Study Guide

The Education of Henry Adams Themes

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Adams presents himself as a scientist who will sample and test various methods of education so that he may offer some wisdom for a man facing the twentieth century. As he says in the preface, "no one has discussed what part of education has, in his personal experience, turned out to be useful, and what not. This volume attempts to discuss it." Traditional systems of education are soundly rejected; a schoolmaster is "a man employed to tell lies to little boys." The lecture system found in colleges does not fair much better nor does scientific education: "the theory of scientific education failed where most theory fails—for want of money."

In the rejection of standard educational systems, Adams formulates an alternative understanding of education. The acquisition of knowledge should not be the mastery of the schoolmaster's unity or the complete embrace of all possible scientific facts. Instead, education...

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This section contains 850 words
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