Education As Indoctrination

Most of the educational reformers in these years were less interested in releasing the talents of individuals than, as Benjamin Rush put it, in rendering “the mass of the people more homogeneous” in order to “fit them more easily for uniform and peaceable government.” Pupils should be taught that they did not belong to themselves but were “public property.” It was even “possible,” said Rush, “to convert men into republican machines.”14 Even Jefferson, despite his emphasis on guarding the freedom and happiness of individuals, was more interested in promoting social unity and the public good.

Wood, Gordon S. (2009). Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789-1815 (Oxford History of the United States) (Kindle Locations 8646-8650).

It should also surprise no one that Noah Webster – the so-called father of American education – was absolutely freaked out about the general populace not following the lead of their betters as well as the Election of 1800.  He did a lot of hand wringing and pearl catching about the state of the general populace and how it threatened liberty as he defined it, etc.

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