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Last spring at about this time the CRIMSON published an editorial criticizing the conduct of Government 1. The course had lapsed into an unimaginative sterility that made it tedious and unprofitable to the student, no matter how anxious he might be to acquire some intelligent knowledge of the subject. It is pleasant to report that no such charge could now be made. Under the direction of Professor Holcombe, Government 1 has undergone a reorganization that has made it one of the most stimulating and productive courses in the curriculum.
The most significant mark of this renaissance is the outside reading prescribed during the past year. The books are not merely repositories of facts which must be painfully mastered and reproduced for examinations; they are both interesting for their own sakes and thought provoking. Starting with J. H. Robinson's "The Mind in the Making," they include works by such varied authors as Lenin, Walter Lippman, President Lowell, and John Stuart Mill. For a man in college to cover such a list means to know what some of the keenest minds of the world have thought about the relations between a state and its citizens, and thus to pave the way for intelligent opinions upon the problems that confront his own generation.
There are still rough spots that might well be eliminated from Gov 1. In the lectures last winter, the material presented was often diluted with trivialities far more than was necessary to keep the course within the mental range of a Freshman. Similarly, the emphasis placed upon various topics discussed was not always commensurate with their real importance. As for that perennial blight of large courses, section meetings, they are still of little value to the man who has covered the assignments for himself. But time should remedy the first defect and the second will be solved when section men can be chosen for their teaching ability and not for their scholastic achievements. Meanwhile Professor Holcombe has to his credit the resoue from stagnation of a course that fills a role as important as any that Harvard has to offer.
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