Early Advocacy for Public Education

From the first moment of life, men ought to begin learning to deserve to live; and, as at the instant of birth we partake of the rights of citizenship, that instant ought to be the beginning of the exercise of our duty. If there are laws for the age of maturity, there ought to be laws for infancy, teaching obedience to others: and as the reason of each man is not left to be the sole arbiter of his duties, government ought the less indiscriminately to abandon to the intelligence and prejudices of fathers the education of their children, as that education is of still greater importance to the State than to the fathers: for, according to the course of nature, the death of the father often deprives him of the final fruits of education; but his country sooner or later perceives its effects. Families dissolve, but the State remains.

Should the public authority, by taking the place of the father, and charging itself with that important function, acquire his rights by discharging his duties, he would have the less cause to complain, as he would only be changing his title, and would have in common, under the name of citizen, the same authority over his children, as he was exercising separately under the name of father, and would not be less obeyed when speaking in the name of the law, than when he spoke in that of nature. Public education, therefore, under regulations prescribed by the government, and under magistrates established by the Sovereign, is one of the fundamental rules of popular or legitimate government. If children are brought up in common in the bosom of equality; if they are imbued with the laws of the State and the precepts of the general will; if they are taught to respect these above all things; if they are surrounded by examples and objects which constantly remind them of the tender mother who nourishes them, of the love she bears them, of the inestimable benefits they receive from her, and of the return they owe her, we cannot doubt that they will learn to cherish one another mutually as brothers, to will nothing contrary to the will of society, to substitute the actions of men and citizens for the futile and vain babbling of sophists, and to become in time defenders and fathers of the country of which they will have been so long the children.


Folksonomies: education public education

/family and parenting/children (0.966114)
/law, govt and politics (0.848832)
/education (0.787242)

Political philosophy (0.966265): dbpedia_resource
Government (0.858890): dbpedia_resource
Citizenship (0.773683): dbpedia_resource
Plato (0.678200): dbpedia_resource
State (0.648860): dbpedia_resource
Law (0.631098): dbpedia_resource
Mother (0.621760): dbpedia_resource
Sovereign state (0.609606): dbpedia_resource

 Emile, Or On Education
Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Rousseau, Jean-Jacques (1762), Emile, Or On Education, Retrieved on 2021-10-17
  • Source Material [www.gutenberg.org]
  • Folksonomies: education philosophy