Chap 1F2: Education in Other Countries

166 Different educational plans and institutions took place in other ages and nations.

167 In the ancient Greek republic, every free citizen was instructed in gymnastic exercises and music, under the public magistrate.

  • Gymnastic exercises were intended to:
    • harden his body,
    • sharpen his courage, and
    • prepare him for war.
  • The Greek militia was one of the best in the world.
    • Their public education completely answered its purpose.
  • Music was intended to:
    • humanize the mind,
    • soften the temper, and
    • make the mind perform the social and moral duties of life.


168 In ancient Rome, the exercises of the Campus Martius had the same purpose as the Gymnasium in ancient Greece.


Campus Martius

  • They answered that purpose equally well.
  • But the Romans did not have the musical education of the Greeks.
  • Roman public and private morals were much superior to those of the Greeks.
    • Polybius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus knew both Rome and Greece.
      • They have testimony that Roman morals were superior in private life.
    • Greek and Roman history accounts the superiority of Roman public morals.
  • The good temper and moderation of contending factions were the most essential circumstances in the public morals of a free people.
    • But the Greek factions were almost always violent and sanguinary.
    • No blood was ever shed in any Roman faction until the time of the Gracchi.
      • From the time of the Gracchi, the Roman republic was dissolved.
  • The very respectable Plato, Aristotle, Polybius thought that Greek musical education had a great effect in mending Greek morals
    • Mr. Montesquieu supports this with very ingenious reasons.
    • However, I think that it had no effect, because without any musical education, Roman morals were superior.
    • The respect of Plato, Aristotle, Polybius for their ancestors’ institutions probably disposed them to find much political wisdom in a mere ancient custom.
      • This custom continued uninterrupted from the earliest to the most refined periods of those societies.
  • “Music and dancing are the great amusements of almost all barbarous nations.”
    • They are great accomplishments for entertaining one’s society.
    • It is so presently among the negroes on the African coast.
    • According to Homer, it was so among:
      • the ancient Celts,
      • the ancient Scandinavians and
      • the ancient Greeks before the Trojan war.
        • When the Greek tribes formed themselves into little republics, the study of those accomplishments naturally became part of public education for a long time.

169 The masters who instructed the young people in music or military exercises were not paid or appointed by the state either in Rome or Athens.

  • The state required that every free citizen should learn his military exercises to defend it in war.
    • But it left him to learn them from the masters he could find.
    • It only gave a public field where he should practise his exercises.


170 In the early ages of the Greek and Roman republics, the other parts of education consisted in learning to read, write, and compute according to the math of the times.

  • The richer citizens frequently acquired these skills at home through a domestic teacher, who was a slave or a freed-man.
  • The poorer citizens learned them in the schools of masters who taught for hire.
  • Such education were left to the care of each individual’s parents or guardians.
    • The state never inspected or directed them.
  • By a law of Solon, children were free from maintaining their parents in old age, if the parents neglected to instruct them in some profitable trade.


171 In the progress of refinement, philosophy and rhetoric came into fashion.

  • The better sort of people used to send their children to the schools of philosophers and rhetoricians to be instructed in those fashionable sciences.
    • But those schools were not supported.
      • They were barely tolerated by the public.
  • For a long time, the demand for philosophy and rhetoric was so small that the first teachers could not find constant employment in any one city.
    • They were obliged to travel about from place to place.
      • Zeno of Elea, Protagoras, Gorgias, Hippias, and many others lived in this way.
  • As the demand increased, the schools of philosophy and rhetoric became stationary first in Athens and afterwards in other cities.
    • However, the state never encouraged them further.
    •  It assigned some of them a place to teach in:
      • The Academy to Plato
      • The Lyceum to Aristotle
      • The Portico to Zeno of Citta, the founder of the Stoics
      • Epicurus bequeathed his gardens to his own school.
  • Marcus Antoninus was a philosophical emperor.
    • Until his time, no teacher had any:
      • salary from the public, nor
      • any other emoluments but what arose from the fees of his scholars.
    • According to Lucian, the bounty Marcus Antonius bestowed on a philosophy teacher probably lasted as long as the teacher’s life.
  • There was nothing equal to the privileges of graduation.
    • Attending those schools was not needed to practise any trade or profession.
    • The law did not:
      • force anybody to go to schools, nor
      • reward anybody for going to them.
  • The teachers had no jurisdiction over their pupils.
    • Their only authority was the natural authority that skilled and virtuous teachers have over their students.


