Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Power of the Mind

"Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men - the balance - wheel of the social machinery. I do not here mean that it so elevates the moral nature as to make men disdain and abhor the oppression of their fellow men. This idea pertains to another of its attributes. But I mean that it gives each man the independence and the means, by which he can resist the selfishness of other men.

It does better than to disarm the poor of their hostility towards the rich; it prevents being poor. Agrarianism is the revenge of poverty against wealth. The wanton destruction of the property of others - the burning of hay-ricks and corn-ricks, the demolition of machinery, because it supersedes hand-labor, the sprinkling of vitriol on rich dresses - is only agrarianism run mad. Education prevents both the revenge and the madness. On the other hand, a fellow feeling for one's class or caste is the common instinct of hearts not wholly sunk in selfish regards for person, or for family. The spread of education, by enlarging the cultivated class or caste, will open a wider area over which the social feelings will expand."
-Horace Mann

Horace Mann was a big advocate for reform in public education in the mid-19th century. This is an excerpt from Twelfth Annual Report to the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. He really believed in the importance of education for all people and the positive impact it could have on society as a whole. Horace would often travel to many different schools to see the quality they were in and the changes that needed to be made to improve them. He had many writings advocating for better education as a right for everyone and to show people it should be an integral part of your life. In the 1800s, public education was poor quality in many places. It was not accesible to all people. The education reform movement called for a change to this and other aspects to public education. They believed that public schools should not be associated with any particular religion and paid for by local taxes. Also, teachers were to be well trained so as to provide students with the proper educations they needed. This document shows the reasons behind the main idea of this movement which was to provide all people with an education. People will live better lives if they are able to understand concepts that they often face throughotu their lives. However, it doesn't quite show the other beliefs the movement was fighting for. Horace is saying that education will help people to be more understanding of others' lives and how to work with each other to live peacefully and successfully. Education will help somebody get far in life and earn money by helping to advance society in a way that will benefit others. 

Mann, Horace. Twelfth Annual Report to the Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education. 1846. Intellectual Takeout. January 15, 2015