Education and Republican Liberty: Views from the American Founding


The American Founders were greatly concerned with how education might contribute to individual liberty and responsibility and to the flourishing of a free society. Broad questions were explored in this conference: What are the aims of education, as the American Founders understood them? Did they think that education should form moral character and shape political opinion? Did they agree on the role of religion in education? How would education be provided? In what measure would government be involved in funding and directing the educational process? How was education to be organized?


Conference Readings

Washington, George. George Washington: A Collection. Edited by W. B. Allen. Compiled by W. B. Allen. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1988.

Massachusetts School Law of 1642. San Francisco: Wikipedia, 1642. (accessed July 28, 2008).

Lutz, Donald S., eds. Colonial Origins of the American Constitution: A Documentary History, Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998.

Smyth, Albert Henry, eds. The Writings of Benjamin Franklin, New York: The Macmillan Company, 1907.

Peterson, Merrill D., eds. Jefferson: Writings, New York: Penguin Putnam, Inc., 1984.

Hyneman, Charles S. and Donald Lutz, eds. American Political Writing during the Founding Era: 1760-1805, Volume I. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, Inc., 1983.

Rudolph, Frederick, eds. Essays on Education in the Early Republic, Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1965.

Bailyn, Bernard. Education in the Forming of American Society. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1960.

Franklin, Benjamin. Benjamin Franklin Writings. Edited by J. A. Leo Lemay. New York: The Library of America by Penguin, 1987.

Madison, James. The Writings of James Madison, Volume 9 (1819-1836). Edited by Gaillard Hunt. New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1910.

Mather, Cotton. Bonifacius An Essay upon the Good. Edited by David Levin. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1966.

Pangle, Lorraine Smith and Thomas L. Pangle. The Learning of Liberty: The Educational Ideas of the American Founders. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1993.

Penn, William. The Fruits of Solitude and Other Writings. Edited by Rhys, Ernest. London: J.M. Dent & Sons, Ltd., 1942.

Sparks, Jared. The Life of Benjamin Franklin. Boston: Whittemore, Niles, and Hall, 1856. (accessed ).

Sparks, Jared. The Works of Benjamin Franklin. Boston: Whittemore, Niles, and Hall, 1856. (accessed ).