The Universities

The Dutch population of New Amsterdam started a school system in the
year 1621. The first public Latin school was founded in Boston in the
year 1635. The other colonies soon followed. Clearly the English
governor of Virginia, Berkeley, had not quite grasped the spirit of the
New World, when at about that time he wrote home, that, thank God, no
public schools and no printing-press existed here, and when he added his
hope that they would not be introduced for a hundred years, since
learning brings irreligion and disobedience into the world, and the
printing-press disseminates them and fights against the best intentions
of the government. For that matter it was precisely Virginia which was
the first colony, even before Boston and New York, to consider the
question of education. As early as 1619 the treasurer of the Virginia
Company had proposed, in the English Parliament, that 15,000 acres of
land should be set aside in the interests of a school for higher
education. The English churches became interested in the plan, and an
abundant supply of money was got together. Ground and buildings had been
procured for lower and higher instruction and all was in working order,
when in 1622 the fearful Indian war upset everything. The buildings were
destroyed, and all thought of public education was for a long time given
up. This is how that condition came about which so well pleased Governor
Berkeley. But this mishap to the Virginia colony shows at once how the
American system of education has not been able to progress in any
systematic way, but has suffered frequent reverses through war or
political disturbance. And it has developed in the different parts of
the country at a very different pace, sometimes even in quite different
directions. It was not until after the Civil War—that is, within the
last thirty years—that these differences have to a large extent been
wiped out. It is only to-day that one can speak of a general American
system. The outsider will, therefore, come to a better understanding of
the American educational system if he begins his study with conditions
as they are to-day, for they are more unified and therefore easier to
understand, than if he were to try to understand how the present has
historically come from the complicated and rather uninteresting past.

So we shall not ask how the educational system has developed, but rather
what it is to-day and what it aims to be. Even the present-day
conditions may easily lead a German into some confusion, because he is
naturally inclined to compare them with the conditions at home, and such
a comparison is not always easy. Therefore, we must picture to ourselves
first of all the fundamental points in the system, and describe its
principal variations from the conditions in Germany. A few broad strokes
will suffice for a first inspection.

The unit of the system in its completest form is a four years’ course of
instruction. For the easier survey we may think of a boundary drawn at
what in Germany would be between the Obersekunda and Prima of a
Gymnasium or Realschule. Now, three such units of the system lie before
and two after this line of demarcation. The son of a well-to-do family,
who is to study medicine in Harvard University, will probably reach this
line of demarcation in his eighteenth year. If he is advanced according
to the normal scheme he will have entered a primary school at six years
of age, the grammar school at ten, and the high school at fourteen. Thus
he will complete a twelve years’ course in the public schools. Now he
crosses our line of demarcation in his eighteenth year and enters
college. And as soon as he has finished his four years’ course in
college he begins his medical studies in the university, and he is
twenty-six years old when he has finished. If we count in two years of
early preparation in the kindergarten, we shall see that the whole
scheme of education involves twenty-two years of study. Now, it is
indeed possible that our young medical student will have progressed
somewhat more rapidly; perhaps he will have reached the high school
after six instead of eight years of study; perhaps he will finish his
college course in three years, and it may be that he will never have
gone to kindergarten. But we have at first to concern ourselves with the
complete plan of education, not with the various changes and
abbreviations of it, which are very properly allowed and even favoured.

The line which we call the great boundary is the time when the lad
enters college. Now, what is the great significance of this moment? The
German, who thinks in terms of Gymnasium and Universität, is almost sure
to fall into a misapprehension; for college is neither the one nor the
other. So far as the studies themselves go, it coincides rather well
with the Prima of the Gymnasium and the first two or three semesters in
the philosophical faculty of the German university. And yet even this by
no means tells one what a college really is. Above all, it does not
explain why the American makes the chief division at the time of
entering college, while the German makes it when he enters the medical
or law school. This needs to be explained most clearly, because very
important factors are here involved, which bear on the future of
American civilization. And so we must give especial attention to college
and the professional schools. But that discussion is to be reserved for
the chapter on the universities. For the present, we have only to deal
with the system of instruction in those schools which prepare for
college.

And so, leaving the kindergarten out of the question, we shall deal with
those three institutions which we have called primary, grammar, and high
schools. Usually, the first two of these are classed together as one
eight years’ course of training. The European will be struck at once
that in this system there is only one normal plan of public education.
The future merchant, who goes to the high school and ends his studies in
the eighteenth year, has to follow the same course of study in the
primary and grammar schools as the peasant and labourer who studies only
until his fourteenth year, and then leaves school to work in the field
or the factory. And this young merchant, although he goes into business
when he is eighteen years old, pursues exactly the same studies as the
student who is later to go to college and the university. Now in fact,
in just this connection the actual conditions are admirably adapted to
the most diverse requirements; the public schools find an admirable
complement in private schools; and, more than that, certain very
complicated differentiations have been brought about within the single
school, in order to overcome the most serious defects of this
uniformity. Nevertheless, the principle remains; the system is uniform,
and the American himself finds therein its chief merit.

The motive for this is clear. Every one, even the most humble, should
find his way open; every one must be able to press on as far as his own
intelligence permits; in other words—words which the American pedagogue
is very fond of uttering—the public school is to make the spirit of
caste impossible. It is to wipe out the boundaries between the different
classes of society, and it is to see to it, that if the farmer’s lad of
some remote village feels within himself some higher aspiration, and
wants to go beyond the grammar school to the high school and even to
college, he shall find no obstacle in his way. His advance must not be
impeded by his suddenly finding that his entrance into the high school
would need some different sort of previous training.

This general intermingling of the classes of society is thought to be
the panacea of democracy. The younger generations are to be removed from
all those influences which keep their parents apart, and out of all the
classes of society the sturdiest youth are to be free of all prejudice
and free to rise to the highest positions. Only in this wise can new
sound blood flow through the social organism; only so can the great
evils incident to the formation of castes which have hindered old Europe
in its mighty progress be from the very outset avoided. The classic myth
relates of the hero who gained his strength because he kissed the earth.
In this way the American people believe that they will become strong
only by returning with every fresh generation to the soil, and if the
German Gymnasia were a hundred times better than they are, and if they
were able to prepare a boy from early childhood for the highest
intellectual accomplishment, America would still find them unsuited to
her needs, because from the outset they are designed for only a small
portion of the people, and for this reason they make it almost
impossible for the great mass of boys to proceed to the universities
from the ordinary public schools.

All of this is the traditional confession of belief of the pedagogue of
the New World. But now since America, in the most recent times, has
nevertheless begun to grow in its social structure considerably more
like antiquated Europe, and sees itself less and less able to overcome
the tendencies to a spirit of caste, so a sort of mild compromise has
been made between the democratic creed and aristocratic tendencies,
especially in the large cities of the East. Nevertheless, any one who
keeps his eyes open will admit that, so far as the public school goes,
intellectual self-perfection is in every way favoured, so that every
single child of the people may rise as high as he will. Grammar school
leads to the high school, and the high school leads to college.

There is another factor which is closely related to the foregoing.
Education is free and obligatory. In olden times there was more the
tendency for the parents of the children, rather than for the general
taxpayer, to pay for the maintenance of the schools. Indeed, there were
times in which the remission of the special school tax was considered
almost an act of charity, which only the poorest of the parents would
accept. But now it is quite different. The school system knows no
difference between rich and poor, and it is a fundamental principle that
the support of the schools is a matter for the whole community. The only
question is in regard to the high school, since after all only a small
percentage of school children comes as far as the high school; and it is
unjust, some say, to burden the general taxpayer with the expenses of
such school.

Nevertheless, on this point the opinions of those have won who conceive
that it is the duty of the community to nurture any effort toward
self-culture, even in the poorest child. The chief motive in olden
times, wherefore the expenses of the schools were paid by all, was that
the school was leading toward religion; to-day the official motive for
the application of taxes to the maintenance of schools is the conviction
that only an educated and cultivated people can rule itself. The right
to vote, it is said, presupposes the right to an education by means of
which every citizen becomes able to read the papers of the day and to
form his own independent opinion on public matters. But since every
public school is open also to the daughters of the citizens who possibly
want the right to vote, but do not so far have it, it becomes clear that
the above-mentioned political motive is not the whole of the matter. It
is enough for technical discussions of taxation, but what the community
is really working for is the greatest possible number of the most highly
educated individuals. Free instruction is further supplemented in
various states—as, for instance, in Massachusetts—by supplying
text-books gratis. Some other states go so far as to supply the needy
children with clothing. The obligatory character of education goes with
the fact that it is free. In this respect, too, the laws of different
states are widely divergent. Some require seven, others eight, still
others even nine years, of school training. And the school year itself
is fixed differently in different states.

These differences between the states point at once to a further fact
which has been characteristic of the American school system from the
very beginning. Responsibility for the schools rests at the periphery;
and in extremely happy fashion the authority is so divided that all
variations, wherever they occur, are adaptations to local conditions;
and nevertheless unity is preserved. A labile equilibrium of the various
administrative factors is brought about by harmonious distribution of
the authority, and this is, in all departments of public life, the
peculiar faculty of the Americans.

The federal government, as such, has no direct influence on education.
The tirelessly active Bureau of Education at Washington, which is under
the direction of the admirable pedagogue, Mr. Harris, is essentially a
bureau for advice and information and for the taking of statistics. The
legal ordinances pertaining to school systems is a matter for the
individual state, and the state again leaves it to the individual
community, within certain limits of course and under state supervision,
to build schools and to organize them, to choose their teachers, their
plans of education, and their school-books. And at every point here,
exactly as in the striking example of the federal Constitution, the
responsibility is divided between the legislative and the executive
bodies. The state inspector of schools is co-ordinate with the state
legislature, and the school inspector of a city or a country district,
who is elected now by the mayor, now by the council, now perhaps
directly by the community, is a sort of technical specialist with
considerable discretionary power; he is co-ordinated to the school
committee, which is elected by the community, and which directs the
expenditures and confirms all appointments.

The responsibility for the moral and intellectual standards, for the
practical conditions, and for the financial liabilities incurred by
every school, rests therefore immediately with the community, which has
to pay for their support, and whose children are to derive advantage.
And nevertheless, the general oversight of the state sees to it that
neither whimsicality nor carelessness abuses this right, nor departs too
widely from approved traditions. These authorities are further
supplemented in that the state legislature is more or less able to make
up for differences between rich and poor districts and between the city
and the country, besides directly carrying on certain normal schools in
which the teachers for the elementary and grammar schools are trained.

Very great and very diverse advantages are the immediate outcome
of this administrative system. Firstly, an interest in the
well-being of the schools is developed in every state, city, and
town, and the spirit of self-perfection is united with the spirit
of self-determination. Secondly, there is a good deal of free play
for local differences—differences between states and differences
within the state. Nothing would have been more unsuitable than in
this whole tremendous territory to institute a rigidly fixed
school system, as say by some federal laws or some interstate
agreements. If there were the same educational provisions for the
negro states of the South and for the Yankee states of New
England, for the thickly settled regions of the East and the
prairies of the West, these provisions would be either empty words
or else they would tend to drag down the more highly educated
parts of the country to the level of the lowest districts. The
German who objects to this on the ground of uniformity, does so
because he is too apt to think of the great similarity which
exists between the different sections of Germany. The only proper
basis for a comparison, however, would be his taking Europe as a
whole into consideration.

If now the outward unity of this system which we have described is
nevertheless to be maintained, it is absolutely necessary that this form
shall be filled with very different contents. And this introduction of
diversity is intrusted to the state legislatures and local authorities,
who are familiar with the special conditions. In this way the so-called
school year in the school ordinances of a rich state may be about twice
as long as in another state whose poorer population is perhaps not able
entirely to do without the economies of child labour. But the
differences between the schools take particularly such a form that the
attainments of the different schools, corresponding to the culture and
prosperity of the state in which they are, and of the community, are
consciously designed to be quite different. The remoter rural schools
which, on account of the poverty of their patronage perhaps, have to get
on with one badly trained teacher and have to carry on four grades of
instruction in one school-room, and other schools which employ only
university graduates, which bring their scholars together in sumptuous
buildings, afford them laboratories and libraries, and have all the
wealth of a great city to back them—these schools cannot seriously enter
into competition with each other. Two years of study in one place will
mean more than four in another; and there is no special danger in this,
since this very inequality has brought it about that the completion of
one grade in a school by no means carries with it the right to enter the
next higher grade of any other school. It is not the case that a scholar
who has passed through any grammar school whatsoever will be welcome in
every high school. This is regulated by an entrance examination for the
higher school, which will not accept merely the certificate of
graduation from a lower.

There are still other forms of this differentiation. In the first place,
the schools have shown a growing tendency to establish various parallel
courses, between which the scholars are allowed to choose. In the
simplest case there is, perhaps, on the one hand a very practical plan
of education, and a second course which is rather more liberal; or,
again, there may be a course for those who are not meaning to study
further, and another course for those who are preparing for the entrance
examinations to some higher school. The fiction of uniformity is
preserved in this way. The child does not, as in Germany, choose between
different schools; but he chooses between plans of education in the same
school, and every day the tendency deepens to make this elective system
more and more labile.

