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Thesis 43 – Payment by Results

  “Anyone who will look before him must see the growing political importance of the mass of the population.  They will have power.  In a very short time they will be paramount.  I wish them to be enlightened, in order that they may use that power which they will inevitably obtain.”1   Until 1833 the […]

Thesis 42 – Invention of Public Schools

“As on the one hand it should ever be remembered that we are boys, and boys at school, so on the other hand we must bear in mind that we form a complete social body… a society, in which, by the nature of the case, we must not only learn, but act and live; and […]

Thesis 41 – March of Progress?

There is no safe depository for the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves; and if it is thought that they be not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion.1   A vigorous, if somewhat alternative, […]

Thesis 40 – Schoolroom, Workshop or Quarterdeck?

Apprenticeship, with its structured approach to hands-on-learning and its effective application of adolescent brawn, had largely created the conditions for England’s spectacular industrial growth.  Yet apprenticeship was to become the first major casualty of the Industrial Revolution, while the grammar schools were to linger on in their unreformed state for a further half century.   […]

Thesis 39 – Spontaneous Schooling

“This word-teaching, rote-learning, memory-loading system is still dignified with the name of ‘education’; … need we wonder that many scholars have so little practical or useful knowledge, or that the greatest block-heads at school often make brighter men than those whose intellects have been injured by much cramming?”1   Wealth and comfort lull people into […]

Thesis 31 – Work Ethic

No child is too poor or of too humble birth to go to school.  An education is the right of every person; those who are less bright need instruction to lift them out of their ignorance, whilst those with an inquiring mind need the discipline of education lest they be tempted to idleness.1   As […]

Thesis 27 – A Nation State

The Reformation was the beginning of the transformation of a society based on faith in authority, to a society based on the authority of the individual’s own faith ─ from a society where there had been a high level of faith in a central dogma to, after many a bloody struggle, a new form of […]

Thesis 22 – Judaism and Christianity

Of the three roots of western civilization ─  Greece, Rome and Palestine ─ it is the influence of the Jews which is the most extraordinary.  A tribe of desert nomads seeking land of their own between the great kingdoms of Assyria, Babylon and Egypt, these were a people whose struggles against adversity had convinced them […]

Thesis 21 – Roman Law and Order

The Romans were to the Greeks what today’s young venture capitalists are to middle-aged professors of moral philosophy.  They just didn’t think in the same way, or hold similar values.  While the Greeks were exhausting themselves in costly wars the determined, no-nonsense farmers of Latinium progressively transformed themselves into merchants, and then into soldiers so […]

Thesis 20 – Greek Philosophy

The Greeks were the beginning of nearly everything of which the modern world likes to boast.  They were the first people to think seriously about the purposes of education.  They were passionately interested in architecture, poetry, drama, music, physical fitness and rhetoric; they formulated theories of mathematics and justice, and they gave the world the […]

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