English 6.

Debate for Thursday, May 12. 1892.

Question: "Resolved, That the A. B. degree should be conferred on the completion of sixteen courses."

Brief for the Affirmative:


Best references: Atl. Mo., Aug. 1890, LXVI, 161-170; Andover Rev., Jan. 1890, XIII, 75-79; Educat. Rev., Jan. 1891, I, 1-7; Harv. Mo., July, 1890, X, 206 f; Jan. 1891, XI, 127-137; Jan. 1891, XIII, 114 f.; Pres. Eliot's Reports, 1885 86, p. 14; 1886-87, pp. 14, 16, 75, 76; 1887-88, pp. 12, 83; 1888-89, p. 21; Nation 1888-90, XLIX-LI, passim.

I. There is a very general demand that the A. B. degree be brought within the reach of more men: Educ. Rev. I, 1-7; Nat. XLIX, 425. - (a). This can be done only by reducing the requirements in time and expense: Atl. Mo., LXVI, 196. - (b). The standard is now too exacting: Pres. Eliot's Rep. 88-89. p. 21; Harv. Mo., XI, 127-137. - (c). Without relief the number of college graduates will diminish.

II. Colleges should adopt some new plan. - (a). To protect genuine scholars against the loss of time caused by the slow progress of idle classmates. - (b). To enable professional students to shorten their college course: Nation, XLIX, 425. - (c). This is shown by decrease in per cent. of college graduates. - (1). In professional schools: Ed. Rev. I, 4-5. - (2). In the population at large: Harv. Mo. XI, 129.

III. If the requirements for the A. B. degree are reduced to sixteen courses. - (a). The evil will be remedied better than by any other method proposed. Atl. Mo., LXVI, 163-7, Nat. LI, 107, XLIX, 425. - (b). Existing customs will not be disturbed: Harv. Mo, XIII, 114. - (c). The standard will be normal: Harv. Mo. XI, 135. - (d). More men can gain a college education: Harv. Mo. XI; 135; Atl. Mo., LXVI, 161-3. - (e). Will reduce college term to three years for those men only who need it and otherwise could not get the A. B. degree: Ed. Rev., I, 9. - (f). The general culture men will not be affected: Nat., LI, 107. - (g). Serious workers would be passed into the graduate school: Harv. Mo., XI, 135.

Brief for the Negative.


General references: Minority Report of Faculty to Board of Overseers, Jan. 6, 1891: Prof. Mac Vane in Harvard Monthly March, '91; in Pres. "Shortening and Enriching the Grammar School Course," pamphlet Pres. Eliot's address before N. E. Ass. of Coll. and Prep. Schools, Oct. 16, 1891.

I. The degradation of the A. B. degree would be injurious. - (a). To the higher scholarship. The A. B. degree has always been the standard of a liberal education: Pres. Eliot in Cent. Mag. June, 1884, p. 203 - (b). To secondary schools, by fitting poor teachers: Wm. C. Collar in Boston Journal, April 4, 1891. - (c). To Harvard's influence for it reverses her policy of raising the standard, pursued for the last thirty years: Minority Rep. p. 15.

II. The chief advantages of the three years plan are secured by the present system. - (a). The number of men graduating in three years is constantly increasing: Min. Rep. p. 12. - (b). Professional work may be anticipated: Ibid.

III. The experience of England is against a three years course, rather than in favor - (a). At Oxford by far the largest number of men graduate in four years: Min. Rep. p. 21. - (b). At Cambridge, where the course is limited by statute to three years, most men anticipate a year's work before entrance: Ibid. - (c). The English Universities have practically abandoned what is proposed to us as an experiment.

III. The remedy for the late age at which Harvard graduates enter professional life lies in better methods in lower schools: Prof. D. Collin Wells in Andover Rev Jan. 1892. - (a). Exeter can demand of applicants of over sixteen years of age, only "some knowledge of arithmetic, writing, spelling and grammar:" Minority Rep. p. 19. - (b). Our primary schools are not sufficiently organized, vide chart in addresses and proceeding of New E. Ass. of Colleges and Prep. Schools, Oct. 16, 1891. - (c). French and German youth pass Americans at the primary and grammar school stage: Ibid.