172 At Rome, the study of the civil law was part of the education of some particular families and not of the citizens.

  • The young people who wished to study law, had no public school to go to.
    • They could only study law by frequenting the company of their relations and friends who understood it.
  • Many of the laws of the 12 tables were copied from the laws of the ancient Greek republics.
    • Yet law was never a science in any ancient Greek republic.
  • In Rome it became a science very early.
    • It gave a high degree of illustration to those who understood it.
  • In the ancient Greek republics, particularly in Athens, the ordinary courts of justice consisted of numerous, disorderly bodies of people.
    • They frequently decided at random or as clamour, faction, and party spirit happened to determine.
    • The ignominy of an unjust decision, when it was to be divided among 500 to 1,500 people (some of their courts were so numerous), could not fall very heavy on any individual.
  • On the contrary, the principal courts of justice at Rome had one or a few judges who deliberated in public.
    • Their character would always be very much affected by any rash or unjust decision.
    • In doubtful cases, they would naturally shelter themselves under the example or precedent of the judges before them in order to avoid blame.
      • This attention to practice and precedent formed the Roman law into that regular and orderly system delivered down to us.
    • Other countries which gave the same attention created the same effects on their laws.
  • The superiority of Roman character over the Greeks was so much remarked by Polybius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.
    • It probably owed more to the better constitution of their courts of justice than to any circumstance those authors ascribe it.
    • The Romans were distinguished for their superior respect to an oath.
      • But the people who made oaths before a diligent and well-informed court of justice would naturally be much more attentive to what they swore than those who swore before mobbish and disorderly assemblies.

173 The civil and military abilities of the Greeks and Romans were at least equal to any modern nation.

  • We overrate them.
  • The Greek and Roman states did not strive to form those abilities, except in military exercises.
  • I cannot believe that the Greek musical education helped form those abilities.
  • Masters were found for teaching the better sort of people in every art and science necessary for their society.
    • The demand for such instruction produced what it always produces, the talent for giving it.
  • An unrestrained competition never fails to excite emulation.
    • This emulation brought that talent to a very high degree of perfection.
  • The ancient philosophers were much superior to any modern teachers in:
    • the attention they excited,
    • the empire they acquired over the opinions and principles of their auditors, and
    • their faculty of giving a certain tone and character to those auditors’ conduct and conversation.
  • In modern times, the diligence of public teachers is corrupted by the separation of their success and their reputation in teaching.
    • The salaries of public teachers put the private teacher, who competes with them, in the same state as a merchant who trades without a bounty competing with merchants who have a big bounty.
      • If he sells his goods at the same price, he cannot have the same profit.
        • He will be bankrupt and ruined.
      • If he attempts to sell them dearer, he will have so few customers.
  • The privileges of graduation are necessary or at least extremely convenient to most men of learned professions.
    • But those privileges can be obtained only by attending the lectures of the public teachers.
    • The most careful attendance to the ablest instructions of any private teacher cannot always give any title to them.
    • Because of these, the private teacher of the sciences which are taught in modern universities is considered the lowest order of men of letters.
      • This is the most humiliating or unprofitable employment for a man of real abilities.
  • The endowment of schools and colleges have:
    • corrupted the diligence of public teachers, and
    • rendered it almost impossible to have any good private teachers.


174 If there are no public educational institutions, only the sciences and systems which were necessary, convenient, fashionable, and in demand would be taught.

  • A private teacher could never get by teaching a science that was:
    • exploded, antiquated, but useful, and
    • universally believed to be a useless and pedantic heap of sophistry and nonsense.
  • Such systems and sciences can only subsist in incorporated societies for educating people whose wealth is independent of their reputation and industry.
  • If there were no public educational institutions, a gentleman who completes all the available education would not be ignorant of worldly subjects.


Women’s Education

175 There are no public educational institutions for women.

  • There is accordingly nothing useless, absurd, or fantastic in their common education.
  • They are taught what their parents judge necessary or useful for them to learn and nothing else.
  • Their education is used to:
    • improve the natural attractions of their person,
    • form their mind to reserve, modesty, chastity, and economy,
    • make them the mistresses of a family, and
    • make them behave properly when they have become such.
  • In every part of her life, a woman feels some conveniency or advantage from her education.
    • A man seldom derives any conveniency or advantage from the most laborious and troublesome education.


176 Should the public give no attention to the people’s education?

  • If it should give any, what are the parts of education which it should attend to in the different orders of people?
    • How should it to attend to them?


