Liberty vs. Equality

Liberty vs. Equality

Liberty vs. Equality

Liberty vs. Equality

Excerpt

The idea of this book comes from a program of study that I have followed for several years. In trying to understand certain political and social problems as they affect education, I have been forced to ask the questions: "What are American ideals?""What kind of a country did Washington and Jefferson want to found?""Would Franklin and Hamilton have been pleased with the United States today?""What was 'the American Dream?" I tried to find an answer. I started with the usual American histories. I read everything I could find in the writings of Franklin, Thomas Paine, Washington, Hamilton, De Witt Clinton, Patrick Henry, John Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Henry Clay and Abraham Lincoln. Their ideals were not original, but imported from abroad; and following this lead, I was taken to Eighteenth Century France and thence to England and back to France. I have put more emphasis on France than on England, partly because it seems to have had more influence, and partly because Voltaire, Montesquieu, Rousseau and Turgot interest me more than the English writers. From this I received a clearer idea of the meaning of liberty and equality, and the essential opposition of the two. This contradiction explains many of our present dilemmas. In a program of compromise lies our only hope.

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