King Charles I of Spain gave the colonists permission, known as assiento, to import slaves--the number of slaves shipped to the New World dramatically increased when twenty Africans, three of them women, arrived in Jamestown. From that time to Emancipation slavery played a major role in sustaining institutions in the South. Every other move was related to slavery. Therefore, there was a lack of theory because the need for formal education was not as profoundly felt as it was in the other two regions. The lack of emphasis on the role of religion meant there was little emphasis placed on moral values. The problems that were experienced in society arose primarily from the lack of formal institutional structures that were considered essential to transmitting a new social code. 46 In this context the evolution of theory took a back seat to other matters.
The discussion in this chapter leads to two conclusions. The first is that as the New World began to develop, it utilized theories formulated during the Renaissance by thinkers in Europe to provide an adequate basis for that development. The utilization of the theories of John Locke enabled the colonists to try something that had meaning for their struggle for development. Locke's theories were more applicable to conditions that existed in the New World because colonists were developing a new society different from the one in Europe. The evolution of theory to address problems of society could not be separated from the evolution of theory to address the kind of education that they needed to maximize their developmental efforts.
The second conclusion is that as the three regions of the New World began the task of development they adopted different theories they believed were relevant to their needs. New England opted for the strict interpretation of Calvin's theology, the Middle Atlantic colonies chose to utilize various religious theories and theology to address their specific needs. The South did not define its theory in a way the other two regions did. This means that the South remained in a state of underdevelopment for years to come. As a result, the South experienced serious social problems until the twentieth century. This chapter has presented evidence to suggest that as long as the society of the South was structured on the institution of slavery, it was not possible for its members to see the future without it. Slavery was an intimate part of the political, social, and economic system. This inhibited its ability to initiate the evolution of a theory of education that would promote the development of education as a condition of other forms of its development.
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Publication information: Book title: The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States. Contributors: Dickson A. Mungazi - Author. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 57.
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