The State Universities and Democracy

The State Universities and Democracy

The State Universities and Democracy

The State Universities and Democracy

Excerpt

Ever since the founding of the University of Georgia in 1785 as the first state university, our public institutions of higher learning have been imbued by a spirit of liberalism and democracy. In a large and healthy sense, they have been political institutions. As they spread westward, grew in numbers, and throve in vigor, they lent support to the abiding doctrines of democracy.

When Condorcet wrote his Sketch of the Progress of the Human Spirit in the shadow of the guillotine; when Jefferson sent Peter Carr his controversial letter of 1814 outlining a full system of state education; when John Stuart Mill declared in the wake of the Chartist Movement that British educational life must respond to this "revolt of nearly all the active talent of the working classes against . . . the ruling classes"; when Jonathan Baldwin Turner asserted in 1850 that liberal education "must begin with the higher institutions, or we can never succeed with the lower"; and when H. G. Wells made his memorable statement that mankind faces a race between education and catastrophe, they expressed one fundamental belief. It was the belief that all men have a potential capacity for . . .

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