But the most modern pedagogues are not content even with this, and
insist, especially in the grade of the high school, that the make-up of
the course of study must be more and more, as they say, adapted to the
individuality of the scholars; or, as others think, to the whimsies of
the parents and the scholars. Since, in accordance with this, the
entrance examinations for the colleges leave considerable free play for
the choice of specialties, this movement will probably go on developing
for some time. It appeals very cleverly to the instincts of both the
Puritans and the utilitarians. The Puritan demands the development of
all individual gifts, and the utilitarian wants the preparation for an
individual career. Nevertheless, there are some indications of an
opposite tendency. Even the utilitarian begins to understand that he is
best fitted for the fight who bases his profession on the broadest
foundation—who begins, therefore, with his specialization as late as
possible. And the Puritan, too, cannot wholly forget that nothing is
more important for his personal development than the training of the
will in the performance of duty, in the overcoming of personal
inhibitions, and that therefore for the scholar those studies may well
be the most valuable which at the first he seems least inclined to
pursue. Further differentiation results from the almost universal
opportunity to pass through the schools in a somewhat shorter time. It
is also possible for a student to progress more rapidly in one branch of
study, and so in different branches to advance at different rates.

We have over and above all these things, and more particularly in the
large cities, a factor of differentiation which has so far been quite
left out of account. This is the private school. The goal for the
student who wants to advance is not the diploma of graduation, but
preparation for the entrance examinations which are next higher. This
preparation can perhaps be obtained more thoroughly, more quickly, and
under more fortunate social conditions, in a private school, which
charges a high tuition, but in this way is able to engage the very best
teachers, and able perhaps to have smaller classes than the public
schools. And such a private school will be able to extend its influence
over all education. Large and admirably conducted institutions have
grown up, often in some rural vicinity, where several hundred young
persons lead a harmonious life together and are educated from their
earliest youth, coming home only during vacation. In such ways the
private school has taken on the most various forms, corresponding to
obvious needs. They find justly the encouragement of the state.

This diversity which we have sketched of public and private educational
institutions brings us at once to another principle, which has been and
always will be of great significance in American material and
intellectual history—the principle that everywhere sharp demarcations
between the institutions of different grades are avoided, and that
instead, sliding gradations and easy transitions are brought about, by
means of which any institution can advance without any hindrance. This
is in every case the secret of American success—free play for the
creations of private initiative. The slightest aspiration must be
allowed to work itself out, and the most modest effort must be helped
along. Where anything which is capable of life has sprung up, it should
be allowed to grow. Sharp demarcation with official uniformity would
make that impossible; for only where such unnoticeably small steps form
the transitions, is any continuous inner growth to be expected. We have
emphasized the local differences. The grammar school in New York is
probably more efficient than the high school in Oklahoma, and the high
school in Boston will carry its students probably as far as some little
college in Utah.

The thousands of institutions which exist afford a continuous transition
between such extremes, and every single institution can set its own goal
as high as it wishes to. A school does not, by any act of law, pass into
a higher class; but it perfects itself by the fact that the community
introduces improvements, makes new changes, appoints better and better
teachers, augments the curriculum, and adds to its physical equipment.
In such ways, the school year by year imperceptibly raises its standard.
And the same is true of the private school. Everything is a matter of
growth, and in spite of the outward uniformity of the system every
school has its individual standard. If one were to require that only
such institutions should exist as had distinctly limited and similar
aims, then the American would look on this as he would on an attempt to
force all cities to be either of ten thousand, a hundred thousand, or a
million inhabitants. Of course, all this would have to be changed, if as
in Germany, certain school grades carried with them certain privileges.
In America no school diploma carries officially any privilege at all. It
is the entrance examination, and not the tests for graduation, which is
decisive; and if there is any question of filling a position, the
particular schools which the candidates have gone through are the things
which are chiefly taken into account.

We must mention one more trait which differentiates the American from
the German school system. The American public school is co-educational.
Co-education means theoretically that boys and girls are entitled to
common education, but practically it means that boys are also tolerated.
The idea that the school should not recognize differences of sex is most
firmly rooted in the Middle-Western States, where the population is
somewhat coldly matter of fact; but it has spread through the entire
country. It is said that family life lends the authority for such an
intermingling of boys and girls; that, through a constant and mutual
influence, the boys are refined and the girls are made hardy; and that,
during the years of development, sexual tension is diminished. It is one
of the chief attractions that the private school offers to smaller
circles that it gives up this hardening of the girls and refining of the
boys, and is always either a boys’ or a girls’ school.

Even more striking than the presence of girls in the boys’ schools is,
perhaps, the great number of women who figure as teachers. The
employment of women teachers began in the Northern States after the
Civil War, because as a direct result of the decimation of the
population there were not men teachers enough. Since that time this
practice has increased throughout the country; and although high schools
generally try to get men teachers, the more elementary schools are
really wholly in the hands of women. Men do not compete for the lower
schools, since the competition of the women has brought down the wages,
and more remunerative, not to say more attractive, situations are to be
found in plenty. Women, on the other hand, flock in in great numbers,
since their whole education has made them look forward to some
professional activity, and no other calling seems so peculiarly adapted
to the feminine nature. The merits and drawbacks of co-education and of
the predominance of women teachers cannot be separated from the general
question of woman’s rights; and so the due treatment of these conditions
must be put off until we come to consider the American woman from all
sides.

It is not difficult to criticise rather sharply the school system, and
any one living in the midst of American life will feel it a duty to
deliver his criticism without parsimony. A system which expects the best
it is to have, from the initiative of the periphery, must also expect
the ceaseless critical co-operation of the whole nation.

In this way, then, crying and undeniable evils are often pointed out. We
hear of political interference in the government of the schools, and of
the deficient technical knowledge of local authorities, of the
insufficient preparation of the women teachers, the poorness of the
methods of instruction, of waste of time, of arbitrary pedagogical
experiments, and of much else. In every reproach there is a kernel of
truth. The connection of the schools with politics is in a certain sense
unavoidable, since all city government is a party government. And the
attempts to separate elections for the school committee entirely from
politics will probably, for a long time yet, meet with only slight
success. Since, however, every party is able to put its hand on discrete
and competent men, the only great danger is lest the majority of those
concerned misuse their influence for party ends, and perhaps deal out
school positions and advancements as a reward for political services.

Such things certainly happen; but they never escape the notice of the
opposite party, and are faithfully exploited in the next year’s
election. In this way any great abuses are quickly checked. The secret
doings, which have nothing to do with politics, are a great deal more
dangerous. It is certain that the enormous school budgets of the large
cities offer the possibility for a deplorable plundering of the public
treasury, when it is a question of buying new land for school-houses, of
closing building contracts, or of introducing certain text-books. A
committee-man who in these ways is willing to abuse his influence is
able to derive a considerable profit; and so it may well happen that men
come to be on the school boards through political influence or through a
professed interest in school matters, who have really no other aim than
to get something out of it. It is very hard in such matters to arrive at
a really fair judgment, since the rival claimants who are unsuccessful
are very apt to frame the opinion that they have been so because the
successful man had “connections.”

This sharply suspicious tendency and spirit of over-watchfulness on the
part of the public are certainly very useful in preserving the complete
integrity of the schools, but they occasion such a considerable tumult
of rumour that it easily misleads one’s judgment as to the real
condition of the institutions. In general, the school committees
appointed in the local elections perform their work in all
conscientiousness. It is, of course, the fact that they are rather
frequently ignorant of things which they need to know; but the tendency
to leave all technical questions in the hands of pedagogical
specialists, and to undertake any innovations only at the advice of the
school superintendent and directors, is so general that on the whole
things do not go quite so badly as one might expect.

The preparation of the teachers leaves very much to be wished. Those
teachers who have been educated in higher seminaries are by no means
numerous enough to fill all the public school positions; and even less
does the number of college graduates suffice for the needs of the high
schools. The fact that the teaching profession is remarkably versed in
pedagogics only apparently relieves this defect; for even the very best
methods of teaching are of course no substitute for a firm grasp of the
subject which is being taught. In the elementary schools the lack of
theoretical training in a teacher is, of course, less felt. The instinct
of the teacher, her interest in the child, her tact and sympathy, in
short the personal element, are what is here most important. And since
all this, even in the superficially educated woman, springs purely from
her feminity, and since the energetic women are extraordinarily eager
and self-sacrificing, so it happens that almost everywhere the
elementary schools are better conducted by their women teachers than are
the high schools.

So far as method goes, a great deal too much stress is laid on the
text-book; too much is taught mechanically out of the book, and too
little is directly imparted by the teacher. The teacher submits
passively to the text-book; and the American himself is inclined to
defend this, since his democratic belief in the power of black and white
is unlimited. Before all, he regards it as the chief aim of the public
school to prepare the citizen for the independent reading of newspapers
and books. Therefore, the scholars are expected to become as much
acquainted as possible with the use of books. There is no doubt that the
American school children read more newspapers in later life than do the
European, and it must also be borne in mind that for the most part the
text-books are notably good. Perhaps, in regard to attractiveness, they
even go rather too far. In this way not only the books of natural
history, but also of history and literature, are crowded with
illustrations. The geographies are generally lavishly gotten-up volumes
with all sorts of entertaining pictures. The appeals to the eye, both by
means of the text-books and even more by the aid of demonstrations and
experiments, are carried really to excess. Even the blackboards, which
run along all four walls of the school rooms, encourage the teacher to
appeal rather more to the eye than to the ear.

Also the much-discussed experimentation with new pedagogical ideas is an
unfortunate fact which cannot be denied. A central authority, which was
held fully responsible for a large district, would of course be
conservative; but where the details of teaching are left entirely to
every local school inspector, then of course many shallow reforms and
many unnecessary experiments with doubtful methods will be undertaken.
The school inspector will feel himself moved to display his modern
spirit and to show his pedagogical efficiency in just these ways. And
many a private school, in order to make itself attractive to the public,
is obliged to introduce the latest pedagogical foibles and to make all
sorts of concessions, perhaps against its will. To-day the method of
writing will be oblique, to-morrow vertical, and the day after to-morrow
“reformed vertical.” The pupils to-day are taught to spell, to-morrow to
pronounce syllables, the next day to take the whole word as the least
unit in language; and a day later they may be taught the meaning of the
words by means of appropriate movements.

It is not quite easy for a professional psychologist, who lectures every
year to hundreds of students in that subject, to say openly that this
irregular and often dilettante craze for reform is encouraged by nothing
more than by the interest in psychology which rages throughout the
country. The public has been dissatisfied with teachers, and conceived
the idea that everything would be better if the pedagogues concerned
themselves more with the psychical life of their pupils. And since for
this purpose every mother and every teacher has the materials at hand,
there has sprung up a pseudo-psychological study of unexampled
dimensions. It is only a small step from such a study to very radical
reforms. Yet everything here comes back in the end to the independent
interests and initiative of the teacher; and although many of these
reforms are amateurish and immature, they are nevertheless better than
the opposite extreme would be—that is, than a body of indifferent and
thoughtless teachers without any initiative at all.

It is also not to be denied that the American school wastes a good deal
of time, and accomplishes the same intellectual result with a much
greater outlay of time than the German school. There are plenty of
reasons for this. Firstly, it is conspicuous throughout the country that
Saturday is a day of vacation. This is incidental to the Puritan Sunday.
The school day begins at nine o’clock in the morning, and the long
summer vacations are everywhere regarded as times for idleness, and are
almost never broken in on by any sort of work. Again, the home duties
required of the school children are fewer than are required of the
German child, and all the instruction is less exacting. The American
girls would hardly be able to stand so great a burden if the schools
demanded the same as the German boys’ schools. Herewith, however, one
must not forget that this time which is taken from work is dedicated
very specially to the development of the body, to sport and other active
exercises, and in this way the perfection of the whole man is by no
means neglected. Moreover, America has been able, at least so far, to
afford the luxury of this loss of time; the national wealth permits its
young men to take up the earning of their daily bread later than
European conditions would allow.

When the worst has been said and duly weighed, it remains that the
system as a whole is one of which the American may well be proud—a
system so thoroughly elastic as to be suited to all parts of the country
and to all classes of society. It is a system which indubitably, with
its broad foundation in the popular school, embodies all the
requirements for the sound development of youth, and one, finally, which
is adapted to a nation accustomed to individualism, and which meets the
national requirement of perfection of the individual.

