Page images
PDF
EPUB

AUTHOR'S PREFACE

It was in the library of the University of Bonn, many years ago, as I sat before an alcove of educational works and leisurely examined the admirable histories by Raumer and Karl Schmidt, that the thought and purpose of preparing this work were first conceived. In view of the poverty of our literature in educational history, it seemed to me that such a work, by exhibiting the pedagogical principles, labors, and progress of the past, might be helpful to teachers in America.

The history of education, viewed from the standpoint of the philosophy of history, has been traced in its relations with the social, political, and religious conditions of each country. While the results of French and German scholarship in this field have been utilized, the original sources of information whenever accessible have been consulted. As far as was consistent with the limits of this volume, the great teachers of all ages have been allowed to speak for themselves—a method that appeared more satisfactory than to paraphrase or epitomize their views.

Avoiding such matters of detail as serve only to confuse and oppress the memory, I have endeavored to present clearly the leading characteristics of each period, and the labors and distinctive principles of prominent educators. Considerable prominence has been given to

Comenius, Pestalozzi, Froebel, and other educational reformers, who laid the foundations of the scientific methods now coming into general use. In support or illustration of various statements, recognized authorities have been permitted to speak freely.

In preparing this history my position has been, as I believe, that of conservative progress. While what is valuable in educational theory and practise is to be retained, and novelties are to be subjected to rigid scrutiny, it does not seem wise, in view of the fact that the science of education is yet incomplete, to reject summarily all changes and reforms as unnecessary and hurtful innovations. In the sphere of higher education I have not allied myself either to the humanists or the realists, believing that the truth lies between these two extremes. In every department of education I have been able to discover progress, and it is my confident hope that the agitations of the present will issue in a system more nearly perfect than any yet devised.

Thus far the original preface. After seventeen yearsnearly double the life of the average text-book—it has been a delight to take up, with the larger resources time has brought, the work of a thorough revision. The result has been practically a new book. Though the original framework, which left nothing to be desired, has been retained, various improvements have been made. Both friendly and unfriendly criticism has been helpful. Most of the book has been rewritten, and subtitles, which will prove useful both to teacher and student, have been introduced. In nearly all cases the original sources of information have been examined; and I wish to express here my obligation to the Commissioner of Education, Dr. W.

T. Harris, through whose kindness I was able to avail myself of the excellent library of the Bureau of Education. Much new matter, especially studies of Richter, Kant, Herbart, Jacotot, Horace Mann, and Herbert Spencer, has been added. The underlying principles of the present movements in education have been considered. A list of authorities has been appended.

In conclusion, I desire to express my gratitude for the cordial reception accorded the original work, and to add the hope that the present revised and enlarged edition will be found still more acceptable and useful.

F. V. N. PAINTER. SALEM, VA., September, 1904.

« PreviousContinue »