“The Blair Educational Bill” The American Sentinel 5, 13, pp. 97-99.

March 27, 1890

WE do not mean by this title the Blair Educational amendment, but the Educational bill,—though, as will be seen, there is not, in fact, a great deal of difference in the distinction.

The features of this bill are—

1. For eight years from the year of its passage, there shall be appropriated $77,000,000: the first year $7,000,000, the second year $10,000,000, the third year $15,000,000, the fourth year $13,000,000, the fifth year $11,000,000, the sixth year $9,000,000, the seventh year $7,000,000, the eighth year $5,000,000,—to the States, Territories, and the District of Columbia, according to the proportion “of persons in each, who, being of the age of ten years and over, cannot write.”

2. In order to be a sharer of the money, each State, through its governor, shall report to the Secretary of the Interior a full account of the common-school system of that State; how much money was spent on schools in the last year preceding the report; how the money was raised; the number of children attending school; the length of the school term; and the average pay of teachers.

3. The Secretary of the Interior shall certify this to the Secretary of the Treasury, with “monthly estimates and requisitions,” of amount duo to each, and the Secretary of the Treasury shall pay the said amount to such persons as shall be designated by the States to receive it. But no amount shall be paid in any one year to any State or Territory greater than the amount of school funds expended from its own revenues. Nor shall any of the $77,000,000 from the national treasury be used for building or renting school-houses; but $2,000,000 extra shall be devoted to this purpose in the same proportion as the regular fund.

4. The money “shall be used only for common schools not sectarian in character” in the States, and for common or industrial schools in the Territories.

5. “The Secretary of the Interior is charged with the proper administration of this law, through the Commissioner of Education; and they are authorized and directed, under the approval of the President, to make all needful rules and regulations, not inconsistent with its provisions, to carry this law into effect.” “Copies of all school-books authorized by the School Board or other authorities of the respective States and Territories, and used in the schools of the same, shall be filed with the Secretary of the Interior.”

If any State or Territory misapplies or loses any part of this money, or fails to report as directed in the act, or fails to comply with any of the conditions of the act, “such State or Territory shall forfeit its right to any subsequent apportionment” “until the full amount so misapplied, lost, or misappropriated, shall have been re-placed,” “and until such report shall have been made.” “If it shall appear to the Secretary of the Interior that the funds received under this act for the preceding year by the State or Territory have been faithfully applied to the purposes contemplated by this act, and that the conditions thereof have been observed, then, and not otherwise, the Secretary of the Interior shall distribute the next year’s appropriation as is herein before provided. And it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the Interior to promptly investigate all complaints lodged with him of any misappropriation [98] by or in any State or Territory of any moneys received by such State or Territory under the provisions of this act, or of any discrimination in the use of such moneys; and the said complaints, and all communications received concerning the same, and the evidence taken upon such investigations, shall be preserved by the Secretary of the Interior, and shall be open to public inspection and annually reported to Congress.”

Such, briefly stated, are the provisions of the Blair Educational bill. It will be seen at once that it is simply a scheme to make the public-school system a national affair; and that the money involved is only a huge bribe offered to the States to surrender their school systems to the dictation of the national power. The direction of the whole affair is given to the Secretary of the Interior. He is to be the arbiter of all complaints or disputes that may arise about the application of the funds or any of the provisions of the act.

What, then, is the object of making the public-school system a national affair only? Why is it that this shall be taken from the control and management of the several States and merged in a federal head and controlled by national power? There is a purpose in this. This purpose does not appear as distinctly in the bill as in the speech of the author of it, which he made in support of it. That purpose is to destroy all parochial or denominational schools, and have the national power supplant the family and the Church. This we shall now prove.

According to Senator Blair’s estimate, everybody who believes in the efficacy of the parochial or denominational school is an opponent of the public school and is a “Jesuit.” On page 1542 of the Congressional Record of the Fifty-first Congress (page 91 of Mr. Blair’s published speech), we find these words under the sub-head—


I have several times felt the necessity of alluding to the opposition which this bill has encountered from the friends of the antagonistic system of education, known as the parochial or denominational system of schools. That opposition has been of so inveterate and influential a character that it has done more than any other cause, in my judgment, to endanger its enactment into law, and I have felt, very much against my personal inclination, that it was a duty to say here and at this time that the developments of the last few years, more particularly those immediately preceding the present time, have satisfied me that around this measure is concentrated now a great struggle, the result of which will bear strongly upon the fate of the public-school system of our Republic.

I do not complain that those who believe in the opposing system are insincere, that they are not able and upright men, conscientiously believing that the system which they advocate is more for the public good than is the common-school system itself. But that is a question upon which the people of the country must make up their minds; and I feel as as [sic.] though it was my duty to state what I believe to be the fact, that the issue on this bill in this country at the present time is mainly an issue between the public-school system and the opposing system of education for the children of our people.

I have recently, in another connection, stated my views on this subject, and will incorporate them as part of this address to the Senate.

The Jesuits who have undertaken the overthrow of the public-school system of this country are already far advanced in their work. And I desire to say that by “Jesuits” I do not mean simply and alone those who may belong to that order, but I refer to them and to those who sympathize with them in their views of public education and of the proper system for the use of the children of the people at large.