And now finally we may give a few figures by way of orientation. In the
year 1902 out of the population of over 75,000,000, 17,460,000 pupils
attended institutions of learning. This number would be increased by
more than half a million if private kindergartens, manual training
schools, evening schools, schools for Indians, and so forth were taken
into account. The primary and intermediate schools have 16,479,177
scholars, and private schools about 1,240,000. This ratio is changed in
favour of the private institutions when we come to the next step above,
for the public high schools have 560,000 and the private ones 150,000
students. The remainder is in higher institutions of learning. To
consider for the moment only the public schools; instruction is imparted
by 127,529 male and 293,759 female teachers. The average salary of a
male teacher is more than $46 a month, and of the female teacher $39.
The expenditures were something over $213,000,000; and of this about 69
per cent. came from the local taxes, 16 per cent. from the state taxes,
and the remainder from fixed endowments. Again, if we consider only the
cities of more than 8,000 inhabitants, we find the following figures: in
1902 America had 580 such cities, with 25,000,000 inhabitants, 4,174,812
scholars and 90,744 teachers in the municipal public schools, and
877,210 students in private schools. These municipal systems have 5,025
superintendents, inspectors, etc. The whole outlay for school purposes
amounted to about $110,000,000.

The high schools are especially characteristic. The increase of
attendance in these schools has been much faster than that of the
population. In 1890 there were only 59 pupils for every 10,000
inhabitants; in 1895 there were 79; and in 1900 there were 95. It is
noticeable that this increase is entirely in the public schools. Of
those 59 scholars in 1890, 36 were in public high schools and 23 in
private. By 1900 there were 25 in private, but 70 in the public schools.
Of the students in the public high schools 50 per cent. studied Latin, 9
per cent. French, 15 per cent. German. The principal courses of study
are English grammar, English literature, history, geography,
mathematics, and physics. In the private schools 23 per cent. took
French, 18 per cent. German, 10 per cent. Greek. Only 11 per cent. of
students in the public high schools go to college, but 32 per cent. of
those in private schools. Out of the 1,978 private high schools in the
year 1900, 945 were for students of special religious sects; 361 were
Roman Catholic, 98 were Episcopalian, 96 Baptist, 93 Presbyterian, 65
Methodist, 55 Quaker, 32 Lutheran, etc. There were more than 1,000
private high schools not under the influence of any church. One real
factor of their influence is found in the statistical fact that, in the
public high schools, there are 26 scholars for every teacher, while in
the private schools only 11.

The following figures will suffice to give an idea of the great
differences which exist between the different states: The number of
scholars in high schools in the state of Massachusetts is 15 to every
1,000 citizens; in the state of New York, 11; in Illinois, 9; in Texas,
7; in the Carolinas, 5; and in Oklahoma, 3. In the private high schools
of the whole country the boys were slightly in the majority; 50.3 per
cent. against 49.7 per cent. of girls. In order to give at least a
glimpse of this abyss, we may say that in the public high school the
boys were only 41.6 per cent., while the girls were 58.4 per cent.

So much for the schools proper. We shall later consider the higher
institutions—colleges, universities, and so forth—while the actual
expanse of the school system in America, as we have said before, is
broader still. In the first place, the kindergarten, a contribution
which Germany has made, deserves notice. Very few creations of German
thought have won such complete acceptance in the New World as Froebel’s
system of education; and seldom, indeed, is the German origin of an
institution so frankly and freely recognized. Froebel is everywhere
praised, and the German word “Kindergarten” has been universally adopted
in the English language.

Miss Peabody, of Boston, took the part of pioneer, back in the fifties.
Very soon the movement spread to St. Louis and to New York, so that in
1875 there were already about one hundred kindergartens with 3,000
children. To-day there must be about 5,000 kindergartens distributed
over the country, with about a quarter of a million children. During
this development various tendencies have been noticeable. At first
considerable stress was laid on giving some rational sort of occupation
to the children of the rich who were not quite old enough for school.
Later, however, philanthropic interest in the children of the very
poorest part of the population became the leading motive—the children,
that is, who, without such careful nurture, would be exposed to
dangerous influences. Both of these needs could be satisfied by private
initiative. Slowly, however, these two extremes came to meet; not only
the richest and poorest, but also the children of the great middle
classes from the fourth to the sixth year, were gradually brought under
this sort of school training. As soon as the system was recognized to be
a need of the entire community, it was naturally adopted into the
popular system of instruction. To-day two hundred and fifty cities have
kindergartens as a part of their school systems.

Meanwhile there has sprung up still another tendency, which took its
origin in Chicago. Chicago probably has the best institution with a four
years’ course for the preparation of teachers for the kindergarten. In
this school not only the professional teachers, but the mothers, are
welcomed. And through the means of this institution in Chicago, the
endeavour is slowly spreading to educate mothers everywhere how to bring
up their children who are still in the nursery so as to be bodily,
intellectually, and morally sound. The actual goal of this very
reasonable movement may well be the disappearance of the official
kindergarten. The child will then find appropriate direction and
inspiration in the natural surroundings of its home, and the
kindergarten will, as at first, limit itself chiefly to those rich
families who wish to purchase their freedom from parental cares, and to
such poor families as have to work so hard that they have no time left
to look after their children. A slow reaction, moreover, is going on
among the public school teachers. The child who comes out of the Froebel
school into the primary school is said to be somewhat desultory in his
activities, and so perhaps this great popularity of the kindergarten
will gradually decrease. Nevertheless, for the moment the kindergarten
must be recognized as a passing fashion of very great importance, and,
so far as it devotes itself philanthropically to children in the poor
districts, its value can hardly be overestimated.

Now, all this instruction of the child before he goes to school is much
less significant and less widely disseminated than those thousandfold
modes of instruction which are carried on for the development of men and
women after they have passed their school days. Any one who knows this
country will at once call to mind the innumerable courses of lectures,
clubs of study, Chautauqua institutions, university extension courses,
women’s clubs, summer and correspondence schools, free scientific
lectures, and many other such institutions which have developed here
more plentifully than in any other country. After having dwelt on the
kindergarten, one is somewhat tempted to think also of these as men and
women gardens. There is really some resemblance to a sort of
intellectual garden, where no painful effort or hard work is laid out
for the young men and women who wander there carelessly to pluck the
flowers. But it is, perhaps, rather too easy for the trained person to
be unjust to such informal means of culture. It is really hard to view
the latter in quite the right perspective. Whosoever has once freed
himself from all prejudices, and looked carefully into the psychic life
of the intellectual middle classes, will feel at once the incomparable
value of these peculiar forms of intellectual stimulation, and their
great significance for the self-perfection of the great masses.



While the kindergarten was imported from Germany, the university
extension movement came from England. This movement, which was very
popular about a decade ago, is decidedly now on the wane. Those forms of
popular education which are distinctly American have shown themselves to
possess the most vigour. There is one name which, above all others, is
characteristic of these native institutions. It is Chautauqua. This is
the old Indian name for a lake which lies very pleasantly situated in
the State of New York, about two hours by train from Buffalo. The name
of the lake has gone over to the village on its banks, the name of the
village has been carried over to that system of instruction which was
first begun there, and now every institution is called Chautauquan which
is modelled after that system. Even to-day the school at Chautauqua is
the fountain-head of the whole movement. Every summer, and particularly
through July and August, when the school-teachers have their vacation,
some ten thousand men and women gather together to participate in a few
weeks of recreation and intellectual stimulation. The life there is
quiet and simple; concerts and lectures are given in the open air in an
amphitheatre which seats several thousand, and there are smaller classes
of systematic instruction in all departments of learning. The teachers
in special courses are mostly professors. The lecturers in the general
gatherings are well-known politicians, officials, scholars, ministers,
or otherwise distinguished personalities. For the sake of recreation,
there are excursions, dramatic performances, and concerts. A few hours
of systematic work every day serve as a stimulus for thought and
culture, while the mutual influence of the men and women who are so
brought together and the whole atmosphere of the place generate a real
moral enthusiasm.

The special courses which range from Greek, the study of the Bible, and
mathematics to political economy, philosophy, and pedagogics, are
supplemented on the one hand by examinations from which the
participators get a certificate in black and white which is highly
prized among teachers; and on the other side, by suggestions for the
further carrying on by private reading of the studies which they have
elected. The enthusiastic banner-bearer of Chautauqua is still to-day
one of its founders, Bishop Vincent. He has done more than any one else
toward bringing harmony into the monotonous and intellectually hungry
lives of hundreds of thousands throughout the country, and especially of
public school teachers. And in this work the instruction, the religious
strengthening, the instillation of personal contentment, patriotic
enthusiasm, æsthetic joy in life, and moral inspiration, are not to be
separated.

When Theodore Roosevelt, who was then governor of New York, spoke in the
Chautauqua amphitheatre to more than ten thousand persons, he turned
enthusiastically to Bishop Vincent and said, “I know of nothing in the
whole country which is so filled with blessing for the nation.” And when
he had finished, the whole audience gave him the Chautauqua salute; ten
thousand handkerchiefs were waved in the air—an extraordinary sight,
which in Chautauqua signifies the greatest appreciation. This custom
began years ago, when a deaf scholar had given a lecture, and while the
thundering applause was sounding which the speaker himself could not
hear, Bishop Vincent brought out this visible token of gratification;
and this form of applause not only became a tradition there, but also
spread to all other Chautauqua institutions throughout the country.
To-day there are more than three hundred of these, many of them in
beautifully situated summer resorts, and some equipped with splendid
libraries, banquet halls, casinos, and clubs. Some of these concentrate
their energies in particular lines of learning, and of course they are
very different in scope and merit. And nevertheless the fundamental
trait of idealism shows through all these popular academies.

Among other varieties of popular instruction there are the attempts at
university extension, which are very familiar. The chief aim is here to
utilize the teaching forces and other means of instruction of the higher
educational institutions for the benefit of the great masses. Often the
thing has been treated as if it were a matter of course, in a political
democracy, that colleges and universities ought not to confine
themselves to the narrow circles of their actual students, but should go
out and down to the artisans and labourers. But it was always asserted
that this education should not consist merely in entertaining lectures,
but should involve a form of teaching that presupposed a certain
participation and serious application on the part of the attendants. And
the chief emphasis has been laid on having every subject treated in a
series of from six to twelve meetings, on distributing to the hearers a
concise outline of the lectures with references to literature, on
allowing the audience after the lecture to ask as many questions as it
desired, and on holding a written examination at the end of the course.
Any one who has passed a certain number of these examinations receives a
certificate. In one year, for example, there were 43 places in which the
University of Philadelphia gave such courses of lectures. The University
of Chicago has arranged as many as 141 courses of six lectures each, in
92 different places. Other higher institutions have done likewise; and
if indeed the leading universities of the East have entirely declined to
take part, nevertheless the country, and particularly the West, is
everywhere scattered with such lecture courses.

These lectures can be divided into two groups; those which are
instructive and educate their hearers, and those which are inspiring and
awaken enthusiasm. The first are generally illustrated with stereopticon
pictures, the last are illustrated with poetical quotations. Here, as
everywhere in the world, the educational lectures are often merely
tiresome, and the inspiring ones merely bombastic. But the reason for
the rapid decline in this whole movement is probably not the bad quality
of the lectures, but the great inconvenience which the lecturers feel in
going so far from their accustomed haunts. It is not to be doubted that
very much good has come after all from this form of instruction. The
summer schools have a similar relation to the higher institutions, but a
much more thorough-going character; and while the university extension
movement is waning, the summer school instruction is on the increase.
First of all, even the leading universities take part in it, although it
is mostly the second violins who render the music; that is to say,
younger instructors rather than the venerable professors are the ones
who teach. High school teachers and ministers often return in this way
to their alma mater, and the necessity of devoting one’s self for six
weeks to a single subject gives to the whole enterprise a very much more
scholarly character. That interesting summer school which was held a few
years ago in Cambridge is still remembered, when Harvard invited at its
own expense 1,400 of the most earnest Cuban school teachers, and
instilled in them through six long weeks something of American culture.

Again, and this quite independent of the higher institutions and of any
formal courses, there are the institutions for free lectures. Indeed,
there are so many that one might almost call them lecture factories. The
receptive attitude of the American public of all classes toward lectures
surpasses the comprehension of the European. In many circles, indeed,
this is positively a passion; and the extraordinary plentifulness of
opportunity, of course, disciplines and strengthens the demand, which
took its origin in the same strong spirit of self-perfection.

A favourable fact is undoubtedly the high perfection to which the
lecture has been cultivated in America. As compared with European
countries, a larger proportion of lectures may fairly be called works of
art as regards both their content and their form. The American is first
of all an artist in any sort of enthusiastic and persuasive exposition.
For this very reason his lectures are so much more effective than
whatever he prints, and for this reason, too, the public flocks to hear
him. This state of things has also been favoured by the general custom
of going to political meetings and listening to political speeches. In
Boston and its suburbs, for example, although it is not larger than
Hamburg, no less than five public lectures per day on the average are
delivered between September and June. In contrast to German views, it is
considered entirely appropriate for lecturers on all public occasions to
receive financial compensation; just as any German scholar would accept
from a publisher some emolument for his literary productions. This is,
of course, not true of lectures at congresses, clubs, or popular
gatherings. In a state like Massachusetts, every little town has its
woman’s club, with regular evenings for lectures by outside speakers;
and the condition of the treasury practically decides whether one or two
hundred dollars shall be paid for some drawing speaker who will give a
distinguished look to the programme; or whether the club will be
satisfied with some teacher from the next town who will deliver his last
year’s lecture on Pericles, or the tubercle bacillus, for twenty
dollars. And so it is through the entire country; the quantity decreases
as one goes South, and the quality as one goes West.

