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advantage of the government and its favorites, may be able to boast that all its people can read, write, and cipher; but at the same time it must admit that, while bestowing this limited amount of knowledge, it carefully smothered or crushed in them all their hopes, so natural to youth, for distinction. In a government having an hereditary aristocracy, people of humble origin are pur. posely kept in obscurity; and they have, and can have, but few, if any, incentives for distinguished zeal. In such a government, those who have the misfortune to be born lowly can by no efforts of theirs change their status, unless, indeed, it be from bad to worse, for ambition there is treason. A people with their natural instincts and ideas thus dwarfed, and thus forbidden to give birth to new hopes or new aspirations, could hardly be expected to take a leading part in civilization. Nor could they be expected to carry out of the school-room any particular fondness for the education which they may have received there. The Prussian system of education is defective because it does not impart new hopes and desires to the young; and because it is defective in this respect the Prussians have not taken a leading part in civilization. IV. The plan which we have called the American plan is that system of education which has been generally adopted in the United States. It is quite different from any thing that has yet been explained. There is no other country in the world which contains a population composed of such heterogeneous elements as this. The character of the original settlers has left its impress to a
certain extent upon their descendants, though in many parts of the country all such distinctive traces have been obliterated by the streams of subsequent immigration from all parts of the world. The form of government, too, is peculiar. There are really as many governments as there are separate States; but these for certain purposes are bound together, by a perpetual league, into one . general government. “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively or to the people.” (Const. of U. S. art. 10, Amend.) The general government does not seem to have been charged or intrusted with the education of the people. It is, however, authorized “to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." (Const. of U. S. art. 1, sec. 8, subd. 8.) But the very first principle of many which was enunciated by the delegates of the American people, when they met to take the first step toward forming a general government, and the one which seems most likely to control the action and shape the destiny of the republic, was, that “all men are created equal." Afterward, in forming a constitution for their government, the people, mindful of the history of other nations, refused to permit the general government to constitute or establish a privileged class among them. “No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States." (Const. of U. S. art. 1, sec. 9, subd. 7.) Thus secured in their
reserved rights, the people of each State have a government of their own, a State legislature, for the enactment of such laws as they may deem necessary for the full enjoyment of their rights, and as are not in conflict with the constitution of the general government. The right to educate the people was not delegated to the general government, consequently this right remains with the people of the several States, and is exercised by them, if at all, in their legislatures. There has been much legislation in the several States on this subject. All of them have felt it their duty to encourage education in some way. In many of them a most liberal and efficient system of free schools is established, and this will doubtless soon be the case in all. These schools are in the main well conducted, and kept entirely free from sectarianism. The attendance is rarely compulsory, as in Prussia; nor can the teachers incite their pupils to greater exertion by reminding them that, if they pass through all the degrees with honor, the government will reward and the people will venerate them, as in China. But in all these schools the pupils are taught that a good education is its own reward; that with it happiness, wealth, honor, and political preferment are all possible; while without it a person labors under a thousand disadvantages, no matter what he undertakes, all his life long; and he will be fortunate indeed if he is not often the object of ridicule and contempt. The pupils are reminded that, if they will but make themselves competent and worthy to hold office, even the highest offices and
honors in the government may be enjoyed by them. In a word, the teachers take the young minds as they find them, and fill them with the hopes, the desires, and the aspirations of educated and refined gentlemen, or at least such is what they are expected to do. The girls are trained and taught similarly. They are filled with all the ideas, tastes, and aspirations that are becoming to a true womanhood. Both boys and girls are taught not that they must go to school because the state wants to nationalize them, as in Prussia, but that they ought to go to school for their own good, as well as for the honor and prosperity of the state. Except in one or two States, they are not warned that they will be deprived of exercising the functions of citizens, as in Sweden, unless they have a certain amount of education; but their education is liberally provided for by the State, and they are sent by fond parents to intelligent teachers, whose duty it is to awaken their young minds to a proper sense of their several duties, and to a full realization of what they may by zealous efforts reasonably hope to achieve.
“Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime;
Footprints on the sands of time.”
Whether the Chinese plan of giving office and honors to the thoroughly educated only, or the American plan of giving to the educated no honors or rewards except such as they earn for themselves outside of the schools, is the better one, remains for time to decide. The Chinese plan would seem, at least, to have given stability to the government; but this would also seem to be one of the results of the American plan, for not a single State that had any thing worthy of the name of a system of public instruction participated in the recent rebellion. Louisiana might be excepted; but her system was not long in operation before the troubles began, and consequently it can not be blamed for what followed. Education is the cheap defense of nations.
SEC. 4. Governments for the most part have not been framed on models. Their parts and their powers in general grew out of occasional acts, prompted by some urgent expediency or some private interest, which in the course of time coalesced and hardened into usages. These usages became the object of respect and the guide of conduct long before they were embodied in written laws. Governments are but societies of men united together to procure their mutual safety and advantage; and as these men make laws by which they are themselves to be governed, they naturally make such laws as will accord as nearly as possible with their own manners and tastes. And this is not only the natural but the necessary course for them to pursue. For it is a maxim in the science of legislation and government that laws are of no avail without manners. That is to say, the best intended legislative provisions can have but little beneficial effect at first, and none at all in a short time, unless they are congenial to the disposition and habits,