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NICHOLAS MURRAY BUTLER Professor of Philosophy and Education in Columbia University, New York






Principal of the Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, Alabama




I INTRODUCTION I could make no more fitting introduction to this monograph — dealing with a race which has grown from twenty native Africans imported into the country as chattel slaves in 1619, to fully 10,000,000 of free men, entitled under the federal constitution to all the rights, privileges and immunities of citizens of the United States, in 1899— than to reproduce here in part the eloquent remarks of President William McKinley, made at Chicago, October 9, 1899, showing in the fewest possible words the national growth in population, in territory and in material wealth, a growth which has no parallel in the various history of the human race, only comprehending, as it does, a little more than a century of national life. President McKinley said:

“On the reverse side of the great seal of the United States, authorized by congress, June 20, 1782, and adopted as the seal of the United States of America after its formation under the Federal constitution, is the pyramid, signifying strength and duration.

“The eye over it and the motto allude to the many signal interpositions of Providence in favor of the American cause. The date underneath, 1776, is that of the declaration of independence, and the words under it signify the beginning of a new American era which commences from that date. It is impossible to trace our history since, without feeling that the Providence which was with us in the beginning, has continued to the nation His gracious interposition. When, unhappily, we have been engaged in war He has given us the victory.

“Fortunate, indeed, that it can be said we have had no clash of arms which has ended in defeat, and no responsibility resulting from war is tainted with dishonor. In peace we have been signally blessed, and our progress has gone

matters of its internal policy — was prophesied

- by Bishop Berkeley, in the lines that follow, which have endeared their author's memory to all lovers of education and liberty in America :

The Muse, disgusted at an age and clime

Barren of every glorious theme,
In distant lands now waits a better time

Producing subjects worthy fame.
In happy climes, where from the genial sun

And virgin earth such scenes ensue,
The force of art by Nature seems outdone,

And fancied beauties by the true;
In happy climes, the seat of innocence,

Where Nature guides and virtue rules,
When men shall not impose for truth and sense

The pedantry of courts and schools —
There shall be sung another golden age,

The rise of empire and of arts,
The good and great inspiring epic rage,

The wisest heads and noblest hearts.

Westward the course of Empire takes its way;

The first four acts already past,
A fifth shall close the drama with the day.

Time's noblest offspring is the last.

Our country is now divided into four distinct groups of states — the New England, the middle, the southern and western states- but it can of truth be said that all of them have drawn their theories of education, of theology and statesmanship, from the ten states in the middle and New England group, especially from the latter. The sixteen states in the southern group have not profited so much from this source as the nineteen states in the central and western group, but they have been influenced in a very marked way since the war of the rebellion, and are being more and more influenced now, by the work of New England men and women engaged in the active work of education among the Negroes of the southern states.

The development of the common-school principle kept pace with that of the population in New England from the

governing principle been weakened ? Is there any present menace to our stability and duration ?

“These questions bring but one answer. The republic is sturdier and stronger than ever before. Government by the people has been advanced. Freedom under the flag is more universal than when the Union was formed. Our steps have been forward, not backward. From Plymouth Rock to the Philippines the grand triumphant march of human liberty has never paused. Fraternity and union are deeply imbedded in the hearts of the American people. For half a century before the civil war disunion was the fear of men of all sections. That word has gone out of the American vocabulary. It is spoken now only as an historical memory. North, south, east and west were never so welded together, and while they may differ about internal policies they are all for the Union and the maintenance of the integrity of the flag.”

II DEVELOPMENT OF POPULAR EDUCATION As the early efforts to educate the Negroes of the sixteen southern states, after the war of the rebellion, in 1865,they were declared no longer to be slaves, but human beings with souls to be saved and intellects to be cultivated, to the end that they might be the better prepared to discharge the serious obligations of manhood and citizenship,- are intimately connected with the development of the common school system of New England, it will be necessary here to describe in as brief a manner as possible the growth of popular education in those states. If this principle of popular education had not been so firmly rooted in the heart and conscience of the people of the New England states by the Pilgrim fathers, the history of education of the Negroes would have been distinctly different and, perhaps, not possible at all. The spirit which actuated these sturdy pioneers from the old world, who have blazed the way for American civil and religious liberty and the development of a system of popular education which has come to permeate the entire republic — forty-five mighty states, each sovereign in all

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