177 In some cases, the state places most individuals in situations that allow them to  naturally develop almost all the abilities and virtues required by that state, without any government attention.

  • In other cases, the state does not place individuals in such situations.
  • Some government attention is needed to prevent the people’s corruption and degeneracy.


178 In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of most of people becomes confined to a few very simple operations, frequently to one or two.

  • But the understandings of most men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments.
  • The man who performs a few, simple, unchanging operations his whole life, does not commonly need to exert his understanding or find ways to remove difficulties which never occur.
    • He naturally loses the habit of such exertion.
    • He generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as possible for a human to become.
    • The torpor of his mind renders him incapable of:
      • relishing any rational conversation
      • conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment
      • forming any just judgement about the ordinary duties of private life
    • He is incapable of judging the great and extensive interests of his country.
    • He is equally incapable of defending his country in war.
      • The uniformity of his stationary life naturally corrupts the courage of his mind.
        • It makes him abhor the irregular, uncertain, and adventurous life of a soldier.
        • It corrupts even the activity of his body.
        • It renders him incapable of exerting his strength with vigour and perseverance in any other employment.
    • His dexterity at his own trade is acquired at the cost of his intellectual, social, and martial virtues.
  • In every civilized society, this is the state of the labouring poor or most of the people, unless the government prevents it.


179 It is otherwise in the barbarous societies of hunters, shepherds, and husbandmen.

  • In such societies, the varied occupations of every man oblige them to:
    • exert their capacity
    • invent expedients for removing difficulties continually occurring
  • Invention is kept alive.
    • The mind does not fall into that drowsy stupidity.
  • In a civilized society, it seems to benumb the understanding of the inferior ranks of people.
    • In those barbarous societies, every man is a warrior.
      • Every man too is in some measure a statesman.
        • He can form a tolerable judgement about:
          • his society’s interest and
          • the conduct of its leaders.
        • Almost everyone in his society knows how good their chiefs are as judges in peace or as leaders in war.
      • In such a society, no one can acquire the improved and refined understanding which a few men can have in a more civilized state.
    • A rude society has more variety in individual occupations.
      • But there is little variety in the occupations of the whole society taken together.
      • Every man does almost everything which any other man does.
      • Every man has a considerable degree of knowledge, ingenuity, and invention, but no one has a great degree of them.
        • What they have is sufficient only for conducting the simple business of society.
  • In a civilized state, on the contrary, there is little variety in individual occupations.
    • But there is an almost infinite variety in the occupations of the whole society.
    • A few people are not attached to a particular occupation.
      • They have leisure and inclination to examine the occupations of other people
      • These varied occupations present an almost infinite variety of objects to their contemplation.
      • The contemplation of such a variety of objects exercises their minds in endless comparisons and combinations.
        • It renders their understandings extraordinarily acute and comprehensive.
      • Unless those few were placed in very particular situations, their great, honourable abilities may contribute very little for their society’s happiness.
      • All the nobler parts of the human character may be extinguished in the people.


180 In a civilized society, the education of the common people requires perhaps the public’s attention more than those of people of rank and fortune.

  • People of some rank and fortune are generally 18 or 19 years old before they enter their business or profession, wherein they hope to distinguish themselves.
    • Before that, they have time to acquire every accomplishment which can make them worthy of the public esteem.
    • Their parents or guardians are anxious that they should be so accomplished.
      • In most cases, they are willing to spend for that purpose.
    • If they are not always properly educated, it is because of:
      • the improper spending, and not from the lack of spending for education,
      • the negligence and incapacity of the available teachers, not from the lack of teachers, and
      • the difficulty of finding more skilled teachers.
  • The employments of people of rank or fortune are not simple and uniform like those of the common people.
    • They are almost all extremely complicated.
    • They exercise the head more than the hands.
    • They generally have a lot of leisure.
    • Their intellect seldom grows torpid from the lack of exercise.
    • They may perfect themselves in every useful or ornamental knowledge.

181 It is otherwise with the common people.

  • They have little time to spare for education.
  • Their parents cannot afford to maintain them even in infancy.
  • As soon as they are able to work, they must get employment to earn their subsistence.
    • That employment is generally so simple and uniform.
      • It gives little exercise to the understanding.
      • Their labour is so constant and so severe.
        • It leaves them little leisure and less inclination to think of anything else.

