The Liberalism of Thomas Arnold: A Study of His Religious and Political Writings

The Liberalism of Thomas Arnold: A Study of His Religious and Political Writings

The Liberalism of Thomas Arnold: A Study of His Religious and Political Writings

The Liberalism of Thomas Arnold: A Study of His Religious and Political Writings

Excerpt

It is likely that no one of the "eminent Victorians" lampooned by Lytton Strachey in 1918 has remained a topic of more persistent interest to twentieth century readers than Thomas Arnold of Rugby. Indeed, to the considerable quantity of writing about Dr. Arnold in his own nineteenth century, recent years have added a stream of articles, chapters, and books which shows no signs of diminishing well over a century after his death in 1842. That he became a "tidal force" in British opinion, no modern writer seems likely to deny; nor is there any very extensive disagreement about the principal causes of his influence. Clearly these were his wholehearted commitment to moral ideals, his forceful personality, and his ability to make his views widely known. Arnold's personality and moral idealism may perhaps be traced to his inheritance and childhood training; his opportunity to be heard he made for himself, becoming in the course of his short life well- known in the diverse fields of educational administration, liberal theology, social criticism and historiography. Because he was a great teacher and a compelling spokesman as well, he was extraordinarily successful in impressing his ideas on the minds and hearts of his students, students . . .

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