Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/655

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STATE EDUCATION: A NECESSITY.

power must be the sovereign will. The Cloister and the Castle, the Church and the State, at different stages have severally presented their peculiar claims to 'wield the scepter of education. And the supreme control is now, in England and in America, fast passing from the Church to the state. Is the growth in this direction sound and normal? The integral elements certainly have more freedom, the intellectual powers more activity, and the forces and laws of nature are made more thoroughly subservient to the wants of the whole. We can not, therefore, say that in this direction the movement is abnormal, or that a result of a disastrous character will arise. The state organism indeed seems, so far, the most efficient. And England, believing in its healthy growth, even in elementary knowledge, now makes a strong appeal, not to the Church but to the state (not in its unorganized elements, but in its sovereign capacity) for the education of all her people. Is the appeal unwise? Can the results be anything but beneficial?

It is safe to believe that as human society advances it develops step by step relations of a wider, better, and different character; transferring responsibilities once peculiar to the lower to the next higher relation. The child of the family in turn becomes the man of the tribe, and the member of the tribe becomes the citizen of the state or nation. In this forward movement the family may have had absolute control during the age of childhood. In the next stage parental government is modified, or terminated, and yields to the dominant claims of the tribe. In the still wider national relation, the tribal government, embracing whatever there may be of culture in war and peace, at once yields to the supreme demands of the state or nation.

The child passes in any organized society through all the grades in the related social state. In the same order also government passes on, until it rests in the control of sovereignty, the state. And the right of the state to the custody and control of the citizen is as complete as the right of the parent to the control of the infant child. These are only the natural laws belonging to the several relations in the growth of society in all artificial conditions, under all governments. State control, therefore, comes into rightful exercise of authority over the education of every human being entitled to the privileges and protection of government. The particular age at which state authority may rightfully interfere in this relation is a matter of state policy and sovereign discretion.

All arguments, therefore, of the writer against either the right or the policy of the state, in exercising control over the education of the subject, rest upon a theory quite erroneous, upon the superior right of the parent over the control of the entire education of the coming citizen of the higher organization.

Mr. Herbert asks the pertinent question, "Could education be supplied without official assistance?" This question he answers in the