Liberty, Democracy, and a “Useful” American Education


This conference compared "useful" and "liberal" philosophies of education during the transition from the Founding to the Progressive eras. We explored the relation between education and the democratic order, as well as what kind of education may be necessary to preserve democratic principles.


From Liberty Fund

Education in a Free Society

by Edited and with an Introduction by Anne Husted Burleigh

A position paper by Benjamin A. Rogge and Pierre F. Goodrich leads off this fine collection advocating an educational system based strictly on private and voluntary institutions.

Anne Husted Burleigh is a writer and a contributing editor for Crisis.

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Additional Readings

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

Dewey, John. Democracy and Education: An Introduction into the Philosophy of Education. Sioux Falls: NuVision Publications, LLC, 2007.

Dewey, John. The Living Thoughts of Thomas Jefferson. Edited by Alfred O. Mendel. New York: Longmans, Green and Co., 1940.

Franklin, Benjamin. Educational Views of Benjamin Franklin. Edited by Thomas Woody. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., 1931.

Honeywell, Roy J. The Educational Work of Thomas Jefferson. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1931.

Jefferson, Thomas. “Jefferson’s Letter to Peter Carr (August 19, 1785).” Yale Law School. (March 5, 2015).

Jefferson, Thomas. “Letter to Peter Carr (August 10, 1787).” University of Gronigen. (March 5, 2015).

Mann, Horace. The Republic and the School: The Education of Free Men. New York: Teachers College Press, 1957.

Reinhold, Meyer. “The Quest for ‘Useful Knowledge’ in Eighteenth-Century America.” Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 119, no. 2 (April 1975): 108-132.