The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States

By Dickson A. Mungazi | Go to book overview

2
Theory During the Colonial Period

The Renaissance had influence on American development . . . English Calvinists who wanted to change or purify the Anglican Church became known as Puritans and were very important in the settlement of New England.

-- John D. Pulliam and James van Patten, 1995


JOHN LOCKE: BRIDGE FROM THE ANCIENT WORLD TO THE NEW WORLD

The various theories formulated by ancient Greek masters discussed in chapter 1 did not end with their application to Greek society, but they found their way into the New World as it began to form. If there is one individual who deserves credit for transmitting the thoughts of the Greek masters to the New World, that individual is John Locke ( 1632- 1704). Adam Smith, who gained so much from Locke's work, was born nearly twenty years after Locke had died. By the time Smith published his Wealth of Nations in 1776 Locke's reputation as a thinker had reached major proportions. Therefore Smith's success and fame came partly from the ideas he learned from Locke.

Writing in 1996 about Locke's contribution to the evolution of theory of the character of society in the New World, Lloyd Duck of George Mason University concludes that Locke's ideas came into application at the right time. 1 Duck goes on to add that Locke's ideas were influential to the development of society in the New World because he expressed them in a clear and forceful manner that left no room for doubt as to what he said. During and after his life Locke has appropriately been known as the predominant influence on the development of the New World. His theory of government, society, and education had a tremendous impact on the evolution of ideas. Among those who utilized Locke's ideas was Thomas Jefferson ( 1743- 1826), who was born thirty years after Locke's death. Jefferson utilized Locke's ideas in writing the Declaration of Independence. 2

Locke was at his best in presenting his theory of politics and education. His ideas contrasted with those of Rene Descartes ( 1596- 1650), a French

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The Evolution of Educational Theory in the United States
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Foreword xi
  • Preface xv
  • Acknowledgments xix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The Origins of the Theory of Western Education 15
  • Notes 34
  • 2 - Theory During the Colonial Period 37
  • Notes 57
  • 3 - Theory During the Revolutionary Period 61
  • Notes 80
  • 4 - Theory During the Common School Movement 83
  • 5 - The Theory of Secondary, Higher, and Teacher Education 103
  • Notes 121
  • 6 - The Courts and the Theory of Education for African Americans 125
  • 7 - Theory to Address National Problems: From Warren G. Harding to Bill Clinton 153
  • Notes 181
  • Conclusion 210
  • Notes 211
  • Selected Bibliography 215
  • Index 237
  • About the Author 251
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