All this is no new phenomenon in American life. In the year 1639
lectures on religious subjects were so much a matter of course in New
England, and Bostonians were so confirmed in the habit of going to
lectures, that a law was passed concerning the giving of such lectures.
It said that the poor people were tempted by the lecturer to neglect
their affairs and to harm their health, as the lectures lasted well into
the night. Scientific lectures, however, came into popular appreciation
not earlier than the nineteenth century. In the first decade of that
century, the famous chemist, Silliman, of Yale University, attained a
great success in popular scientific lectures. After the thirties
“lyceums” flourished throughout the land, which were educational
societies formed for the purpose of establishing public lecture courses.

To be sure, these were generally disconnected lectures, in which
political and social topics predominated. Those were the classic days of
oratory, when men like Webster, Channing, Everett, Emerson, Parker,
Mann, Sumner, Phillips, Beecher, Curtis, and others enthused the nation
with their splendid rhetoric, and presented to the masses with pathos
that we no longer know those great arguments which led to the Civil War.
The activities of later decades emphasized the intellectual side.
Splendid institutions have now been organized for popular lectures and
lecture courses in all the leading cities. Thus the Peabody Institute in
Baltimore, the Pratt Institute in New York, the Armour Institute in
Chicago, and the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia have come into
existence. The catalogue of the lectures and courses which, for
instance, the Pratt Institute announces every winter fills a whole
volume; and nevertheless, every one who pays his annual fee of five
dollars is entitled to take part in all of them. Every day from morning
to night he may listen to lectures by men who are more or less well
known throughout the country, and who come specially to New York in
order to give their short courses of some six lectures.

The highest undertaking of this sort is the Lowell Institute in Boston.
In 1838, after a tour through Egypt, John A. Lowell added a codicil to
his will, whereby he gave half of his large income for the free,
popular, scientific instruction of his native town. The plan that has
been followed for sixty years is of inviting every winter eight or ten
of the most distinguished thinkers and investigators in America and
England to give cycles of six or twelve connected lectures. The
plentiful means of this foundation have made it possible to bring in the
really most important men; and on the other hand, for just this reason
an invitation to deliver the Lowell Lectures has come to be esteemed a
high honour in the English-speaking world. Men like Lyell and Tyndall
and many others have come across the ocean; even Agassiz, the well-known
geologist, came to the New World first as a Lowell lecturer, and then
later settled at Harvard University. Up to this time some five thousand
lectures have been held before large audiences by this institute. The
great advantage which this has been to the population of Boston can in
no wise be estimated, nor can it ever be known how much this influence
has done for the spirit of self-perfection in New England.

In a certain sense, however, we have already overstepped the field of
popular education. The high standard of the Lowell Institute and the
position of its speakers have brought it about that almost every course
has been an original exposition of new scientific lines of thought.
While the other popular courses have got their material second-hand, or
have been at least for the speaker a repetition of his habitual
discourses to students, in the Lowell Institute the results of new
investigations have been the main thing. And so we have come already to
the domain of productive science, of which we shall have later to treat.

One who looks somewhat more deeply will realize that, outside the Lowell
Institute, there is no thought in by far the larger part of these
lectures and readings, of original scientific endeavour. And the
question inevitably comes up, whether the intellectual life of the
country does not lose too much of its strength because the members of
the community who should be especially devoted to intellectual
production are enticed in so many different ways into the paths of mere
reproduction. To be sure, it is never a professional duty with these
men, but the temptation is so great as to overcome the latent resistance
of even the best of them. There are a few, it is true, who see their
highest goal in these popular and artistic expositions of their
department of science; and a few who feel that their highest call, their
most serious life-work, is to bear science philanthropically out to the
masses. But it is different with most of them. Many like the rewards; it
is such an easy way for the ready speaker, perhaps, of doubling his
salary from the university: and especially the younger men whose income
is small, find it hard to resist the temptation, although just they are
the ones who ought to give all their free energy to becoming proficient
in special lines of investigation. Yet even this is not the chief
motive. In countless cases where any financial return to the speaker is
out of the question, the love of rhetoric exerts a similar temptation.
The chief motive, doubtless, is that the American popular opinion is so
extraordinarily influenced by the spoken word, and at the same time
popular eloquence is spread abroad so widely by the press, that not only
a mere passing reputation, but also a strong and lasting influence on
the thought of the people, can most readily be gotten in this way.

And so everything works together to bring a large amount of intellectual
energy into the service of the people. The individual is hardly able to
resist the temptation; and certainly very many thus harm seriously their
best energies. Their popularization of knowledge diminishes their own
scholarship. They grow adapted to half-educated audiences; their
pleasure and capacity for the highest sort of scientific work are
weakened by the seductive applause which follows on every pretty turn of
thought, and by the deep effect of superficial arguments which avoid and
conceal all the real difficulties. This is most especially true of that
merely mechanical repetition which is encouraged by the possession of a
lecture manuscript. If it is true that Wendell Phillips repeated his
speech on the Lost Arts two thousand times, it was doubtless a unique
case, and is hardly possible to-day. Nevertheless, to-day we find most
regrettably frequent repetitions; and a few competent intellects have
entirely abandoned their activities on regular academic lines to travel
through the country on lecture tours. For instance, a brilliant
historian like John Fiske, would undoubtedly have accomplished much more
of permanent importance if he had not written every one of his books, in
the first instance, as a set of lectures which he delivered before some
dozen mixed audiences.

On the other hand, we must not suppose that these lectures before
educational institutions are all hastily and mechanically produced. If
the lectures were so trivial their preparation would demand little
energy, and their delivery would much less satisfy the ambition of those
who write them; and so, on both accounts, they would be much less
dangerous for the highest productiveness of their authors. The level is
really extremely high. Even the audience of the smallest town is rather
pampered; it demands the most finished personal address and a certain
tinge of individuality in the exposition. And so even this form of
production redounds somewhat to the intellectual life of the nation. The
often repeated attempt to depict some phase of reality, uniquely and
completely in a one-hour lecture, or to elucidate a problem in such a
short time, leads necessarily to a mastery in the art of the essay.
Success in this line is made easier by the marked feeling for form which
the American possesses. In a surprisingly large number of American
books, the chapters read like well-rounded and complete addresses. The
book is really a succession of essays, and if one looks more carefully,
one will often discover that each one was obviously first thought out as
a lecture. Thus the entire system of popular education by means of
lectures has worked, beyond doubt, harmfully on creative production, but
favourably on the development of artistic form in scientific exposition,
on the art of essay, and on the popular dissemination of natural and
social sciences and of history and economics most of all.

If one wished to push the inquiry further, and to ask whether these
advantages outweigh the disadvantages, the American would decline to
discuss the problem within these limits; since the prime factor, which
is the effect on the masses who are seeking cultivation, would be left
out of account. The work of the scholar is not to be estimated solely
with reference to science or to its practical effects, but always with
reference to the people’s need for self-perfection. And even if pure
science in its higher soarings were to suffer thereby, the American
would say that in science, as everywhere else, it is not a question of
brilliant achievements, but of moral values. For the totality of the
nation, he would say, it is morally better to bring serious intellectual
awakenings into every quiet corner of the land, than to inscribe a few
great achievements on the tablets of fame. Such is the sacrifice which
democracy demands. And yet to-day the pendulum begins very slowly to
swing back. A certain division of labour is creeping in whereby
productive and reproductive activities are more clearly distinguished,
and the best intellectual energies are reserved for the highest sort of
work, and saved from being wasted on merely trivial tasks.

But even the effect on the masses has not been wholly favourable. We
have seen how superficiality has been greatly encouraged. It is, indeed,
an artificial feeding-ground for that immodesty which we see to spring
up so readily in a political democracy, and which gives out its opinion
on all questions without being really informed. To be sure, there is no
lack of admiration for what is great; on the contrary, such admiration
becomes often hysterical. But since it is not based on any sufficient
knowledge, it remains after all undiscriminating; the man who admires
without understanding, forms a judgment where he should decline to take
any attitude at all. It may be, indeed, that the village population
under the influence of the last lecture course is talking about Cromwell
and Elizabeth instead of about the last village scandal; but if the way
in which it talks has not been modified, one cannot say that a change of
topic signifies any elevation of standard. And if, indeed, the village
is still to gossip, it will seem to many more modest and more amiable if
it gossips about some indifferent neighbour, and not about Cromwell.

On the other hand, we must not fail to recognize that, especially in the
large institutions, as the Chautauquas, and in the university extension
courses and the summer schools, everything possible is done to escape
this constant danger. In the first place, the single lectures are very
much discouraged, and a course of six to twenty lectures rather is given
on a single topic; then the written examinations, with their
certificates, and finally, the constant guidance in private reading have
their due effect. Indeed, the smallest women’s club is particular to put
before its members the very best books which relate to the subjects of
their lectures; and smaller groups are generally formed to study
carefully through together some rather large treatise.

The total amount of actual instruction and intellectual inspiration
coming to the people outside of the schools, is, in these ways,
immeasurable. And the disadvantages of superficiality are somewhat
outweighed by a great increase and enrichment of personality. Of course,
one could ask whether this traditional way is really the shortest to its
goal. Some may think that the same expenditure of time and energy would
give a better result if it were made on a book rather than on a course
of lectures. Yet the one does not exclude the other. Hearing the lecture
incites to the reading of the book; and nowhere is more reading done
than in the United States. There is one other different and quite
important factor in the situation. The man who reads is isolated, and
any personal influence is suppressed. At a lecture, on the other hand,
the peculiarly personal element is brought to the front, both in the
speaker and in the hearer—the spoken word touches so much more
immediately and vitally than the printed word, and gives to thought an
individual colouring. Most of all, the listener is much more personally
appealed to than the reader; his very presence in the hall is a public
announcement of his participation. He feels himself called, with the
other hearers, to a common task. And in this way a moral motive is added
to the intellectual. They both work together to fill the life of every
man with the desire for culture. Perchance the impersonal book may
better satisfy the personal desire for self-perfection, and yet the
lecture will be more apt to keep it alive and strengthen it as a force
in character and in life.

It is indifferent whether this system of popular education, these
lectures before the public, has really brought with it the greatest
possible culture and enlightenment. It is at least clear that they have
spread everywhere the most profound desire for culture and
enlightenment, and for this reason they have been the necessary system
for a people so informed with the spirit of individual self-perfection.

When American industry began, a short time ago, to disturb European
circles, people very much exaggerated the danger, because the event was
so entirely unexpected. The “American peril” was at the door before any
one knew about it, or even supposed that America really possessed an
industry which amounted to anything. It will not be long before Europe
will experience a like surprise in the intellectual sphere. A great work
will certainly appear, as if accomplished in a moment, before any one
supposes that America so much as dreams of science and investigation. At
the time, people tardily said to themselves that such industry could
only have been built on firm rock, and never would have been able to
spring up if American economic life had really been founded, as was then
supposed, on avarice and corruption. And similarly, in the intellectual
sphere, people will have to trace things back, and say in retrospect
that such achievements could not be brought forth suddenly, and that
serious and competent scientific work throughout the country must really
have gone before. It is not here, in this world of intellectual labour,
as in the economic world; there is no question of threatening rivalry,
there is no scientific competition; there is nothing but co-operation.
And yet even here no people can, without danger to its own achievements,
afford to ignore what another nation has done. The sooner that Europe,
and in particular Germany, acquaints itself with the intellectual life
of America, so much more organically and profitably the future labour in
common will develop. For any one who knows the real situation can
already realize, without the gift of prophecy, that in science more than
in other spheres the future will belong to these two countries.

On the part of Germany to-day there prevails an almost discouraging
ignorance of everything which pertains to American universities; and we
may say, at once, that if we speak of science we shall refer to nothing
but the universities. As in Germany, so it is in the United States, in
sharp and notable contrast to France and England, that the academic
teacher is the real priest of science. In England and France, it is not
customary for the great investigator to be at the same time the daily
teacher of youth. In America and Germany he is exactly this. America
has, to be sure, historians and national economists like Rhodes, Lodge,
Roosevelt, Schouler, and others who are outside of academic circles; and
very many lawyers, doctors and preachers, who are scientifically
productive; and her most conspicuous physicists, so far as reputation
goes, like Edison, Bell, Tesla, and so many others, are advancing
science indirectly through their discoveries and inventions. Strictly
speaking, the officials of the scientific institutions at Washington are
likewise outside of the universities, and the greatest intellectual
efficiency has always been found among these men. Nevertheless, it
remains true that on the whole, the scientific life of the nation goes
on in the universities, and that the academic instruction conveyed there
is the most powerful source of strength to the entire American people.

