Charles W. Eliot: president of Harvard University (May 19, 1869-May 19, 1909)

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Houghton Mifflin company, 1909 - Education, Higher - 89 pages

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Page 34 - With good methods we may confidently hope to give young men of twenty or twenty-five an accurate general knowledge of all the main subjects of human interest, besides a minute and thorough knowledge of the one subject which each may select as his principal occupation in life.
Page 49 - The pursuits of peace seem to pall for lack of risk and adventure. Would it might turn its energies and its longing for patriotic and heroic emotion into the immense fields of beneficent activity which sanitation, preventive medicine, and comparative medicine offer it ! There are spiritual and physical triumphs to be won in these fields infinitely higher than any which war can offer ; for they will be triumphs of construction and preservation, not of destruction and ruin. They will be triumphs of...
Page 66 - ... in a family stock free opportunity to develop, is immeasurably more beneficial to a nation than any selective in-breeding, founded on class distinctions, which has ever been devised. Since democracy has every advantage for producing in due season and proportion the best human types, it is reasonable to expect that science and literature, music and art, and all the finer graces of society will develop and thrive in America, as soon as the more urgent tasks of subduing a wilderness and organizing...
Page 39 - The true greatness of States lies not in territory, revenue, population, commerce, crops or manufactures, but in immaterial or spiritual things; in the purity, fortitude and uprightness of their people, in the poetry, literature, science and art which they give birth to, in the moral worth of their history and life. With nations, as with individuals, none but moral supremacy is immutable and forever beneficent.
Page 58 - Since it is a fundamental object of a democracy to promote the happiness and well-being of the masses of the population, the democratic school should explicitly teach children to see and utilize the means of happiness which lie about them in the beauties and splendors of nature.
Page 57 - Do we not all know many people who seem to live in a mental vacuum — to whom, indeed, we have great difficulty in attributing immortality, because they apparently have so little life except that of the body? Fifteen minutes a day of good reading would have given any one of this multitude a really human life. The uplifting of the democratic masses depends on this implanting at school of the taste for good reading.
Page 42 - Classics, like other studies, must stand upon their own merits; for it is not the proper business of universities to force subjects of study, or particular kinds of mental discipline, upon unwilling generations; and they cannot prudently undertake that function, especially in a country where they have no support from an established church, or from an aristocratic organization of society, and where it would be so easy for the generations, if repelled, to pass the universities by.
Page 66 - American women unsurpassable in grace and graciousness, in serenity and dignity, in effluent gladness and abounding courtesy ? Now, the lady is the consummate fruit of human society at its best. In all the higher walks of American life there are men whose bearing and aspect at once distinguish them as gentlemen. They have personal force, magnanimity, moderation, and refinement; they are quick to see and to sympathize; they are pure, brave, and firm.
Page 37 - It takes a hurricane to blow wheat away. An atmosphere of intellectual freedom is the native air of literature and science. This University aspires to serve the nation by training men to intellectual honesty and independence of mind. The Corporation demands of all its teachers that they be grave, reverent, and high-minded; but it leaves them, like their pupils, free. A university is built, not by a sect, but by a nation.
Page 57 - The next function of education in a democracy should be the firm planting in every child's mind of certain great truths which lie at the foundation of the democratic social theory. The first of these truths is the intimate dependence of each human individual on a multitude of other individuals, not in infancy alone, but at every moment of life — a dependence which increases with civilization and with the development of urban life.

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