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3. Germany has . . . .
Turkey has .
192,000 182,562 182,400 180,496 163,200 160,800 148,448 100,928 92,112 90,000 27,376 22,144 20,480 15,296 10,000
The same authority states that “ the territory of the United States, according to Mr. Hutchins, contains a million of square miles.”
The population of this infant nation in 1790 was 3,950,000. In Europe no nation at that time had as large a population as we have to-day. Indeed, only three had above one half our present inhabitants.
Russia . . . . . . . . 20,000,000
Spain (10,000,000), Italy (16,000,000), and Great Britain (11,000,000) together had but 37,000,000, which is less than the United States to-day.
It is not strange, therefore, that the statesmen of this country, seeing we had a population of less than 4,000,000, with a territory embracing a million square miles, while the mother country had a population three times as great, but a territory one tenth as large, - it is not strange that the statesmen of that day should sup
pose that our country would never need more land. But to-day our population is 40,000,000, ten times the number of ninety years ago, and our territory embraces 3,600,000 square miles, nearly four times the area of that early day.
I have made this digression in order to show more forcibly the greatness of our country to-day, its growth, its possibilities, and the responsibilities we are under to perpetuate it, and to transmit it with lustre undimmed to the ages to come.
Whatever drawbacks may appear, whatever ill shapes and frightful spectres 'are now seen in the near hori. zon, it is probably, nevertheless, true that no nation upon this globe in any age can show a more rapid or steadier growth, a greater advancement in the arts, sciences, inventions, manufactures, commerce, agriculture, and general enlightenment of the people in any hundred years of all time.
But it is also probable that republican principles and republican institutions will be subjected to a greater strain, a more severe trial, during the generation now coming upon the stage, than they have ever yet been called to endure. The signs of the times are unmistakable.
The government is substantially in the hands of Congress. The senators and representatives are chosen from all the walks of life, to represents the interests of their State, — it may be Maine or Oregon, Michigan or Florida. This country embraces nearly twenty-five degrees of latitude, and sixty degrees of longitude, exclusive of the Territory of Alaska, with all its diversified interests of agriculture, manufactures, and commerce, with all the diverse peculiarities of habit and thought, principles and prejudices, of the people. To all this must be added the ignorance and the corruption to be found in Congress. It may be, as asserted by a recent writer, that “there is no branch of economic science on which so much ignorance exists as in that of money." Whether this be true or not, certain we are that the average congressman needs more light upon the subject.
It may be that we are prepared, by the foregoing considerations, for the following proposition :
To provide for the perpetuity of our institutions, the property of the State must educate the children of the State. Each parent, whether rich or poor, intelligent or ignorant, cannot be left to educate his own children or not, as he may see fit; but the State, under the primary law of self-preservation, must say to every parent, “ Your children must be educated. They must not be permitted to grow up in ignorance, and thus become aiders and abettors of demagogues and a government of demagogues. They must be nurtured to intelligence, and to this end the State must provide for the education of all the children of the State, and this provision must be made by general taxation.”
The truism has been already expressed, that a popular government, to be stable, must be founded upon the intelligence of the people. It is absolutely impossible that such a government should endure, dependent as it is upon the popular vote, unless the voters are suffciently educated to vote intelligently.
Consider any important election. With what class in the community rests the balance of power? Who are the men whose votes can be changed? A certain class of men will surely vote one way. Another class will as certainly vote the other way. No argument will turn them ; no political claptrap, no sarcasm, no prejudice, no promises, no threats, no offices will buy them. The questions involved are fairly understood by them, and their minds are made up. But there is generally a large class in every community who fail utterly to understand the questions at issue, and if they did understand them, a few dollars or a fair promise would change their vote from one side to the other. This is usually the class to whom the office-seeker addresses himself. The consequence is that, in too many cases, the most ignorant class in the community control the election. The entire power of the demagogue depends upon this class. Therefore, take away ignorance from among the voters, and the power of demagogism is gone.
This is the impregnable position taken by those who advocate general taxation for educational purposes. Indeed, it will be difficult to defend this principle upon any other ground.
But it must necessarily follow that, in justice, in moral honesty, a fair equivalent should be given to the State as such, for the maintenance which the schools receive at its hands.
Convince the people that the public schools do not render to the State a fair equivalent for the money expended, and the appropriations will cease with the present fiscal year, and they ought to cease.
It is not enough to teach a boy to read and write, not sufficient that he understand accounts, so that he may do business and earn a living for himself and his family ; but it is essential that he be taught his duty to the State, and the principles of the government, in order that he may know his duty.
If you wish the public schools to be intrenched strongly in the hearts of the people, especially in the hearts of the tax-payers, let such measures be taken as shall show beyond a doubt that the schools are really protecting, defending, and preserving the Constitution and the government, that they are really making the government safe, incapable of being subverted by all the political demagogues in the land, and that moment the purses of the tax-payers are untied, and the entire contents subject to the needs and demands of the school authorities.
In other words, to strengthen the public schools in the highest degree, to secure for them the most generous and the most liberal support, we must make them as useful as possible to the State.
The curriculum of the schools is full to overflowing. With all the cologies and the -osophies of the scientific course, the mathematics and the ancient languages must not be crowded or cramped, plą.ce must be made for modern languages, and all well supplemented with the underlying principles of trades and the various mechanical industries.
Yet it is plain to see that the great mistake is that we have not yet recognized the fact that the principles of the government and the duties of the freeman should underlie all these studies. The primary object of the schools should not be to prepare the young to earn an honest living, but to make honest and useful men, to teach them to perform their duty faithfully to society.
In no other country is it so important that these duties and these principles be faithfully impressed upon the minds of the rising generation, for no other nation has so much at stake, and no other has such grave and important duties devolving upon its citizens.