Christian Influence on Colonial Education

Best to all of you.  I hope all is well with you and your loved ones.

I again want to state that the purpose of this blog is to inform.  What someone does with the information is entirely up to them.  Someone convinced against their will is really an unbeliever still.

The documents cited in earlier posts are historical documents.  They are not altered and can be searched out by anyone willing to do the research.  I want to mention some of the colonial educational institutions and call out obvious Christian influences.

Abraham Lincoln stated “the philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”  Some of these .will surprise people but the documents are the documents.

Old Deluder Law – 1642   This law was in the colony of Massachusetts. does a great job of explaining the background.

“In the 1640s, Massachusetts was changing. Founded by Puritans, a religious group who fled England to avoid persecution, Massachusetts in the mid-17th century was growing in population. A boom of non-Puritans made some of those in power worried. Could the colony maintain its character and rule of law, even as non-Puritans made it their home?

One of the issues that faced the Puritans was their deep belief in literacy. To Puritans, it was very important that people knew how to read the Bible and the laws of the land. Being able to read and understand these things meant that they would be good people, the Puritans believed.

Like most people in colonial America, the Puritans educated their children at home. Those who could afford tutors got them, but most Puritans taught their children themselves. But the non-Puritans didn’t necessarily share the belief that it was important to teach children to read and write, and many didn’t teach their children.

So, in an effort to create good citizens who could understand and obey the laws of the colony, and to create good people through the reading of the Bible, the Puritan leaders of Massachusetts colony passed the Law of 1642, which required parents (or masters of apprentices) to provide the children under their care with a basic education, including literacy and numeracy. If children were not educated, the government could remove them and place them in a home where they could get a good education.

The law of 1642 was groundbreaking. It was the first American law that required children to be educated. Today in the United States, there are laws requiring attendance up to a certain age, and truancy laws to keep children from skipping out on school. These are the direct descendants of the law of 1642 in Massachusetts.”

The Law was written as the Old Deluder Law.  The following is a quote from that law: “It being one chief project of the old deluder, Satan, to keep men from the knowledge of the Scriptures, as in former times. . . [thus, we] shall set up a grammar school . . . to instruct youth so far as they may be fitted for university.”

Harvard 1643 – The Harvard Motto was “For Christ and the Church.”  Every Harvard professor for its first 100 years was a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  “Let every student be plainly instructed; and. . . consider well the main end of his life and studies is to know God and Jesus Christ . . . and therefore to lay Christ in the bottom, as the only foundation of all sound knowledge and learning.”

Next time we will look at William and Mary, Yale, and Princeton.

Stay well.

Dr. Louis Grillo



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