The German still has no confidence in American science, is fond of
dwelling on the amusing newspaper reports of Western “universities”
which are often equivalent to a German Sekunda, or on those
extraordinary conditions which prevailed “a short time ago” in the study
of medicine. This “short time ago” means, however, in the intellectual
life of Germany an entirely different length of time from that which it
means in the New World. One is almost tempted to compare the
intellectual development of Germany and America by epochs in order to
get a proper means of comparing intervals of time in these respective
countries. The primitive times of the Germans, from the days of Tacitus
down to their conversion to Christianity under Charlemagne in about the
year 800, would correspond, then, to the one hundred and fifty years
from the discovery of America up to the beginning of the Puritan era in
1630. The next period would embrace in Germany seven hundred years
more—up to the time when Germany freed itself from Rome. In America this
would be again a century and a half, up to 1776, when the nation freed
itself from England. Then follow after the Reformation during a period
of three hundred years, the Thirty Years’ War, the Renaissance of the
eighteenth century, the downfall of the Napoleonic influence, and,
finally, the war for freedom. And once again the corresponding intervals
on this side of the ocean have been of very much shorter duration;
firstly years of war, then the æsthetic rise in the middle of the
century, then the sufferings of the Civil War, the period of
reconstruction, and, finally, peace. After 1813 a new period commences,
which ends in 1870 with the German amalgamation into a nation.
Historically incomparable with Germany’s great war against the French,
America had in 1898 an insignificant war with Spain; but for the
national consciousness of the Americans it played, perhaps, no less
important a rôle. In fact, there began at that time probably a certain
culmination in American intellectual development which in its six years
is comparable in effect with what the Germans went through during
several decades after the Franco-Prussian War. Indeed, all that happened
in America a hundred years ago is felt to lie as far back as the events
which took place in Germany three hundred years ago; and, in matters of
higher education and scientific research, conditions have probably
changed more in the last ten years than they have changed during fifty
years in Germany.

The many false ideas, however, depend for credence, so far as they have
any foundation, not alone on the reports of the previous condition of
things, but also on misleading accounts of the conditions to-day. For
even the best-intentioned narrator is very apt to be misled, because he
finds it so hard to free himself from ordinary German conceptions. The
position of the German schools of higher education is so easily grasped,
while that in America is so complicated, that the German is always
tempted to bring clearness and order into what he sees as confusion, by
forcing it into the simple scheme to which he is accustomed, and thus to
misunderstand it.

The German traveller is certain to start from the distinction so
familiar to him between the Gymnasium and the university with four
faculties, and he always contents himself with making but one inquiry:
“Is this institution a university with four faculties?” And when he is
told that it is not, he is convinced to his entire satisfaction that it
is therefore only a Gymnasium. Indeed, very many of the educated Germans
who have lived in America for some decades would still know no better;
and, nevertheless, the conditions are really not complicated until one
tries to make them fit into this abstract German scheme. The principle
of gradations which is manifest in all American institutions is in
itself fully as simple as the German principle of sharp demarcations.
Most foreigners do not even go so far as to ask whether a given
institution is a university. They are quite content to find out whether
the word university is a part of its name. If they then ascertain from
the catalogue that the studies are about the same as those which are
drilled into the pupils of a Sekunda, they can attest the shameful fact:
“There are no universities in America to be in any wise compared with
the German universities.”

In the first place, it should be said that the word “university” is not
used in America in the same sense as in Germany, but is almost
completely interchangeable with the word “college,” as a rather
colorless addition to the proper name of any institution whatsoever, so
long only as its curriculum goes beyond that of the high school, and so
long also as it is not exclusively designed to train ministers of the
gospel, doctors, or lawyers. A higher school for medical instruction is
called a “medical school,” and there are similarly “law schools” and
“divinity schools,” whereas, in the college or university, as the term
is generally used, these three subjects are not taught. College is the
older word, and since the institutions in the East are in general the
older ones, the name college has been and still is in that region the
more common. But in the West, where in general the institutions are on a
considerably lower level, the newer name of university is the more
usual. No confusion necessarily arises from this, since the institutions
which are styled now college and now university represent countless
gradations, and the general term is without special significance. No one
would think of saying that when he was young he went to a university,
any more than he would say that on a journey he visited a city. In order
to make the statement entirely clear, he would add the explicit name of
the institution. Every specialist knows that a man who has spent four
years in Taylor University in Indiana or at Blackburn University in
Illinois, or at Leland University in Louisiana, or at other similar
“universities,” will not be nearly so well educated as a man who has
been to Yale College or Princeton College or Columbia College. The
proper name is the only significant designation, and the addition of
“college” or “university” tells nothing.

Out of this circumstance there has independently developed, in recent
years in pedagogical circles, a second sense for the word “university.”
By “university” there is coming to be understood an institution which is
not only a college or a university in the old sense, but which
furthermore has various professional schools. Even in this sense of the
word, it is not exactly the same as the German conception, since such an
institution includes the college, whereas there is nothing in Germany
which would correspond to this collegiate department. Moreover, here
belongs also a part of what the Germans have only in the technological
institute. Finally, there is one more usage which arises in a way from a
confusion of the two that we have mentioned. Some persons are inclined
to mean by “university” a first-class college, and by “college” an
institution of an inferior standard; and so, finally, the proper name of
the institution is the only thing to go by, and the entire higher system
of education in the country can be understood only in this way.

Therefore, we shall abstract from the designations of these
institutions, and consider only what they really are. We have before us
the fact that hundreds of higher institutions of learning exist without
any sharp demarcation between them; that is, they form a closely graded
scale, commencing with secondary schools and leading up to universities,
of which some are in many respects comparable with the best institutions
of Germany. In the second place, the groupings of the studies in these
institutions are entirely different from those which prevail in Germany,
especially owing to the fact that emphasis is laid on the college, which
Germany does not have. It could not be different; and this condition is,
in fact, the patent of American success. If we try to understand the
conditions of to-day from those of yesterday, the real unity of this
system comes out sharply. What was, then, we have to ask, the national
need for higher instruction at the time when these states organized
themselves into one nation?

In the first place, the people had to have preachers, while it was
clear, nevertheless, that the state, and therefore the entire political
community, was independent of any church, and must never show any favour
to one sect over another. And so it became the duty of each separate
sect to prepare its own preachers for their religious careers as well or
as badly as it was able. The people, again, had to have lawyers and
judges. Now the judges, in accordance with the democratic spirit, were
elected from the people, and every man had the right to plead his own
case in court:—so that if any man proposed to educate and prepare
himself to plead other men’s cases for them, it was his own business to
give himself the proper education and not the business of the community.
He had to become an apprentice under experienced attorneys, and the
community had not to concern itself in the matter, nor even to see to it
that such technical preparation was grounded on real learning.
School-teachers were necessary, but in order to satisfy the demands of
the times it was hardly necessary for the teacher to go in his own
studies very much beyond the members of his classes. A few more years of
training than could be had in the public schools was desirable, but
there was no thought of scholarship or science. On the lowest level of
all, a hundred years ago, stood the science of medicine. It was a purely
practical occupation, of which anybody might learn the technique without
any special training. He might be an apprentice with some older
physician, or he might pick it up in a number of other ways.

As soon as we have understood the early conditions in this way, we can
see at once how they would have further to develop. It is obvious that
in their own interests the sects would have to found schools for
preachers. The administrators of justice would of course consult
together and found schools of law, in which every man who paid his
tuition might be prepared for the legal career. Doctors would have to
come together and found medical schools which, once more, every one with
a public school training would be free to attend. Finally, the larger
communities would feel the necessity of having schools for training
their teachers. In all this the principle of social selection would have
to enter in at once. Since there were no formal provisions which might
prescribe and fix standards of excellence, so everything would be
regulated by the laws of supply and demand. The schools which could
furnish successful lawyers, doctors, teachers, and clergymen would
become prosperous, while the others would lead a modest existence or
perhaps disappear. It would not be, however, merely a question of the
good or bad schools, but of schools having entirely different standards,
and these adapted to purely local conditions. The older states would, of
course, demand better things than the new pioneer states; thickly
settled localities would fix higher requirements than rural districts;
rich districts higher than poor. In this way some schools would have a
longer course of study than others, and some schools demand more
previous training as a condition of entrance than others. So it would
soon come to mean nothing to say simply that one had taken the legal, or
medical, or theological course, as the one school might offer a four
years’ course and the other a course of two years, and the one,
moreover, might demand college training as preparation, and the other
merely a grammar-school education. Every school has its own name, and
this name is the only thing which characterizes its standard of
excellence. In this way there is no harm at all if there are three or
four medical schools in one city, and if their several diplomas of
graduation are of entirely different value.

What is the result of this? It is a threefold one. In the first place,
popular initiative is stimulated to the utmost, and every person and
every institution is encouraged to do its best. There are no formal
regulations to hamper enterprising impulses, to keep back certain more
advanced regions, or to approve mediocrity with an artificial seal of
authority. In the second place, technical education is able to adapt
itself thoroughly to all the untold local factors, and to give to every
region such schools of higher training as it needs, without pulling down
any more advanced sections of the country to an artificially mediocre
level more adapted to the whole country. In the third place, the free
competition between the different institutions insures their ceaseless
progress. There are no hard and fixed boundary lines, and whatsoever
does not advance surely recedes; that which leads to-day is surpassed
to-morrow if it does not adapt itself to the latest requirements. This
is true both as regards the quality of the teachers and their means of
instruction, as regards the length of the course, and more especially
the conditions of entrance. These last have steadily grown throughout
the country. Fifty years ago the very best institutions in the most
advanced portions of the country demanded no more for entrance than the
professional schools of third class situated in more rural regions
demand to-day. And this tendency goes steadily onward day by day. If
there were any great departures made, the institutions would be
disintegrated; the schools which prepare pupils would not be able
suddenly to come up to new requirements, and therefore few scholars
would be able to prepare for greatly modified entrance examinations. In
this way, between the conservative holding to historic traditions and
the striving to progress and to exceed other institutions by the highest
possible efficiency, a compromise is brought about which results in a
gradual but not over-hasty improvement.

We have so far entirely left out of account the state. We can speak here
only of the individual state. The country as a whole has as little to do
with higher education as with lower. But the single state has, in fact,
a significant task—indeed, a double one. Since it aims at no monopoly,
but rather gives the freest play to individual initiative, we have
recognized the fundamental principle that restrictions are placed
nowhere. On the other hand, it becomes the duty of the state to lend a
helping hand wherever private activities have been found insufficient.
This can happen in two ways: either the state may help to support
private institutions which already exist, or it may establish new ones
of its own, which in that case offer free tuition to the sons and
daughters of all taxpayers. These so-called state universities are, in a
way, the crowning feature of the free public school system. Wherever
they exist, the sons of farmers have the advantage of free instruction
from the kindergarten to the degree of doctor of philosophy.

Now private initiative is weakest where the population is poor or stands
on a low level of culture, so that few can be found to contribute
sufficient funds to support good institutions, and at the same time the
rich citizens of these less advanced states prefer to send their
children to the universities of the most advanced states. The result is,
and this is what is hardest for the foreigner to understand, that the
higher institutions of learning which are subsidized by the state stand
for a grade of culture inferior to that of the private institutions, and
that not only the leading universities, like Harvard, Columbia, Johns
Hopkins, Yale, Chicago, Cornell, and Stanford, carry on their work
without the help of the state, but also that the leading Eastern States
pay out much less for higher instruction than do the Western. The State
of Massachusetts, which stands at the head in matters of education, does
not give a cent to its universities, while Ohio entirely supports the
Ohio State University and gives aid to six other institutions.

The second task of the states in educational matters is shared alike by
all of them; the state supervises all instruction, and, more than that,
the state legislature confers on the individual institution the right to
award grades, diplomas, and degrees to its students. No institution may
change its organization without a civil permit. As culture has advanced
the state has found it necessary to make the requirements in the various
professional schools rather high. In practice, once more, a continual
compromise has been necessary between the need to advance and the desire
to stay, by traditions which have been proved and tried and found
practical. Here, once again, any universal scheme of organization would
have destroyed everything. If a high standard had been fixed it would
have hindered private initiative, and given a set-back to Southern and
Western states and robbed them of the impulses to development. A lower
universal standard, on the other hand, would have impeded the advance of
the more progressive portions of the country. Therefore the various
state governments have taken a happy middle position in these matters,
and their responsibility for the separate institutions has been made
even less complete in that the degrees of these institutions carry in
themselves no actual rights. Every state has its own laws for the
admission of a lawyer to its bar, or to the public practice of medicine,
and it is only to a small degree that the diplomas of professional
schools are recognized as equivalent to a state examination.

The history of the professional schools for lawyers, ministers,
teachers, and physicians in America is by no means the history of the
universities. We have so far left out of account the college, which is
the nucleus of American education. Let us now go back to it. We saw in
the beginning of the development of these states a social community in
which preparation for the professions of teaching, preaching, law or
medicine implied a technical and specialized training, which every one
could obtain for himself without any considerable preparation. There was
no thought of a broad, liberal education. Now, to be sure, the level of
scholarship required for entrance into the professional schools has
steadily risen, the duration and character of the instruction has been
steadily improved; but even to-day the impression has not faded from the
public consciousness, and is indeed favoured by the great differences in
merit between the special schools, that such a practical introduction to
the treatment of disease, to court procedure, the mastery of technical
problems, or to the art of teaching, does not in itself develop educated
men. All this is specialized professional training, which no more
broadens the mind than would the professional preparation for the
calling of the merchant or manufacturer or captain. Whether a man who is
prepared for his special career is also an educated man, depends on the
sort of general culture that he has become familiar with. It is thought
important for a man to have had a liberal education before entering the
commercial house or the medical school, but it is felt to be indifferent
whether he has learned his profession at the stock exchange or at the
clinic.

