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tv   Book Discussion on The Founders and the Idea of a National University  CSPAN  May 30, 2016 1:00am-1:21am EDT

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>> host: we have a government professor george thomas whose book is called
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the founders. professor thomas with his national university? >> it is an idea of the number of leading founders of franklin in jefferson and the idea was the new constitutional order of which we take for granted in our day was in the process to be built and they turn to education as the central way to foster the political culture and education is necessary. >> what would that look like? like? >> what is unique at the time is if we go back to
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centuries what does that look like in the day? that is not what they look like by and large parochial sectarian institutions with the basis of the curriculum to have a mismatch between the educational institutions and prior to the constitutional convention said that they are remnants of a theocratic political order and it was one idea
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that was floated to alter education. >>. >> host: dell we have several national universities? >> we do. is a large form i started to count the number of times that people said don't we already have a national university? and then they say harvard but there are institutions that our national in reaching and share some aspects and certainly how they reorganize their own understanding of knowledge through the 19th century to follow in the footsteps
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it with the curriculum along those lines and with the idea was still floating charles eliot was one of these opponents of the merging of the educational hierarchy one that is clearly front and center is how do they speak to civic understanding? to tout politic -- political leadership but they don't think of civic knowledge to public finance civic leadership that we are in short supply. >> to other countries?
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>> in a comparative dimension that is interesting australia does specifically in the do speak more specifically to check those needs but they don't necessarily work in that fashion. the one that was floated fairly recently and it was initially put forward and across europe is necessary to supplement to share your
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dignity like -- identity but the national university in to be self-conscious to the supplement of the political institutions that can institutions that can maintain their independence. who. >> and maybe we have benefited from educational institutions that take care of a pluralistic fashion. >> host: what did he say? behalf. >> to get this like from james wilson you think of
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america at the time it was during the revolution they seem to have the acute sense of the new world they were trying to bring about that being brought down by most europeans in particular so that part motivated washington process he puts in his farewell address he was deeply aware of the republican government needed to cultivate a certain kind of knowledge not just from the leadership class but as a citizenry to carry for these ideas so education for candy came away to help
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create to see that it would carry forward and looking back and look at the success from that generation were they were very aware that foreign governments and revolutions often failed so washington thought of it as a way to nurture and sustain >> house sectarian were universities? >> they were mixed if you think of some of the curriculum they're really in the business to create the clergy and the theology release centered around a curriculum and the knowledge that at the same time most we're going into the clergy
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and those institutions that educated on space and got so they themselves were in the process to rethink how they treat theology and their ranges because you get arguments about the relationship between the church in the state with what at the time were public institutions rethink of them as private now but funded by the public purse educating the public in ways and was founded by the public it was just a prior order when church and state were not separate that is what the founding generation had to wrestle with even this century on the nature of the
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implications so some reformers were in those institutions but need to be less sectarian and william and mary described to the articles that were committed in religious terms just like they could not get married so that some plants of those theological commitments are pretty thick at some of these institutions. >> how close did this country come to having a national university? >> the truth is not very there were a number of calls at the constitutional convention it comes up there james madison in particular he went to a national institution of the education
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that would be the greatest sectarian commitment in washington calls for a number of times and says yes we support the development of arts and literature but then it was the politics but education in sweeping terms so there is a lot of serious debate the early 1800's but there really doesn't get that close and at one point then the approval of funding while searching to the congressional record and it comes up on multiple occasions in our history candidates of the founding
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which was a request from an english man who never saw it set foot on american soil but wanted an education but bin to establish partly founded because it is not a national university just like you can imagine where we are torn by the conflict that would help to unify and we have hearings and debates and advocates but it doesn't come close. >> as a government professor what is your personal feeling? >> the way i look davit an incredibly interesting idea and you could see why the late 18th and 19th
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century were captivated by it we needed to reform education san the curriculum was a mismatch with the emerging experiment and theology in the public sphere and to see that temptation i'm not sad it did not develop there wouldn't be a good reason to support it but it reminds us of two things that when you think of the public leadership class that is something that doesn't come out of nowhere in democratic
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institutions depend on it and think about the idea is that citizens hold that our necessary to carry forward an experiment that doesn't just happen oat at of nowhere but much less so consciously and that is interesting to remind us briefly that political institutions set in motion don't sustain themselves. >> host: from your book talking about the national science foundation takes many of the tasks that would have been taken on by the national university. >> the national university
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was not just about thinking about politics and government and religion it was an argument that a certain kind of vibrant modern commercial society is upon expanding knowledge in the forward looking since of commercial and economic development and science was a part of that with the lender standing that the government may have a role to foster those conditions under which that would thrive then the government does like the national science perdition with a
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great educational institutions exploded in the second half of the 20th century. >> host: what about the military academies? >> they are interesting in that regard speaking to the self-conscious mission to create a particular kind of mission in they come up within the debate to bring west point into being otherwise he said he need day constitutional amendment although less plane toward jefferson at the time comes
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from the scientific element. >> is dissent aloud? >> yes. in adipate place like west point income to a baby too strong of a word but a genuine liberal arts education that while we want to cultivate a certain understanding put the stuff of politics part of us will be very open-ended subject to serious questioning and that is something those that think about national university are aware as they want to teach the range of ideas even though trying to cultivate a particular
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understanding we're very open when we teach in liberal arts about the varieties and we want to be critical of political institutions including our own they get most of us take themselves to be committed to democracy we don't mind if we produce a bunch of students thinking that we would have done something wrong. >> host: with the decline of liberal arts education and overall are weak losing six? >> that is a great question and should be of serious concern and at the end of
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the book typo's it is a great challenge with the potential commercialization and the turn of liberal arts that will eclipse the more robust elements and if you think how the founding generation fought of religion in our day it is probably because of the success the forward looking version to create a society and we have done that the other way to public life for civic obligations to ask if they have those civic obligations and commitments and can nurture those.
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>> host: government professor from claremont college the founders of the idea that national university constitutes american mind is the name of the book
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