“A Serious Question” The American Sentinel 6, 4, pp. 26, 27.

A GOOD deal has been said throughout this country the past year upon the subject of compulsory education, even to the extent of compulsory religious education. In a good many instances Germany has been cited as a model Government in this respect; but the Emperor of Germany has lately shown a disposition to take heroic measures, to a certain extent, with this thing in his dominions, declaring that, the system of “eternal cramming” which has been worked, “has already made the nation suffer from the overproduction of learned and so-called educated people, the number of whom is now more than the nation can bear, and who constitute a distinct danger to society.”

England also has a system of compulsory education; and in her speech from the throne at the late opening of Parliament, the Queen of Great Britain called the attention of that body to another evil which is found there. She said: “Your attention will be called to the expediency of alleviating the burden which the law of compulsory education has within recent years imposed upon the poorer portions of the people.”

In view of these two official statements from the heads of two of the strongest Governments of earth, and the two which have enforced the system of compulsory education, those in this country who are so strongly urging the adoption of such a system here, ought to be led more carefully to consider that question. Attention has been called several times by THE SENTINEL to the fact stated by Emperor William, that education without character instead of being a benefit either to the individual or to the State, is a detriment to both. Instead of its being for the safety of the State it is dangerous to the State. It is so when it is voluntarily done, but when the State itself compels the people by an eternal cramming to be educated without character, it is only destroying itself; and as the State cannot give character, this raises a serious question whether [27] compulsory education is for the safety of the State, and therefore whether it is right.

The statement of the Queen of Great Britain raises another question in connection with this. That statement shows that heavy, if not unbearable burdens, have been laid upon the poor by the compulsory system of education, which it becomes necessary for the State to relieve. Why then should the State burden the poor, or in fact any portion of its citizens, in order to create a condition of society which the Emperor of Germany declares is more than the nation can bear, and which constitutes a distinct danger to society itself? It would be well for the American people to consider these things before they give themselves too much to the principle of compulsory education.

A. T. J.

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