Charles Beard, “A Statement”

Category : Founding, History

It has been insinuated by certain authorities of Columbia University that I resigned in a fit of unjustified petulance, and I, theretofore, beg to submit the following statement:
1. My first real experience with the inner administration of the university came with the retirement of Professor john W. Burgess. For some time before his withdrawal, his work in American constitutional law had been carried by Professor X and it was the desire of the members of the faculty that the latter should be appointed Ruggles Professor to succeed Mr. Burgess. But Mr. X had published a book in which he justified criticism of the Supreme Court as a means of bringing our constitutional law into harmony with our changing social and economic life.

Source: The New Republic (29 December 1917): 249-51

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Charles Beard, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States

Category : Economics, Founding, History

The following pages are frankly fragmentary. They are designed to suggest new lines of historical research rather than to treat the subject in an exhaustive fashion. This apology is not intended as an anticipation of the criticism of reviewers, but as a confession of fact. No one can appreciate more fully than I do how much of the work here outlined remains to be done. The records of The Treasury Department at Washington, now used for the first time in connection with a study of the formation of the Constitution, furnish a field for many years’ research, to say nothing of the other records, printed and unprinted, which throw light upon the economic conditions of the United States between 1783 – 1787.

Source: NY: Macmillian, 1921

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Nicholas Butler, “Commencement Speech to Columbia University”

Category : Founding

President Nicholas Murray Butler of Columbia University, in an address at a luncheon of alumni held in the university gymnasium at the close of the commencement exercises yesterday, denounced members of the university who resist the Government in time of war.

“Virtue and valor are so general among American youth,” he said, “as to be in danger of becoming commonplace, while vice and cowardice stick out their horrid heads in ways that, at least for the moment, attract and often enchain public attention. For every instance of failure to rise to the high plane of patriotic duty and loyal service there have been here a hundre, yes, a thousand, instances of a splendid and contrary sort.”

Source: The New York Times (7 June 1917)

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“Columbia Ousts Two Professors Foes of War Plans”

Category : Founding

Two members of Columbia University Faculty – Professor James McKeen Cartell of the Department of Psychology and Assistant Professor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Dana of the Department of English and Comparative Literature – were ousted from the university at a meeting of the Trustees yesterday afternoon upon charges that they had disseminated doctrines tending to encourage a spirit of disloyalty to the Government of the United States.

Source: The New York Times (2 October 1917)

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 Herbert Croly, “The Advent of Direct Government”

Category : Founding, Politics

The Federal Constitution is in many other respects besides its amending clause a most unsatisfactory instrument for a courageous and thoroughgoing democracy. In the not very remote future it will have to be modified in certain essential matters – both by amendment and by interpretation. In the present connection, however, the discussion of the detailed character of these amendments need not detain us. As soon as public opinion is aroused to the plain fact that the amending clause is the most formidable legal obstacle to the democratizing of the American political system, that article of the Constitution will become the centre of attack.

Source: Progressive Democracy v.3 (NY: Macmillan), 1914

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Herbert Croly, “A School of Social Research”

Category : Founding

After the debacle of the Franco-Prussian war, Frenchmen began to consider seriously and searchingly how far their country’s defeat by Germany could be attributed to past neglect in organizing education. As a result of this inquiry many changes were subsequently introduced into the educational system, and among the innovations there was one which should be of peculiar interest to Americans of today. A group of private citizens started the Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiques, the object of which was to train students for public administration and to apply scientific methods to the subject matter and the problems of politics.

Source: The New Republic (8 June 1918): 167-71

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John Dewey, “Art as Experience”

Category : Arts, Founding

By one of the ironic perversities that often attend the course of affairs, the existence of the works of art upon which formation of an esthetic theory depends has become an obstruction to theory about them. For one reason, these works are products that exist externally and physically. In common conception, the work of art is often identified with the building, book, painting, or statue in its existence apart from human experience. Since the actual work of art is what the product does with and in experience, the result is not favorable to understanding. In addition, the very perfection of some of these products, the prestige they possess because of a long history of unquestioned admiration, crates conventions that get in the way of fresh insight. When an art product once attains classic status, it somehow becomes isolated from the human conditions under which it was brought into being and from the human consequences it engenders in actual life-experience.

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John Dewey, “Education as Growth” and “Experience and Thinking”

Category : Education, Founding

The following pages embody an endeavor to detect and state the ideas implied in a democratic society and to apply these ideas to the problems of the enterprise of education. The discussion includes an indication of the constructive aims and methods of public education as seen from this point of view, and a critical estimate of the theories of knowing and moral development which were formulated in earlier social conditions, but which still operate, in societies nominally democratic, to hamper the adequate realization of the democratic ideal. As will appear from the book itself, the philosophy stated in this book connects the growth of democracy with the development of the experimental method in the sciences, evolutionary ideas in the biological sciences, and the industrial reorganization, and is concerned to point out the changes in subject matter and the method of education indicated by these developments.

Source: Democracy and Education (NY: Macmillian, 1916)

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John Dewey, “My Pedagogic Creed” 

Category : Education, Founding

I believe that all education proceeds by the participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This process begins unconsciously almost at birth, and is continually shaping the individual’s powers, saturating his consciousness, forming his habits, training his ideas, and arousing his feelings and emotions. Through this unconscious education the individual gradually comes to share in the intellectual and moral resources which humanity has succeeded in getting together. He becomes an inheritor of the funded capital of civilization. The most formal and technical education in the world cannot safely depart from this general process. It can only organize it; or differentiate it in some particular direction.

Source: School Journal ,  54 (1897): 77-80

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John Dewey, The Influence of Darwin on Philosophy

Category : Founding, Philosophy

An elaborate preface to a philosophic work usually impresses one as a last desperate effort on the part of its author to convey what he feels he has not quite managed to say in the body of his book. Nevertheless, a collection of essays on various topics written during a series of years may perhaps find room for an independent word to indicate the kind of unity they seem, to their writer, to possess. Probably every one acquainted with present philosophic thought – found, with some notable exceptions, in periodicals rather than in books – would term it a philosophy of transition and reconstruction. Its various representatives agree in what they oppose – the orthodox British empiricism of two generations ago and the orthodox Neo-Kantian idealism of the last generation – rather than in what they proffer.

Source: NY: Henry Holt, 1910: ch. 1

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Ira Katznelson, “Reflections on the New School’s Founding Moments, 1919 and 1933”

Category : Education, Founding

From its very beginning, the new school has wrestled with the consequences of unfreedom, fear, and insecurity, working to advance John Milton’s ringing affirmation of 1643: “Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties.” It has tried to emulate Thomas Huxley’s call, when he was installed as rector of Aberdeen University in 1874, that “universities should be places in which thought is free from all fetters, and in which all sources of knowledge and all aids of learning should be accessible to all comers, without distinction of creed or country, riches or poverty.”

Source: Social Research, Vol 76 : No 2 : Summer 2009.

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Elsie Clews Parsons, “Satisfaction of Social Categories” and “Women”

Category : Anthropology, Founding, Women

In any study of the relations between personality and social classification the queries arise why the social categories are alike so compulsive to the conservative-minded and so precious, why they are given such unfailing loyalty, why such unquestioning devotion? To offset the miseries they allow of or further, the tragedies they prepare, what satisfaction do they offer? Do they serve only as measures against change, as safeguards to habit, – this is the answer I once suggested, – raising barriers between those most apt to upset one another’s ways, the inevitably unlike, the unlike in sex, in age, in economic or cultural class?

Source: Social Rule (NY: GP Putnam”s Sons, 1916)

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