Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users, please click the view more button below to purchase a copy of this dissertation from Proquest.

(Some titles may also be available free of charge in our Open Access Dissertation Collection, so please check there first.)

A HISTORY OF LIBERAL EDUCATION AND LIBERALISM: THE TRADITIONAL HUMANIST IN CONFLICT WITH THE LIBERAL IDEOLOGUE

RICHARD ALLEN FARRELL, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Abstract

In this century much has been written about the "search for a common learning" and whether or not the liberal tradition should be buried or can be revived. This dissertation shows that there are in fact two liberal traditions and our discussion of these issues have been confused by our failure to distinguish between the two. One liberal tradition is essentially educational in nature, inspired by the life of ancient Greece and formalized for centuries as the liberal arts. The second is essentially political in nature and stems from the thought of John Locke and the philosophes of the Enlightenment. The two traditions have been in conflict over the course of this country's history, the former attempting to preserve a traditional sense of liberal education and the latter serving to reshape the ideal of liberal education to fit the tenets of liberalism.^ The dissertation shows that the two traditions have become confused through the rise of liberalism and its success in shaping the structure of higher education and educational thought through the university movement in the last century and the progressive education movement in this century. The dissertation traces the history of both liberal traditions and shows how the tenets of liberalism have come to permeate present day discussions about liberal education. The world views of the ancient Greeks, Renaissance humanists, American Puritans, and American liberals are compared and contrasted, with a particular emphasis on the relationship between Puritanism and liberalism. The Puritans initiated and maintained their version of liberal education for over two-hundred years and it was this curious situation that made liberalism seem, in comparison, to represent the "true" vision of liberal education. Like the Puritans, liberals have reconstructed the concept of liberal education to suit their own purposes, and this reconstruction is examined.^ The dissertation concludes with suggestions to traditional humanists for reviving the humanist ideal of liberal education. The point is made that rather than concentrating upon plans for shared learning humanists must first recreate a common language with which to discuss liberal education and, to avoid confusion this language must be distinguished from that of liberalism. ^

Subject Area

Education history

Recommended Citation

FARRELL, RICHARD ALLEN, "A HISTORY OF LIBERAL EDUCATION AND LIBERALISM: THE TRADITIONAL HUMANIST IN CONFLICT WITH THE LIBERAL IDEOLOGUE" (1986). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI8612036.
http://scholarworks.umass.edu/dissertations/AAI8612036

Share

COinS