- Dec 2017
and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization.
This jumped out at me, as many modern-day Americans who associate with the country's founding fathers are extremely backward looking. Here, the founding fathers themselves denounce the native people for "looking backward not forward," yet, modern day "confederates" or children of confederates derive their arguments from "looking backward." They believe that the country was better off back in the day. Using the founding fathers' logic, this would make these white supremacists "chained to barbarism and wretchedness." How ironic. I would have to agree with this statement in part. While I do not that the founding father's value of education and curiosity necessarily made them superior to the natives, I do believe that good things are found in looking forward, cultivating knowledge, and challenging and developing what we hold to be true.
And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.
Was behavior and "correct action" a large part of early University education? From the sound of the way the students mistreated professors and especially the slaves that kept the school, it did not seem as though "correct action" and reflection were important values. Morality and kindness are concepts that, while not new, are more stressed in education in modern day than at least in the recent past. Furthermore, it seems that many students found happiness from disobedient behaviors and drinking. Edgar Allen Poe was such an anomaly because he was actually interested in his studies.