I am aware that some who belong in what are known as Protestant denominations share in the belief that the denominational school is the right school, the better school for the education of the rising generation, and to them all, to this aggregate, I have applied this term, which I think is a proper one, not in any sense offensively, because the Jesuit is, as I understand it, the representative order of education in the Catholic Church. To it more than to any other is committed the charge of education in general, and they specially represent and execute the policy of the Vatican in regard to the training of youth and in political affairs.

Having thus made all to be Jesuits who believe in denominational schools, he holds all to be but parts of one grand system of “opposition” to the public school, and further says:—

I do assert that the issue between these two systems of instruction is a national issue, that it is already joined, and that the public-school system is getting the worst of it so far.—Page 1543 (93 of printed speech).

Therefore he proposes to rally the power of the national Government to crush out the parochial and the denominational school. And the right of the national power to do this is thus asserted:—

I do believe that what I said was then true, and is true now, that the Nation has the right and the power of self-defense, and that it may go to any lengths, the State and the parent failing, to secure the education of the children of the country; that it is injudicious to do so unless there be a necessity, but if the necessity was complete and total, then the Nation might assume complete and total charge of the education of the children who are to be the Nation; if the necessity was partial and the remedy does not come, it is the duty of the Nation to find and apply the remainder of it as a matter of self-defense, but to wait long, patiently, and urgently upon the parent and the State, and to aid the parent and the State through their own exertions to accomplish this end to the uttermost before falling back upon its own agencies, its own control. And I believe further that the obligation of the Nation, the constitutional obligation, to guaranty to the States governments republican in form, also imposes the obligation to guaranty needful education, by which alone the guaranty of republican government can be best made good. That affirmative guaranty which the Nation must make good to the State can be best redeemed by insuring to the State the means of educating its children; for a republican form of government can be maintained in no way but as it is based upon universal intelligence.

This bill was first framed and introduced eight years ago. It has passed the Senate three times already, and is now up for the fourth. Eight years ago, therefore, the necessity of national control was partial, and this bill was intended as the remedy for that partial necessity. But, he says, in the issue that “is already joined” between “these two systems of instruction,” the public-school system “is getting the worst of it so far.” We do not believe a word of this that the public school is getting the worst of it, but it is all the same so far as the intention of this legislation is concerned.

Now the denominational school is established and conducted above everything else to teach religion, a thing which the public school cannot properly teach. As, according to Mr. Blair’s idea, the public-school system is getting the worst of the contest; as the necessity for national interference was partial eight years ago, and as the public-school system has continued all this time to get the worst of it, the necessity, according to the same measure, is fast becoming “complete and total;” and therefore the time has come for the Nation to “assume complete and total charge of the education of the children.” But, as it is the specific work of the denominational school to teach religion and as the Nation must assume complete and total charge of the education of the children, it therefore becomes necessary for the Nation to assume total charge of the teaching of religion. And Mr. Blair is prepared for this, and has proposed that the Nation shall prepare for it in the following amendment to the national Constitution:—

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled (two-thirds of each House concurring therein), That the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States be, and hereby is, proposed to the States, to become valid when ratified by the Legislatures of three-fourths of the States, as provided in the Constitution:—


SECTION 1. No State shall ever make or maintain any law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

SEC. 2. Each State in this Union shall establish and maintain a system of free public schools adequate for the education of all the children living therein, between the ages of six and sixteen years, inclusive, in the common branches of learning, in of virtue and morality, and in knowledge of the fundamental and non-sectarian principles of Christianity. But no money raised by taxation imposed by law or any money or other property or credit belonging to any municipal organization, or to any State, or to the United States, shall ever be appropriated, applied, or given to the use or purposes of any school, institution, corporation, or person, whereby instruction or training shall be given in the doctrines, tenets, beliefs, ceremonials, or observances peculiar to any sect, denomination, organization, or society, being, or claiming to be, religious in its character, nor shall such peculiar doctrines, tenets, beliefs, ceremonials, or observances, be taught or inculcated in the free public schools.

SEC. 3. To the end that each State, the United States, and all the people thereof, may have and preserve governments republican in form and in substance, the United States shall guaranty to every State, and to the people of every State and of the United States, the support and maintenance of such a system of free public schools as is herein provided.

SEC. 4. That Congress shall enforce this article by legislation when necessary.

That is the object of the Blair educational bill. And that is why we said at the beginning of this article that between the bill and the proposed amendment there is not a great deal of difference in the distinction. The bill is but a step to the amendment. The bill is but an immense bribe offered to the States to allow the thin edge of the wedge to be entered, to be followed by the whole body of the wedge sent home by the curshing blows of the national power. The bill pretending to be but an expression of tender solicitude for the educational interests of the States, is in reality the expression of a purpose to “assume complete charge of the education of the children,” usurping the place of the parent and the Church as well as of the individual States.

And the author of that bill, the inventor of such an ulterior and far-reaching scheme, will stand on the floor of the United States Senate, in the presence of the Nation, and denounce as “opponents of the public schools” and as [99] “Jesuits” the opponents of this infamous scheme!

If ever there was framed a more Jesuitical document than the Blair Educational bill we should like to see it. And to realize that the United States Senate has passed it three times, is more astonishing still.

In the words of Stanley Matthews upon a like subject we close this article: “I protest against this doctrine. Its application would be a monstrous tyranny. Its idea is pagan, not Christian.”

A. T. J.

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