is changing.
The greatest nation today is
not the nation with the greatest army,
not the nation that can destroy the most,
but the nation with the most efficient Laborers
and the most productive machinery;
the nation that can produce the most.36

      The great Frederick Douglass had died in February 1895, and with this speech Booker T. Washington rose to become the commonly recognized leader of the Negro race in America. Although he continually strove to be successful and to show other black men and women how they too could raise themselves, his leadership became controversial, and his critics ironically accused him of keeping the Negro down and in his place. Washington’s method of uplifting was education in a harmonious trinity of the head, the hand, and the heart.
      Washington always felt that his people needed leadership from within, but the examples were few. After the Atlanta speech Washington was commonly introduced as the successor to Frederick Douglass. The Tuskegee leader was soon communicating with Presidents Cleveland, McKinley, Theodore Roosevelt, and Taft, advising them on qualified Negroes for offices. Roosevelt asked Washington because he wanted men of good character, not just of ability. Until his death in 1915 Booker T. Washington exerted a tremendous influence. W. E. B. Du Bois with his concept of developing the “talented-tenth” into leaders through liberal education represented those who felt that Washington placed too much emphasis on industrial education. Washington’s own Christian character and his education of the heart can give us added insight and perspective into the man and his approach.
      In defense of the Tuskegee graduates, Washington in The Story of the Negro compared the “courage” of the hero who in harsh and bitter remarks attempts to vindicate his race, while another man works patiently and persistently in a Negro school for years to help to uplift his race and yet gets no reputation for courage. One of Washington’s most famous statements was, “I will let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him.” He avoided willingly or knowingly doing anything to “provoke bitterness between the races or misunderstanding between the North and the South.”37 Washington gave numerous speeches and wrote several books while running Tuskegee Institute. How he nurtured character in the students sheds considerable light on his attitudes and educational philosophy.
      Washington’s way was to combine industrial training with mental and moral culture. His method was to study the conditions and needs of the people and then to satisfy them practically. He observed that the need to take care of one’s body and property, and to establish an economic foundation on the soil of agriculture and the use of industry were more important than the memorization of facts and reading of Latin and Greek. He emphasized cleanliness, personal neatness, care of field and flock, housekeeping, and mechanical skill.
      In 1892 Tuskegee held its first Negro Conference, and they announced two goals:

First, to find out the actual industrial,
moral and educational condition of the masses.
Second, to get as much light as possible on what is
the most effective way for the young men and women
whom the Tuskegee Institute, and other institutions,
are educating to use their education in helping
the masses of the colored people to lift themselves up.38

Participants published by consensus their results, and their value increased year by year. They also organized Worker’s Conferences and Farmers’ Conferences.
      For Washington the end of education was not mere knowledge or skill, but goodness, usefulness, and power to help others. He called any education “high” which enabled one to perform this service, and “low” that which did not make for character or effective service. Washington taught a Gospel of Service and observed that even the President of the United States was the servant of the people. The greater one is, the more one can be of service. Therefore one should develop the ability to do. Teachers by putting more of themselves into their work would not only add to their own happiness and usefulness but would be doing real work toward hastening the coming of that divine sovereignty for which they daily pray.


1. The Annals of America, Volume 10 1866-1883 Reconstruction and Industrialization, p. 161.
2. Ibid. p. 201, 203.
3. The Annals of America, Volume 11 1884-1894 Agrarianism and Urbanization, p. 405-406.
4. Society and Solitude by Ralph Waldo Emerson in Complete Writings, Volume 1, p. 628-631.
5. Documents of American History ed. Commager, p. 553.
6. The Annals of America, Volume 11, p. 340.
7. Ibid., p. 21.
8. Ibid., p. 82.
9. The Annals of America, Volume 11 1884-1894 Agrarianism and Urbanization, p. 172.
10. Ibid., p. 173, 175, 177.
11. Ibid., p. 197.
12. Ibid., p. 211.
13. The Annals of America, Volume 12 1895-1904 Populism, Imperialism, and Reform, p. 81-82.
14. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams (New York), p. 36-37.
15. Ibid., p. 48.
16. Ibid., p. 95.
17. Ibid., p. 96-97.
18. Ibid., p. 103.
19. Ibid., p. 105.
20. Henry Adams by Ernest Samuels, p. 43.
21. The Education of Henry Adams by Henry Adams (New York), p. 106.
22. Ibid., p. 110.
23. Henry Adams by Ernest Samuels, p. 63.
24. The Education of Henry Adams p. 225-226.
25. Ibid., p. 232.
26. Chapters of Erie by Charles Francis Adams Jr. and Henry Adams, p. 135-136.
27. The Education of Henry Adams p. 259.
28. The Annals of America, Volume 11, p. 575, 577.
29. Ibid. p. 398
30. Paul Laurence Dunbar, “Representative American Negroes” in The Negro Problem, p. 194.
31. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, p. 30.
32. From Slavery to Freedom: A History of African Americans by John Hope Franklin and Alfred A. Moses Jr., p. 273.
33. Booker T. Washington Papers Volume 1 The Autobiographical Writings, p. 61-64.
34. Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, p. 114-118.
35. “Have You Done Your Best” in Character Building by Booker T. Washington, p. 48.
36. Sowing and Reaping by Booker T. Washington, p. 22-23.
37. Booker T. Washington Papers Volume 1, p. 446.
38. Ibid., p. 135.

Copyright © 2022 by Sanderson Beck

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