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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR,
BUREAU OF EDUCATION,
Washington, D. C., April 21, 1893. SIR: I have the honor to present herewith for publication a circular of information entitled “Benjamin Franklin and the University of Pennsylvania." Some years since this Bureau offered a similar circular on "Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia," which was printed in an edition of 20,000 copies, all of which have been distributed. The demand still continues for this circular and it is hoped that it may be reprinted at no distant date. The present circular of information, it is expected, will be of equal interest to the country. While Thomas Jefferson, with that breadth of statesmanship which characterized all of his labors, kept unceasingly before his view the importance of popular education to reinforce and make effective the operations of the principle of local self-government, on the other hand Dr. Franklin, himself a noteworthy example of a self-educated man, kept in view the importance of eclucation as the foundation of thrift and social development. These two men seem to have furnished more than any other two men the guiding principles which have prevailed in our civilization, political and social.
The circular here mentioned on Thomas Jefferson and the University of Virginia has made widely known the wonderful insight of the great Virginian into the best modes of organizing popular education. To him is due the organization of the University of Virginia, which is more and more copied or approached in the regulations and practical details of colleges and universities North and South. The author of that circular, Prof. II. B. Adams, has treated his theme in such a way as to throw great light upon the early history and growth of what we fondly style American ideas. Our local self-government jealously guards itself against the danger from centralized power. The assumption on the part of the General Government of any functions which can be better performed by the local authorities is regarded as mischievous by the vast majority of thinking people in our country. But whatever goes to the education and enlightenment of the citizens in their several localities goes for the increase of local directive power. The only kind of help which is always good and useful is that which helps an individual or a community to help itself. Jefferson saw this truth, and he saw its relation to popular education as a necessary concomitant to local self-government.
Benjamin Franklin stands somewhat in contrast to Jefferson in the fact that he looks more to the social welfare than to the political function of the people. His most pronounced idea is that of thrift. He wishes to have it impressed on each man or woman or child that industry and economy are prime sources of power. But he is in agreement with Thomas Jefferson as to the importance of an elementary education to prepare the citizen for intelligent application of the lessons of industry and thrift.
The center from which Franklin's practical influence in education extends is Philadelphia. Connected, as he was, for many years with the management of what is now the University of Pennsylvania, that institution is in some sense a development of his ideas as to higher education. But his benefactions and his counsel originated many other streams of educational influence.
These lines of educational influence have been carefully investigated by Prof. Francis Newton Thorpe, of the University of Pennsylvania, and his results are now offered for publication. I am confident in the belief that this treatise will be received with the same interest that was accorded to the former circular upon “ Jefferson and the University of Virginia.” The two principles which have hitherto divided the attention of statesmen and public benefactors, each one contending for the mastery, but each compromising in turn to the other, are these two ideas, represented respectively by Jefferson and Franklin, the idea of the political basis and the idea of the social basis of a free government. Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Commissioner. Hon. HOKE SMITH,
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
XVI. The Department of Physical Education. Randolph Faries, A. M.,
M. D., '85...
XXVII. The Bibliography of the University. Rev. Jesse Y. Burk, A. M.,