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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/347

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FEMALE EDUCATION.

among themselves. Dr. Clarke, in his most instructive book, "Sex in Education; or, a Fair Chance for Girls," pointed out to the American people the risks of forcing young women's brains, and the actual consequences that American physicians found to have resulted from that process. After pointing out that, as a matter of fact, girls in American schools work seven or eight hours a day, he says: "Experience teaches that a healthy and growing boy may spend six hours of force daily on his studies, and leave sufficient margin for physical growth. A girl can not spend more than four, or, in occasional instances, five hours of force daily upon her studies, and leave sufficient margin for the general physical growth that she must make in common with a boy, and also for her own development." In Dr. Beard's book on "American Nervousness: its Causes and Consequences," he says that, as the result of a large number of circulars sent to schools, the replies were sufficient to clearly show that "nearly everything about the conduct of the schools was wrong, unphysiological and unpsychological, and that they were conducted so as to make very sad and sorrowing the lives of those who were forced to attend them. It was clear that the teachers and managers of these schools knew nothing of and cared nothing for those matters relating to education that are of the highest importance, and that the routine of the schools was such as would have been devised by some evil one who wished to take vengeance on the race and the nation. . . . Everything pushed in an unscientific and distressing manner, nature violated at every step, endless reciting and lecturing and striving to be first—such are the female schools of America at this hour. The first signs of ascension as of declension in nations are seen in women. As the foliage of delicate plants first shows the early warmth of spring and the earliest frosts of autumn, so the impressible, susceptive organization of woman appreciates and exhibits far sooner than that of man the manifestation of national progress or decay."

It must be distinctly understood that my facts and arguments only apply to the young woman of average type and of average strength. There are plenty of individual examples, where there is naturally so much brain and strength that a very high kind of general masculine education can be given from thirteen to twenty without impairing the development. In such brains there is room for much learning and much affection and many charms. The reasoning power, the muscles, the fat, and the affections may be all equally developed in them.

It may be too, I am not prepared to deny it, that an education may be good for the individual in many cases, opening up sources of intellectual happiness, that is bad for the race. On the other hand, there is some truth in Beard's aphorism, that "ignorance is power as well as joy" to many men and women.

From a scientific point of view, I am well aware that the weak