The European will find it hard to follow this trend of thought. In
Europe the highest institutions of learning are so closely allied to the
learned professions, and these themselves have historically developed so
completely from the learned studies, that professional erudition and
general culture are well-nigh identical. And the general system of
distinctions and merits favours in every way the learned professions.
How much of this, however, springs out of special conditions may be
seen, for instance, from the fact that in Germany an equal social
position is given to the officer of the army and to the scholar. Even
the American is, in his way, not quite consistent, in so far as he has
at all times honoured the profession of the ministry with a degree of
esteem that is independent of the previous preparation which the
minister had before entering his theological school. This fact has come
from the leading position which the clergymen held in the American
colonial days, and the close relation which exists between the study of
theology and general philosophy.

The fact that by chance one had taken the profession of law, or
teaching, or medicine, did not exalt one in the eyes of one’s
contemporaries above the great mass of average citizens who went about
their honest business. The separation of those who were called to social
leadership was seen to require, therefore, some principle which should
be different from any professional training. At this point we come on
yet another historical factor. The nation grew step for step with its
commercial activities and undertakings. So long as it was a question of
gaining and developing new territory, the highest talent, the best
strength and proudest personalities entered the service of this
nationally significant work. It was a matter of course that no secondary
position in society should be ascribed to these captains of commerce and
of industry. The highest degree of culture which they were able to
attain necessarily fixed the standard of culture for the whole
community; and, therefore, the traditional concept of the gentleman as
the man of liberal culture and refinement came to have that great social
significance which was reserved in Germany for the learned professions.

In its outer form, the education of such a gentleman was borrowed from
England. It was a four years’ course coming after the high school, and
laying special stress on the classical languages, philosophy, and
mathematics—a course which, up to the early twenties, kept a young man
in contact with the fine arts and the sciences, with no thought for the
practical earning of a livelihood; which, therefore, kept him four years
longer from the tumult of the world, and in an ideal community of men
who were doing as he was doing; which developed him in work, in sport,
in morals and social address. Such was the tradition; the institution
was called a college after the English precedent. Any man who went to
college belonged to the educated class, and it was indifferent what
profession he took up; no studies of the professional school were able
to replace a college education. Now, it necessarily happened that the
endeavour to have students enter the professional schools with as
thorough preparation as possible led eventually to demand of every one
who undertook a professional course the complete college education. In
fact, this last state of development is already reached in the best
institutions of America. For instance, in Harvard and in Johns Hopkins,
the diploma of a four years’ college course is demanded for entrance
into the legal, medical, or theological faculty. But in popular opinion
the dividing line between common and superior education is still the
line between school and college, and not, as in Germany, between liberal
and technical institutions of learning. One who has successfully passed
through college becomes a graduate, a gentleman of distinction; he has
the degree of bachelor of arts, and those who have this degree are
understood to have had a higher education.

This whole complex of relations is reflected within the college itself.
It is supposed to be a four years’ course which comes after the high
school, and we have seen that the high school itself has no fixed
standard of instruction. The small prairie college may be no better than
the Tertia or Sekunda of a German Realschule, while the large and
influential colleges are certainly not at all to be compared simply with
German schools, but rather with the German Prima of a Gymnasium,
together with the first two or three semesters in the philosophical
faculty of a university. Between these extremes there is a long, sliding
scale, represented by over six hundred colleges. We must now bear in
mind that the college was meant to be the higher school for the general
cultivation of gentlemen. Of course, from the outset this idealistic
demand was not free from utilitarian considerations; the same
instruction could well be utilized as the most appropriate practical
training of the school-teacher, and if so, the college becomes
secondarily a sort of technical school for pedagogues. But, then, in the
same way as the entrance into legal and medical faculties was gradually
made more difficult, until now the best of these schools demand
collegiate preparation, so also did the training school for teachers
necessarily become of more and more professional character, until it
gradually quite outgrew the college. The culmination is a philosophical
faculty which, from its side, presupposes the college, and which,
therefore, takes the student about where a German student enters his
fourth semester—a technical school for specialized critical science
laying main stress on seminaries, laboratories, and lectures for
advanced students. Such a continuation of the college study beyond the
time of college—that is, for those who have been graduated from
college—is called a graduate school, and its goal is the degree of
doctor of philosophy. The graduate school is in this way parallel with
the law, medical, or divinity school, which likewise presuppose that
their students have been graduated from college.

The utilitarian element inevitably affects the college from another
side. A college of the higher type will not be a school with a rigid
curriculum, but will adapt itself more or less to the individuality of
its students. If it is really to give the most it can, it must, at least
during the last years of the college course, be somewhat like a
philosophical faculty, and allow some selection among the various
studies:—so that every man can best perfect his peculiar talent and can
satisfy his inclinations for one or other sort of learning. So soon,
now, as such academic freedom has been instituted, it is very liable to
be used for utilitarian purposes. The future doctor and the future
lawyer in their election of college studies will have the professional
school already in mind, and will be preparing themselves for their
professional studies. The lawyer will probably study more history, the
doctor will study biology, the theologian languages, the future
manufacturer may study physics, the banker political economy, and the
politician will take up government. And so the ideal training school for
gentlemen will not be merely a place for liberal education, but at the
same time will provide its own sort of untechnical professional
training.

Inasmuch as everything really technical is still excluded, and the
majority of college students even to-day come for nothing more than a
liberal education, it remains true that the college is first of all a
place for the development and refinement of personal character; a place
in which the young American spends the richest and happiest years of his
life, where he forms his friendships and intellectual preferences which
are to last throughout his life, and where the narrow confines of school
life are outgrown and the confines of professional education not yet
begun; where, in short, everything is broad and free and sunny. For the
American the attraction of academic life is wholly centred in the
college; the college student is the only one who lives the true student
life. Those who study in the four professional faculties are comparable
rather to the German medical students of the last clinical
semesters—sedate, semi-professional men. The college is the soul of the
university. The college is to-day, more than ever, the soul of the whole
nation.

We have to mention one more factor, and we shall have brought together
all which are of prime importance. We have seen that the professional
and the collegiate schools had at the outset different points of view,
and were, in fact, entirely independent. It was inevitable that as they
developed they should come into closer and closer relations. The name of
the college remained during this development the general designation.
Special faculties have grouped themselves about the college, while a
common administration keeps them together. There are certain local
difficulties in this. According to the original idea, a college ought to
be in a small, rural, and attractively situated spot. The young man
should be removed from ordinary conditions; and as he goes to Jena,
Marburg, and Göttingen, so he should go to Princeton or New Haven, or
Palo Alto, in order to be away from large cities in a little academic
world which is inspired only by the glory of famous teachers and by the
youthful happiness of many student generations. A medical or law school,
on the other hand, belongs, according to American tradition, in some
large city, where there is a plenty of clinical material at hand, and
where great attorneys are in contact with the courts. It so happened
that the college, as it grew up into a complete university, was
especially favoured if it happened to be in the vicinity of a large
city, like Harvard College in Cambridge, which had all the attractions
of rural quiet and nevertheless was separated from the large city of
Boston only by the Charles River bridge. In later times, to be sure,
since the idyllic side of college life is everywhere on the wane, and
the outward equipment, especially of laboratories, libraries, etc., has
everywhere to grow, it is a noticeable advantage for even collegiate
prosperity to have the resources of a large city at hand. And,
therefore, the institutions in these cities, like New York, Baltimore,
Chicago, and San Francisco, develop more rapidly than many colleges
which were once famous but which lie in more isolated places.

At the head of the administration there is always a president, a man
whose functions are something between those of a Rektor and a
Kultus-Minister, most nearly, perhaps, comparable with a Kurator, and
yet much more independent, much more dictatorial. The direction of the
university is actually concentrated in his person, and the rise or fall
of the institution is in large measure dependent on his official
leadership. In olden times the president was almost always a theologian,
and at the same time was apt to be professor in moral philosophy. This
is true to-day of none but small country colleges, and even there the
Puritan tradition disappears as financial and administrative problems
come to be important. The large universities have lately come almost
always to place a professor of the philosophical faculty at their head.
Almost invariably these are men of liberal endowments. Mostly they are
men of wide outlook, and only such men are fit for these positions,
which belong to the most influential and important in the country. The
opinions of men like Eliot of Harvard, Hadley of Yale, Butler of
Columbia, Shurman of Cornell, Remsen of Johns Hopkins, Wheeler of
California, Harper of Chicago, Jordan of Leland Stanford, Wilson of
Princeton, and of many others, are respected and sought on all questions
of public life, even in matters extending far beyond education.

The university president is elected for a life term by the
administrative council—a deliberative body of men who, without
emoluments, serve the destinies of the university, and in a certain
sense are the congress of the university as compared with the president.
They confirm appointments, regulate expenditures, and theoretically
conduct all external business for the university, although practically
they follow in large part the recommendations of the faculties. The
teaching body is composed everywhere of professors, assistant
professors, and instructors. All these receive a fixed stipend. There
are no such things as private tuition fees, and unsalaried teachers,
like the German Privatdocenten, are virtually unknown. The instruction
consists, in general, of courses lasting through a year and not a
semester. The academic year begins, in most cases, at the end of
September and closes at the end of June.

During his four years’ college course the student prefers to remain true
to some one college. If this is a small institution, he is very apt, on
being graduated, to attend some higher institution. Even the students in
professional schools generally come back year after year to the same
school till they finish their studies. It is only in the graduate
school—that is, the German philosophical faculty—that migration after
the German manner has come in fashion; here, in fact, the student
frequently studies one year here and one year there, in order to hear
the best specialists in his science. Except in the state institutions of
the West, the student pays a round sum for the year; in the larger
institutions from one hundred to one hundred and fifty dollars. In the
smaller colleges the four years’ course of study is almost wholly
prescribed, and only in the final year is there a certain freedom of
choice. The higher the college stands in the matter of scholarship, so
much the more its lecture programme approaches that of a university; and
in the foremost colleges the student is from the very beginning almost
entirely free in his selection of studies.

A freedom in electing between study and laziness is less known. The
student may elect his own lectures; he must, however, attend at least a
certain number of these, and must generally show in a semi-annual
examination that he has spent his time to some purpose. The examinations
at the end of the special courses are in the college substituted for a
final examination. Any man receives a degree who has passed the written
examinations in a certain number of courses. The examinations concern
not only what has actually been said in the lectures, but at the same
time try to bring out how much the student has learned outside in the
way of reading text-books and searching into literature. Originally the
students roomed in college buildings, but with the growth of these
institutions this factor of college life has declined. In the larger
universities the student is, in matters of his daily life, as free as
the German; but dwelling in college dormitories still remains the most
popular mode of living, since it lends a social attraction to academic
life.

To go over from this general plan to a more concrete presentation, we
may perhaps sketch briefly a picture of Harvard College, the oldest and
largest academy in the country. The colony of Massachusetts established
in 1636 a little college in the vicinity of the newly founded city of
Boston. The place was called Cambridge in commemoration of the English
college in which some of the colonists had received their education.
When in 1638 a young English minister, John Harvard, left this little
academy half his fortune, it was decided to name the college for its
first benefactor. The state had given £400, John Harvard about £800. The
school building was one little structure, the number of students was
very small, and there were a few clergymen for teachers. On the same
spot to-day stands Harvard University, like a little city within a city,
with fifty ample buildings, with 550 members of the teaching staff, over
five thousand students, with a regular annual budget of a million and a
half dollars, and in the enjoyment of bequests which add year by year
millions to its regular endowments.

This growth has been constant, outwardly and inwardly; and it has grown
in power and in freedom in a way that well befits the spirit of American
institutions. Since the colonial régime of the seventeenth century gave
to the new institution a deliberative body of seven men—the so-called
Corporation—this body has perpetuated itself without interruption down
to the present time by its own vote, and without changing any principle
of its constitution has developed the home of Puritanism into the
theatre of the freest investigation, and the school into a great
university of the world.

Now, as then, there stands at the head this body of seven members, each
of whom is elected for life. To belong to this is esteemed a high
honour. Beside these, there is the board of overseers of thirty members,
elected by the graduates from among their own number. Five men are
elected every June to hold office for six years in this advisory
council. Every Harvard man, five years after he has received his degree
of bachelor, has the right to vote. Every appointment and all policies
of the university must be confirmed by this board of overseers. Only the
best sons of the alma mater are elected to this body. Thus the
university administration has an upper and lower house, and it is clear
that with such closely knit internal organization the destiny of the
university is better guarded than it would be if appointments and
expenditures were dependent on the caprice and political intrigues of
the party politicians in the state legislature. Just on this account
Harvard has declined, for almost a hundred years, all aid from the
state; although this was once customary. On the other hand, it would be
a mistake to suppose that, say in contrast with Germany, this
self-government of the university implies any greater administrative
rights for the professors. The German professors have much more
administrative influence than their colleagues in America. If, indeed,
the advice of the professors in matters of new appointments or
promotions is important, nevertheless the administrative bodies are in
no wise officially bound to follow the recommendations of the faculty.

