Published Papers and Addresses of John Campbell Merriam - Vol. 4

Published Papers and Addresses of John Campbell Merriam - Vol. 4

Published Papers and Addresses of John Campbell Merriam - Vol. 4

Published Papers and Addresses of John Campbell Merriam - Vol. 4

Excerpt

The instrument called history, which brings the past to witness in forming our estimates of the future, comes vividly to mind when we see a graduating class go out on Washington's Birthday from the doors of a University in the Nation's Capital.

The fact that I do not know an educational institution of importance which fails to give history a prominent place in its curriculum might be taken to indicate that it is not necessary to emphasize the significance of this subject in education. And yet, with due credit for the great advances made in stating the case for history -- even in institutions for higher education and research -- I am convinced that in this field there is still open such an opportunity for new constructive effort as can scarcely be found elsewhere in the possible range for application of human intellect. I believe that the results of historical study and research, if given their real values as to fact and interpretation, may still make enormous contribution toward the solution of much in our economic, social, and political life that seems otherwise nearly insoluble. Especially desirable is the development of this phase of knowledge for the educational guidance of a people through whom the ballot has such an important part in determining the policy of government.

In order to define the place of history in education, may I indicate briefly an assumed outline of a program by which the student is prepared for the work expected of him by the community? No detailed plan of education can be prepared which will serve perfectly for more than one person. It is only in their broader outlines that one is justified in considering proposals which might be used for any large group.

One classification of the content of education indicates that it is inadequate if it does not prepare us for our particular places in life by giving, first , something concerning the world about us, in

Convocation address at George Washington University, February 22, 1924. George Washington University Bulletin , vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 3-12, March 1924.

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