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Education and Democracy the Meaning of Alexander Meiklejohn, 1872-1964

by Adam R. Nelson

  • ISBN: 9780299171407
  • ISBN10: 029917140X

Education and Democracy the Meaning of Alexander Meiklejohn, 1872-1964

by Adam R. Nelson

  • List Price: $34.95
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Wisconsin Pr
  • Publish date: 05/01/2001
  • ISBN: 9780299171407
  • ISBN10: 029917140X
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Description: This is the definitive biography of Alexander Meiklejohn, one of the most important and controversial educators and civil libertarians of the twentieth century. A charismatic teacher and philosopher with extrordinarily high expectations for democratic self-government in the United States, Meiklejohn was both beloved and reviled during his long life. Brilliant and dedicated, he could also be stubborn and arrogant, and his passion for his own ideals led to frequent clashes with prominent and powerful critics.

The son of reform-minded, working-class immigrants from Scotland, Meiklejohn rejected the spiritually agnostic and politically instrumentalist philosophies of his Progressive-Era contemporaries, many of whom, he argued, simply took democracy for granted. As dean of Brown University at the outset of the twentieth century, he lamented the disintegration of the old classical curriculum and questioned the rising influence of amoral science in modern higher education. He served as president of Amherst College during the culturally turbulent years of World War I, as director of the famous Experimental College at the University of Wisconsin during the late 1920s and early 1930s, and as a delegate to UNESCO after World War II.

Meiklejohn was a self-proclaimed idealist living in an increasingly pragmatic age, and his central question remains essential today: How can education teach citizens to be free?

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