182 The most essential parts of education are to:

  • Read
  • Write
  • Compute

Common people cannot be so well instructed as rich people.

  • However, this essential education can be acquired so early in life.
  • Most of those bred to the lowest occupations can acquire them before they are employed.
  • For a very small cost, the public can facilitate, encourage, and impose essential education on the people.

183 The public can facilitate this by establishing a little school in every district where children may be taught for a very small fee that even a common labourer can afford.

  • The teacher is partly paid by the public.
    • If he was wholly or principally paid by the public, he would soon neglect teaching.
  • In Scotland, such schools has taught almost all common people to read and many of them to write and compute.
  • In England, charity schools have the same effect though not so universally, because charity schools are not so universal.
  • The literary education of children would perhaps be complete if, in those little schools:
    • the books for little children were more instructive
    • they were taught basic geometry and mechanics instead of useless Latin
  • Almost all common trades require geometry and mechanics
    • Those trades gradually exercise and improve the common people in those very sublime and useful sciences.

184 The public can encourage basic education by giving small premiums and little badges of distinction to excellent children.

185 The public can impose basic education on people by obliging every man to undergo an exam before he can be allowed to set up any trade.

186 Similarly, the Greeks and Romans maintained their martial spirit by encouraging and even imposing the need for military and gymnastic exercises.

  • They appointed a place for learning and practising those exercises.
    • They allowed teachers to give training in that place.
      • Those teachers did not have salaries nor any exclusive privileges.
        • Their whole reward came from their scholars.
  • A citizen trained in the public Gymnasia had no legal advantage over one who trained privately as long as the private learner trained equally well.
  • Those republics encouraged those exercises by bestowing little premiums and badges of distinction on those who excelled in them.
    • The prize in the Olympic games gave honour to the winner and his family.
  • Every citizen was obliged to serve a number of years in the army.
    • It imposed the need for learning those exercises, without which he could not be fit for the army.


187 Modern Europe proves that in the progress of improvement, military exercises and the martial spirit of the people gradually decays unless the government supports it.

  • The security of every society must always depend on the people’s martial spirit.
  • Presently, that martial spirit alone, without a standing army, would be insufficient to defend any society.
    • But where every citizen had the spirit of a soldier, a smaller standing army would be needed.
      • That spirit would very much reduce the dangers to liberty commonly seen from a standing army.
      • It would very much help that army’s operations against a foreign invader.
        • It would likewise obstruct them if they were directed against the state.


188 The ancient institutions of Greece and Rome were much more effective in maintaining the people’s martial spirit than the establishment of modern militias.

  • Those ancient institutions were much more simple.
    • After their establishment, they executed themselves.
    • It required little from government to maintain them in perfect shape.
  • On the other hand, modern militias require the continual and painful attention of the government to maintain.
  • The influence of the ancient institutions was much more universal.
    • They completely instructed the people in the use of arms.
    • Whereas only a very small part of them can ever be so instructed by the regulations of any modern militia, except that of Switzerland.
  • But a coward is as mutilated and deformed in his mind as a disabled person is deformed in his body.
    • A coward is more wretched and miserable than a disabled person, because happiness and misery reside in the mind.
    • He must depend more on the state of the mind than the state of the body.
  • The people’s martial spirit prevents that mental mutilation, deformity, and wretchedness which cowardice brings.
    • The martial spirit prevents that mental deformity from spreading through the people.
    • It deserves the most serious attention of government even if it provides no physical defence.
    • This is the same way that leprosy or any loathsome disease must be prevented by government from spreading, even if preventing its spread did not bring any other benefit.


189 The same thing may be said of the gross ignorance and stupidity in a civilized society.

  • It frequently benumbs the understandings of all inferior people.
  • A man with no human intelligence is more contemptible than even a coward.
    • He seems more mutilated and deformed in his mind.
  • Government must pay attention that such people should be instructed, even if the country derives no advantage from their instruction.
    • The more they are instructed, the less liable they are to the delusions of enthusiasm and superstition.
      • These cause the most dreadful disorders among ignorant nations.
  • “An instructed and intelligent people, are always more decent and orderly than an ignorant and stupid one.”
    • Each person feels more respectable to his superior.
    • Each person is therefore more disposed to respect his superiors.
  • They can better examine the interested complaints of faction and sedition.
    • They are less apt to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary opposition to government.
  • In free countries, the safety of government depends very much on the favourable judgement from its people.
    • They must not judge rashly or capriciously concerning it.

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