Educational Philosophies And The Enlightenment

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As we have learned from Urban and Wagoner (2014) and our in-class discussions, the Enlightenment was a movement that helped to bring the western world out of the Dark Ages and greatly influenced the people initiating change in America. During this period of time, aspects of life, science, and philosophies of all sorts, were moving towards a direction of reason, as opposed to faith. Educated men were researching, studying, and discussing with other men about their findings and ideas. People were on-fire for knowledge. They were no longer “accepting” the status quo. They wanted change and they believed that progress was possible, for all people, and in their lifetime. Faith V. Reason However, I am not sure that this period, which we look back…show more content…
This idea of knowledge and improvement held a lot of weight in the hearts and minds of leaders during this time. They fought to improve their situations and to challenge the traditional institutions. These values embody the Enlightenment attitude and behaviors, and understandably, as those leaders were forming a new government; those values would naturally translate into the idea of spreading knowledge to citizens through public education. People then, as they do today, had conflicting ideas of what “progress” of the nation was to be, and how educating its citizens should look. Each of the educational supporters discussed in Chapter Three by Urban and Wagoner (2014) had a slightly different vision of in the role schooling was to play, but all agreed that public education was necessary to maintain the newly created and fragile republic. Some, like Thomas Jefferson, believed that education was necessary for the extension of maintenance of liberty. For others, like Benjamin Rush and Noah Webster, it was necessary to promote social order and compliance. Benjamin Rush and Noah Webster were both very progressive in their thinking and supporting public education. However, I found some of their purposes for educating the masses odd, because they seemed fairly contradictory to the Enlightenment…show more content…
But as I was reading this chapter, I was mulling over their idea of creating a country of silent citizens who accept the system as is. This seemed to me, to go against the ideas of reflection and progress that hold true to the Enlightened progressives of this time. According to Urban and Webster, the Enlightenment, “welcomed change, and questioned entrenched authority” (Urban and Wagoner, 2014, p. 55). However, Rush and Webster wanted to create citizens who accepted the new government as is, and who would not question this new authority. This was also surprising to me because these men had just been freed from a long fight with a oppressive
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