The president of the university is Charles W. Eliot, the most
distinguished and influential personality in the whole intellectual life
of America. Eliot comes from an old Puritan family of New England. He
was a professor of chemistry in his thirty-fifth year; and his essays on
methods of instruction, together with his talents for organization, had
awakened considerable attention, when the overseers, in spite of lively
protestations from various sides, were prompted by keen insight in the
year 1869 to call him to this high office. It would be an exaggeration
to say that the tremendous growth of Harvard in the last three decades
is wholly the work of Eliot; for this development is, first of all, the
result of that remarkable progress which the intellectual life of the
whole land has undergone. But the fact that Harvard during all this time
has kept in the very front rank among all academic institutions is
certainly due to the efforts of President Eliot; and once again, if the
progress at Harvard has resulted in part from the scientific awakening
of the whole country, this national movement was itself in no small
measure the work of the same man. His influence has extended out beyond
the boundaries of New England and far beyond all university circles, and
has made itself felt in the whole educational life of the country. He
was never a man after the taste of the masses; his quiet and
distinguished reserve are too cool and deliberate. And if to-day, on
great occasions, he is generally the most important speaker, this is
really a triumph for clear and solid thought over the mere tricks of
blatancy and rhetoric. Throughout the country he is known as the
incomparable master of short and pregnant English.

His life work has contained nothing of the spasmodic; nor have his
reforms been in any case sudden ones. To whatever has been necessary he
has consecrated his patient energy, going fearlessly toward the goal
which he recognized as right, and moving slowly and surely forward. Year
by year he has exerted an influence on the immediate circles of his
community, and so indirectly on the whole land, to bring up the
conditions for entrance into college and professional schools until at
the present time all the special faculties of Harvard demand as an
entrance requirement a complete college course. He has made Harvard
College over into a modern academy, in which every student is entirely
free to select the course of studies which he desires, and has
introduced through the entire university and for all time, the spirit of
impartial investigation. Even the theological faculty has grown under
his influence from a sectarian institution of the Unitarian Church into
a non-sectarian Christian institution in which future preachers of every
sect are able to obtain their preliminary training. And this
indefatigable innovator is to-day, as he now has completed his
seventieth year, pressing forward with youthful energies to new goals.
Just as he has introduced into the college the opportunity of perfectly
free specialization, so now he clearly sees that if a college education
is necessary for every future student in the special departments of the
university, that the college course must be shortened from four to three
years, or in other words, must be compressed. There is much opposition
to this idea. All traditions and very many apparently weighty arguments
seem to speak against it. Nevertheless, any student of average
intelligence and energy can now get the Harvard A. B. in three years;
before long this will be the rule, and in a short time the entire
country will have followed in the steps of this reform.

It is true that Eliot’s distinguished position has contributed very much
to his outward success—that position which he has filled for thirty-five
years, and which in itself guarantees a peculiar influence on academic
life. But the decisive thing has been his personality. He is
enthusiastic and yet conservative, bold and yet patient, always glad to
consider the objections of the youngest teacher; he is religious, and
nevertheless a confident exponent of modern science. First of all, he is
through and through an aristocrat: his interest is in the single,
gifted, and solid personality rather than in the masses; and his
conception of the inequality of man is the prime motive of his whole
endeavour. But at the same time he is the best of democrats, for he lays
the greatest stress on making it possible for the earnest spirit to
press on and emerge from the lowest classes of the people. Harvard has
set its roots as never before through the whole country, and thereby has
drawn on the intellectual and moral energies of the entire nation.

Under the president come the faculties, of which each one is presided
over by a dean. The largest faculty is the faculty of arts and sciences,
whose members lecture both for the college and for the Graduate School.
There is really no sharp distinction, and the announcement of lectures
says merely that certain elementary courses are designed for younger
students in the college, and that certain others are only for advanced
students. Moreover, the seminaries and laboratory courses for scientific
research are open only to students of the Graduate School. The rest is
common ground.

As always happens, the faculty includes very unlike material, a number
of the most distinguished investigators, along with others who are first
of all teachers. In general, the older generation of men belongs to that
time in which the ability to teach was thought more important than pure
scholarship. On the other hand, the middle generation is much devoted to
productive investigations. The youngest generation of instructors is
somewhat divided. A part holds the ideal of creative research, another
part is in a sort of reactionary mood against the modern high estimation
of specialized work; and has rather a tendency once more to emphasize
the idealistic side of academic activity—the beauty of form and the
cultivating value of belles-lettres as opposed to the dry details of
scholarship. This last is generally accounted the peculiar work of
German influence, and in opposition to this there is a demand for Gallic
polish and that scientific connoisseurship of the English gentleman.
Since, however, these men are thinking not of the main fact, but rather
of certain insignificant excrescences of German work, and since after
all nothing but the real work of investigation can lead to new
achievements which justify in a real university any advancement to
higher academic positions, there is no ground for fearing that this
reactionary mood will exert any particularly harmful influence on more
serious circles of workers. Such a movement may be even welcomed as a
warning against a possible ossification of science. Particularly the
college would be untrue to its ideals, if it were to forget the
humanities in favour of scientific matters of fact.

The lectures naturally follow the principle of thorough-going
specialization, and one who reads the Annual Report will probably be
surprised to discover how many students take up Assyrian or Icelandic,
Old Bulgarian, or Middle Irish. The same specialization is carried into
the seminaries for the advanced students; thus, for instance, in the
department of philosophy, there are special seminaries for ethics,
psychology, metaphysics, logic, sociology, pedagogy, Greek, and modern
philosophy. The theological faculty is the smallest. In spite of an
admirable teaching staff there remains something still to do before the
spirit of science is brought into perfect harmony with the strongly
sectarian character of the American churches. On the other hand, the
faculty of law is recognized as the most distinguished in the
English-speaking world. The difference between the Anglo-American law
and the Romano-German has brought it about that the entire arrangement
and method of study here are thoroughly different from the German. From
the very beginning law is taught by the study of actual decisions; the
introduction of this “case system,” in opposition to the usual text-book
system, was the most decisive advance of all and fixed the reputation of
the law faculty. And this system has been gradually introduced into
other leading schools of law. The legal course lasts three years, and
each year has its prescribed courses of lectures. In the first year, for
instance, students take up contracts, the penal code, property rights,
and civil processes. Perhaps the departure from the German method of
teaching law is most characteristically shown by the fact that the law
students are from the very first day the most industrious students of
all. These young men have passed through their rather easy college days,
and when now they leave those early years of study in the elm-shaded
college yard and withdraw to Austin Hall, the law building of the
university, they feel that at last they are beginning their serious
life-work. In the upper story of Austin Hall there is a large
reading-room for the students, with a legal reference library of over
sixty thousand volumes. This hall is filled with students, even late at
night, who are quite as busy as if they were young barristers
industriously working away on their beginning practice.

The German method is much more followed in the four-year medical course
of studies, and still there are here striking differences. The medical
faculty of Harvard, which is located in Boston on account of the larger
hospitals to be found in the city, is at this moment in the midst of
moving. Already work has been commenced on a new medical quadrangle with
the most modern and sumptuous edifices. In somewhat the same way, the
course of studies is rather under process of reformation. It is in the
stage of experimentation, and of course it is true throughout the world
that the astonishing advance of medicine has created new problems for
the universities. It seems impossible now for a student to master the
whole province, since his study time is of course limited. The latest
attempt at reform is along the line of the greatest possible
concentration. The student is expected for several months morning and
night to study only anatomy, to hear anatomical lectures, to dissect and
to use the microscope; and then again for several months he devotes
himself entirely to physiology, and so on. Much is hoped, secondly, from
the intuitive method of instruction. While in Germany the teaching of
physiology is chiefly by means of lectures and demonstrations, every
Harvard student has in addition during the period of physiological study
to work one hundred and eighty hours on prescribed experiments, so that
two hours of experimentation follow every one-hour lecture. In certain
lines of practical instruction, especially in pathological anatomy, the
American is at a disadvantage compared with the German, since the supply
of material for autopsy is limited. Popular democratic sentiment is very
strong against the idea that a man who dies in a public poor-house must
fall a prey to the dissecting knife. The clinical demonstrations are not
given in special university clinics, but rather in the large municipal
hospitals, where all the chief physicians are pledged to give practical
instruction in the form of demonstrations. In the third place, there is
an increasing tendency to give to the study of medicine a certain
mobility; in other words, to allow a rather early specialization. As to
the substance itself which is taught, Harvard’s medical school is very
much like a German university, and becomes daily more similar. In the
American as in the German university, the microscope and the retort have
taken precedence over the medicine chest.

Harvard has about five thousand students. Any boy who wishes to enter
must pass, at the beginning of the summer, a six-day written
examination; and these examinations are conducted in about forty
different places of the country under the supervision of officers of the
university. Any one coming from other universities is carefully graded
according to the standard of scholarship of his particular institution.
The amount of study required is not easily determined. Unlike the German
plan, every course of lectures is concluded at the end of the year with
a three-hour examination, and only the man who passes the examination
has the course in question put to his credit. Whoever during the four,
or perhaps three, college years has taken eighteen three-hour lecture
courses extending through the year receives the bachelor’s degree. In
practice, indeed, the matter becomes enormously complicated, yet
extensive administrative machinery regulates every case with due
justice. In the legal and medical faculties, everything is dependent on
the final examinations of the year. In the philosophical two, or more
often three, years of study after the bachelor’s degree lead to the
doctorate of philosophy.

The graduate student always works industriously through the year, but
the college student may be one of various types. Part of these men work
no less industriously than the advanced students; while another part,
and by no means the worst, would not for anything be guilty of such
misbehaviour. These men are not in Harvard to learn facts, but they have
come to college for a certain atmosphere—in order to assimilate by
reflection, as they say. Of course, the lectures of enthusiastic
professors and a good book or two belong to this atmosphere; and yet,
who can say that the hours spent at the club, on the foot-ball field, at
the theatre, in the Boston hotel, on the river or on horseback do not
contribute quite as much—not to mention the informal discussions about
God and the world, especially the literary and athletic worlds, as they
sit together at their window seats on the crimson cushions and smoke
their cigarettes? Harvard has the reputation through the country of
being the rich man’s university, and it is true that many live here in a
degree of luxury of which few German students would ever think. And yet
there are as many who go through college on the most modest means, who
perhaps earn their own livelihood or receive financial aid from the
college. A systematic evasion of lectures or excessive drinking or
card-playing plays no role at all. The distinctly youthful exuberance of
the students is discharged most especially in the field of sport, which
gets an incomparable influence on the students’ minds by means of the
friendly rivalry between different colleges. The foot-ball game between
Harvard and Yale in November, or the base-ball game in June, or the New
London races, are national events, for which special trains transport
thousands of visitors. Next to the historical traditions it is indeed
sport, which holds the body of Harvard students most firmly together,
and those who belong to the same class most firmly of all—that is, those
who are to receive their A. B. in the same year. Year after year the
Harvard graduates come back to Boston in order to see their old
class-mates again. They know that to be a Harvard man means for their
whole life to be the body-guard of the nation. They will stand for
Harvard, their sons will go to Harvard, and to Harvard they will
contribute with generous hands out of their material prosperity.

Harvard reflects all the interests of the nation, and all its social
contrasts. It has its political, religious, literary and musical clubs,
its scientific and social organizations, its daily paper for the
discussion of Harvard’s interests, edited by students, and three monthly
magazines; it has its public and serious parliamentary debates, and most
popular of all, operatic performances in the burlesque vein given by
students. Thousands of most diverse personalities work out their life
problems in this little city of lecture halls, laboratories, museums,
libraries, banquet halls, and club buildings, which are scattered about
the ancient elm-shaded yard. Each student has come, in the ardour and
ambition of youth, to these halls where so many intellectual leaders
have taught and so many great men of the outside world have spent their
student years; and each one goes away once more into the world a better
and stronger man.

One thing that a European visitor particularly expects to find in the
lecture room of an American university is not found in Harvard. There
are no women students in the school. Women graduates who are well
advanced are admitted to the seminaries and to scientific research in
the laboratories, but they are excluded from the college; and the same
is true of Yale, Columbia, Princeton, and Johns Hopkins. Of course,
Harvard has no prejudice against the higher education of women; but
Harvard is itself an institution for men. In an indirect way, the
teaching staff of Harvard University is utilized for the benefit of
women, since only a stone’s throw from the Harvard College gate is
Radcliffe College, which is for women, and in which only Harvard
instructors give lectures.

