EDUCATION IN THIS COUNTRY A HALF CENTURY AGO.
The ease with which it is possible to acquire a liberal education now, as compared with the state of affairs fifty years ago, is clearly shown in an article on the "New Education," which has recently been published. At this date, one is accustomed to look back on the methods of a half century ago with perhaps a little amusement; and so it is with some surprise that we read, "that the life of the country in that period was in some respects peculiarly favorable to the progress of a superior class of students." However one is somewhat reassured in his feelings of advancement, when the article states, "but that education, either as a philosophy or a practical accomplishment was other than painfully narrow, mechanical, and unnatural in its ordinary condition, he must be a bold man who would affirm." the author then goes on to say, that "there have been within the last fifty years two remarkable movements in popular education which have also largely modified the academical schools. In 1830, New England was the undisputed leader in American education. The system of training was fixed by the leading colleges and academies and was everywhere of the same type. The college curriculum centered on the classics and the mathematics, with marked attention to that type of mental and moral philosophy most in favor with the clerical class. Science was taught chiefly from text-books, with history, modern languages, and English literian in a rapidly diminishing scale. These institutions were all under the influence of the different religious denominations, and their presidents adn professors were largely drawn from the clergy. The higher education was only for men, there being no schools for girls in the country where a thorough college course could be obtained. Indeed, neither the capacity of the sex for the higher education nor the propriety of it were acknowledge outside a few circles of advanced thought. The higher education was chiefly valued as the preparation for professional life, and the number of non-professional students in all colleges was very small. The academy, when more than an elementary school was a little college ; its courses of study adjusted to the curriculum of the university, and its methods of instruction a close imitation thereof."