Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America

Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America

Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America

Popular Education and Democratic Thought in America

Excerpt

Looking back on a completed manuscript, every scholar must be conscious of two things: the imperfections that continue to haunt it in spite of all that he could do to overcome them, and the assistance of friends and colleagues, scholars and editors, who have made the book immeasurably stronger than it would have been without their active encouragement and advice. Customarily he thanks these invisible collaborators for their assistance while absolving them of responsibility for his errors. So too do I; but the time-honored formula is inadequate to express my sense of their contributions to this study.

My interest in American attitudes toward education stems from a doctoral dissertation in the History of American Civilization, which I completed at Harvard University in 1951. I was fortunate both in my field of concentration, which permitted me to undertake a cross-disciplinary thesis, and in my advisers, who encouraged me to persevere in it as well as challenged me to improve it. They were Louis Hartz and John M. Gaus, and they have been as generous with their help since the dissertation was completed as they were beforehand.

I have also been fortunate in my friends and colleagues since leaving graduate school. Harry W. Pearson has read and criticized my study in several different versions; both as scholar and as friend he has made the necessity of drafting successive versions easier to live with. Louis P. Carini has also been of great help in that same task. Although not a specialist in any of the fields of scholarship the book draws on he has been an indispensable adviser and ally. My students -- especially Patricia Fitzsimmons (now Mrs. Louis Carini)have also contributed much to the final formulation of my ideas. Their genuine interest in the problem I have posed and their willingness to dispute points of interpretation with me have . . .

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