This picture of the largest university will stand as typical for the
others, although of course each one of the great academies has its own
peculiarities. While Harvard seeks to unite humanitarian and specialized
work, Johns Hopkins aims to give only the latter, while Yale and
Princeton aim more particularly at the former. Johns Hopkins in
Baltimore is a workshop of productive investigation, and in the province
of natural sciences and medicine Johns Hopkins has been a brilliant
example to the whole country. Yale University, in New Haven, stands
first of all for culture and personal development, although many a
shining name in scholarship is graven on the tablets of Yale. Columbia
University, in New York, gets its peculiar character from that great
city which is its background; and this to a much greater extent than the
University of Chicago, which has created its own environment and
atmosphere on the farthest outskirts of that great city. Chicago, and
Cornell University at Ithaca, the University of Pennsylvania, Ann Arbor
in Michigan, Berkeley and Stanford in California are the principal
institutions which admit women, and therein are outwardly distinguished
from the large institutions of the East.

The male students from the West have somewhat less polish, but are
certainly not less industrious. The Western students come generally out
of more modest conditions, and are therefore less indifferent with
regard to their own future. The student from Ann Arbor, Minnesota, or
Nebraska would compare with the student at Yale or Princeton about as a
student at Königsberg or Breslau would compare with one at Heidelberg or
Bonn. Along with that he comes from a lower level of public school
education. The Western institutions are forced to content themselves
with less exacting conditions for entrance, and the South has at the
present time no academies at all which are to be compared seriously with
the great universities of the country.

Next to Harvard the oldest university is Yale, which a short time ago
celebrated its two-hundredth anniversary. After Yale comes Princeton,
whose foundation took place in the middle of the eighteenth century.
Yale was founded as a protest against the liberal tendencies of Harvard.
Puritan orthodoxy had been rather overridden at Harvard, and so created
for itself a more secure fortress in the colony of Connecticut. In this
the mass of the population was strictly in sympathy with the church; the
free spirit of Harvard was too advanced for the people, and remained so
in a certain way for nearly two centuries. Therein has lain the strength
of Yale. Until a short time ago Yale had the more popular place in the
nation; it was the democratic rallying-ground in contrast with Harvard,
which was too haughtily aristocratic. Yale was the religious and the
conservative stronghold as contrasted with the free thought and progress
of Harvard. For some time it seemed as if the opposition of Yale against
the modern spirit would really prejudice its higher interests, and it
slowly fell somewhat from its great historic position. But recently,
under its young, widely known president, Hadley, the political
economist, it has been making energetic and very successful endeavours
to recover its lost position.

The history of Columbia University, in New York, began as early as 1754.
At that time it was King’s College, which after the War for Independence
was rechristened Columbia College. But the real greatness of Columbia
began only in the last few decades, with a development which is
unparalleled. Under its president, Seth Low, the famous medical, legal,
and political economical faculties were brought into closer relations
with the college, the Graduate School was organized, Teachers’ College
was developed, the general entrance conditions were brought up, and on
Morningside Heights a magnificent new university quadrangle was erected.
When Seth Low left the university, after ten years of irreproachable and
masterly administration, in order to become Mayor of New York in the
service of the Reform party, he was succeeded in the presidency by
Butler, a young man who since his earliest years had shown extraordinary
talents for administration, and who for many years as editor of the best
pedagogical magazine had become thoroughly familiar with the needs of
academic instruction. Columbia is favoured by every circumstance. If
signs are not deceptive, Columbia will soon stand nearest to Harvard at
the head of American universities. While Harvard and Yale, Princeton,
Pennsylvania, and Columbia are the most successful creations of the
Colonial days, Johns Hopkins and Chicago, Cornell and Leland Stanford
are the chief representatives of those institutions which have recently
been founded by private munificence. The state universities of
Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and
California may be mentioned, finally, as the most notable state
universities.

Johns Hopkins was an able railroad president, who died after a long
life, in 1873, and bequeathed seven million dollars for a university and
academy to be founded in his native city of Baltimore. The
administrative council elected Gilman as its president, and it is
Gilman’s memorable service to have accomplished that of which America
was most in need in that moment of transition—an academy which should
concentrate its entire strength on the furtherance of serious scientific
investigation quite without concessions to the English college idea,
without any attempt to reach a great circle of students, or without any
effort to annex a legal or theological faculty. Its sole aim was to
attract really eminent specialists as teachers in its philosophical
faculties, to equip laboratories and seminaries in the most approved
manner, to fill these with advanced students, and to inspire these
students with a zeal for scientific productiveness. This experiment has
succeeded remarkably. It is clear to-day that the further development of
the American university will not consist in developing the special
professional school, but will rather combine the ideals of the college
with the ideals of original research. But at that time when the new
spirit which had been imported from Germany began to ferment, it was of
the first importance that some such institution should avowedly, without
being hampered by any traditions, take up the cause of that method which
seeks to initiate the future school-teacher into the secrets of the
laboratory. Since Gilman retired, a short time ago, the famous chemist,
Ira Remsen, has taken his place. A brilliant professor of Johns Hopkins,
Stanley Hall, has undertaken a similar experiment on a much more modest
scale, in the city of Worcester, with the millions which were given by
the philanthropist Clark. His Clark University has remained something of
a torso, but has likewise succeeded in advancing the impulse for
productive science in many directions, especially in psychology and
education.

In the year 1868, Cornell University was founded in the town of Ithaca,
from the gifts of Ezra Cornell; and this university had almost exactly
opposite aims. It has aimed to create a university for the people, where
every man could find what he needed for his own education; it has become
a stronghold for the utilitarian spirit. The truly American spirit of
restless initiative has perhaps nowhere in the academic world found more
characteristic expression than in this energetic dwelling-place of
science. The first president was the eminent historian, Andrew D. White,
who was appointed later to his happy mission as Ambassador to Berlin. At
the present day the philosopher Shurman stands at the helm, whose
efforts in colonial politics are widely known. Senator Stanford, of
California, aimed to accomplish for the extreme West the same thing that
Cornell had done for the East, when in memory of his deceased son he
applied his entire property to the foundation of an academy in the
vicinity of San Francisco. Leland Stanford is, so far as its financial
endowment goes, probably the richest university in the country. As far
as its internal efficiency has gone, the thirty million dollars have not
meant so much, since the West has to depend on its own students and it
has to take them as it finds them. In spite of this, the university
accomplishes an excellent work in many directions under the leadership
of the zoölogist Jordan, its possibly too energetic president. While its
rival, the State University of California, near the Golden Gate of San
Francisco, is perhaps the most superbly situated university in the
world, Leland Stanford can lay claim to being the more picturesque. It
is a dream in stone conjured up under the Californian palms. Finally,
quite different, more strenuous than all others, some say more
Chicagoan, is the University of Chicago, to which the petroleum prince,
Rockefeller, has deflected some twelve million dollars. The University
of Chicago has everything and offers everything. It pays the highest
salaries, it is open the whole year through, it has accommodations for
women, and welcomes summer guests who come to stay only a couple of
months. It has the richest programme of collateral lectures, of
university publications and of its own periodicals, has an organic
alliance with no end of smaller colleges in the country, has
observatories on the hill-tops and laboratories by the sea; and,
whatever it lacks to-day, it is bound to have to-morrow. It is almost
uncanny how busily and energetically this university has developed
itself in a few years under the distinguished and brilliant presidential
policy of Harper. One must admire the great work. It is possible that
this place is still not equal to the older Eastern universities as the
home of quiet maturity and reflection; but for hard, scholarly work it
has few rivals in the world.

Johns Hopkins and Cornell, Stanford and Chicago, have been carefully
designed and built according to one consistent plan, while the state
universities have developed slowly out of small colleges more like the
old institutions of Colonial days. Their history is for the most part
uneventful; it is a steady and toilsome working to the top, which has
been limited not so much by the finances of the states, but rather by
the conditions of the schools in the regions about them. The largest
state university is that of Michigan, at Ann Arbor, not far from
Detroit. In number of students it is next to Harvard. One of its
specialties is a homœopathic medical faculty in addition to the
allopathic.

It would be a great mistake to suppose that, with the blossoming out of
the large and middle-sized universities, all of which have colleges as
one of their departments, the small colleges have ceased to play their
part. Quite on the contrary; in a certain sense the small college
situated in rural seclusion has found a new task to work out in contrast
to the great universities. It is only in the small college that the
young student is able to come into personal contact with the professor,
and only there can his special individuality be taken into account by
his alma mater. One scheme does not fit all the students, and not only
in those regions where the homely college represents the highest
attainable instruction of its kind, but also in many districts of the
maturest culture, the college is for many youths the most favourable
place for development. Thus the New England States would feel a great
loss to the cause of culture if such old colleges as Williams, Brown,
Amherst, and Dartmouth should simply deliver over its students to
Harvard.

These smaller colleges fulfil a special mission, therefore, and they do
their best when they do not try to seem more than they really are. There
was the danger that the colleges would think themselves improved by
introducing some fragments of research work into their curriculum, and
so spoiling a good humanitarian college by offering a bad imitation of a
university. Of course, there can be no talk of a sharp separation
between college and university, for the reasons which we have emphasized
many times before. It is necessary, as we have seen, that there should
be a long continuous scale from the smallest college up to the largest
university. It is true that many of the small institutions are entirely
superfluous, and not capable of any great development, and so from year
to year some are bound to disappear or to be absorbed by others. Many
are really business enterprises, and many more are sectarian
institutions. But in general there exists among these institutions a
healthy struggle for existence which prospers the strongest of them and
makes them do their best. The right of existence of many of the small
and isolated professional schools is much more questionable. Almost all
the best medical, legal, and theological schools of this order have
already been assimilated to this or that college, and the growing
together of the academies which started separately and from small
beginnings into organic universities is in conformity with the
centralizing tendency everywhere in progress in our time.

Many of the smaller colleges are, like all the state institutions, open
to both sexes. Besides these, however, there thrive certain colleges
which are exclusively for women. The best known of these are Bryn Mawr,
Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, Radcliffe, and Barnard. Barnard College, in
New York, stands in the same relation to Columbia University as
Radcliffe College does to Harvard. Every one of these leading women’s
colleges has its own physiognomy, and appeals rather to its special type
of young woman. Vassar, Wellesley, Smith, and Bryn Mawr lie in quiet,
retired little towns or villages: and the four years of college life
spent together by something like a thousand blooming, happy young women
between the years of eighteen and twenty-two, in college halls which are
surrounded by attractive parks, are four years of extraordinary charm.
Only Bryn Mawr and Radcliffe lay any special stress on the advanced
critical work of the graduates. In Smith, Vassar, and Wellesley it is
mostly a matter of assimilation, and the standard of scholarship is not
much higher than that of the German Arbiturientenexamen, together with
possibly one or two semesters of the philosophical faculty. In
Wellesley, women are almost the only teachers; while in Bryn Mawr almost
all are men, and in Smith the teachers are both men and women.

In statistical language, the following conditions are found to hold. If
for the moment we put college and graduate schools together as the
“philosophical faculty,” there studied in the year 1900 in the
philosophical faculties, 1,308 students for every million inhabitants;
in the legal faculties 166, in the medical 333, and in the theological
faculties 106. Ten years previously the corresponding figures were 877,
72, 266, 112, respectively, and twenty-five years ago they were 744, 61,
196, and 120, respectively. Thus the increase in the last ten years has
been a remarkable one; theology alone shows some diminution in its
numbers. If we consider now the philosophical faculties more closely, we
discover the surprising fact that in the last decade the male students
have increased 61 per cent., while the female have increased 149 per
cent. The degrees conferred in the year 1900 were as follows: college
degrees of bachelor of arts—to men 5,129, to women 2,140. The degree of
bachelor of science, which is somewhat lower in its standard, and
requires no classical preparation, was given to 2,473 men and 591 women.
The degree of doctor of philosophy to 322 men and 20 women. The private
endowment of all colleges together amounts to 360 million dollars, of
which 160 million consist in income-bearing securities. The annual
income amounted to 28 millions, not counting donations of that year, of
which 11 millions came from the fees of students, about 7 millions were
the interest on endowments, and 7.5 millions were contributed by the
government. Thus the student pays about 39 per cent. of what his tuition
costs. The larger donations for the year amounted to about 12 millions
more. The number of colleges for men or for both sexes was 480, for
women alone 141. This figure says very little; since, in the case of
many women’s institutions, the name college is more monstrously abused
than in any other, and in the West and South is assumed by every upstart
girls’ school. There are only 13 women’s colleges which come up to a
high standard, and it may at once be added that the number of
polytechnic and agricultural schools whose conditions for entrance
correspond on the average to those of the colleges amounts to 43. Also
these stand on many different levels, and at the head of them all is the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Boston, which is now under the
brilliant leadership of President Pritchett. Almost all the technical
schools are state institutions.

There were, in the year 1900, 151 medical faculties having 25,213
students: all except three provide a four years’ course of study.
Besides these, there were 7,928 dental students studying in 54 dental
schools, and 4,042 students of pharmacy in 53 separate institutions.
There were 12,516 law students, and 8,009 theological students. Out of
the law students 151, and of the theological 181, were women.