Inflamed with Study: Eighteenth-Century Higher Education and the Formation of the American Constitutional Mind
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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Scholarship has shown that 18th-century higher education had a general tendency to politicize and republicanize American colonials. Examination of the educational backgrounds of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention reveals that higher education made an essential contribution to the creation of the U.S. Constitutional Convention reveals that higher education made an essential contribution to the creation of the U.S. Constitution. Many of the intellectual sources of the Constitution were conveyed to the framers through the higher education process. In a day when a fraction of a percentage of Americans went to college, 31 of the 55 delegates to the Convention had substantial formal higher education at American colleges, at European, especially Scottish universities, and at the English Inns of Court. This study shows how higher education transmitted the precepts of British- American republican constitutionalism to the real framers of the Constitution, that is, those delegates generally most responsible for the Constitution, that is, those delegates generally most responsible for the Constitutions construction. It reveals how the writings of classical antiquity, the common law, the English Whig tradition, the European Enlightenment, Protestant religion and the study of history conveyed to colonial collegians and members of the Inns of Court constitutional principles that would find their way into the American charter. This thesis also indicates that the contributions to constitutional thought of the College of New Jersey Princeton and the Inns of Court were exceptional in terms of both which and how many delegates these institutions educated. Theses.
- Humanities and History