Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
OUR EARLIER COLLEGES IN POLITICS -- LOTTERIES FOR THEIR BENEFIT

OUR New England forefathers had, and from the nature of their training and manner of thinking could have had, no conception of the college as an end in itself. The modern thought of the college as an institution was not only lacking, but quite opposite to the colonists' notion. The growth from "the narrowest orthodoxy and the most stifling and bigoted sectarianism," to the conception of a great institution complete in itself, democratic, liberal, nonsectarian, nonpolitical and free to all, has come only within comparatively recent years. The early college was but one of the factors in a theocratic, aristocratic colony, which still highly valued many of the traditions and customs of the parent country out of which it sprang, and from which it was constantly being recruited. The domestic politics of the colonies were largely religious controversies between various sects, isms or doxies, or between the liberals and conservatives of some strait-laced orthodox church. The colonies and the colleges were often drawn into the larger world politics of the English court, which, like those of all the other European courts, were founded on intrigue, deceit, oppression, overreaching, corruption and wickedness of all kinds. The colleges frequently sent representatives abroad to protect their interests and charters and to solicit funds. They thus constantly entered into both provincial and court politics, and regarded this as something to be expected. They were not thought of as privately endowed institutions, but as part -- the chief part -- of the colony's system of higher learning, to which individuals might and should freely contribute. They were founded to train the youth of a particular colony to become ministers of a particular branch of some church there considered orthodox.

A factor in theocratic aristocratic politics.

College formerly not an end in itself.

-39-

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