“Education In The Constitution”

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Why do we need the Constitution?  Why did America’s Founders write in the Constitution that it would be the “supreme law” of the land?

After operating for eleven years with a national government known as The Articles of Confederation, several flaws were discovered in the form of that government.  These flaws were giving rise to gradually increasing chaos.  Noah Webster urged George Washington to use his influence to bring together delegates from the colonies to fix the situation.  The fruit of this gathering, which we now call the Constitutional Convention, was the writing of our original U.S. Constitution.  This Constitution established a national government which supported the already existing state governments and their Constitutions, while being given by the states thirty specific powers of its own.

While the states entered into this agreement (the Pastors called it our National Covenant) willingly giving thirty of their powers to the National Government, they were adamant that was all they were giving up.  The Tenth Amendment to the Constitution, which was approved shortly after the new national government began to operate, plainly stated that all other powers were “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

The right and responsibility for education was one of those rights reserved to the people.  The people in America in those years did not believe in tax-supported education.  In fact, when Alexander Hamilton, on the floor of the first Congress, suggested we should start a national bank on the basis of the “general welfare” mentioned in the Constitution, James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, challenged Hamilton in no uncertain terms; and Madison’s rebuttal is very revealing of the Founder’s beliefs about education being controlled by the government.  Madison stated,

“If Congress can apply money indefinitely to the ‘general welfare’, and are the sole and supreme judges of the ‘general welfare,’ they might take the care of religion into their own hands (gasp!).  They may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the union…

“In short, everything from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of policy would be thrown unto the power of Congress…”

(Jonathan Elliott, The Debates in the Several State Conventions on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution (Washington, 1836), Vol. IV, p. 429, James Madison on “The Cod Fishery Bill,” February 7, 1792.)

The tone of James Madison’s statement makes plain that the thought of the national government controlling education was repulsive to most of our Founding Fathers.  There were no state-funded schools in their day, much less funding from the National government!  They knew that tax-supported education would destroy our liberty because that would allow those who controlled government to control the minds of the next generation.  And if those in power wanted to change us from a republic to a dictatorship, they could do so in one generation.

The Bible teaches parent-controlled education.  It says,

“Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath, but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

(Ephesians 6:4 – emphasis added)

A republic could only be preserved if the parents controlled the education of their children.

Abraham Lincoln would later summarize this understanding when he stated,

“The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next.”

(Lincoln, Abraham. Attributed. Herald Star, Steubenville, Ohio, 1984. Stephen K. McDowell and Mark A. Beliles, America’s Providential History (Charlottesville, VA: Providence Press, 1988), p. 79; (4th printing, 1994), p. 95. Karen Morgan, People of the Past – Historical Presentations, P.O. Box 426, Cortland, Ohio, 44410, (330) 638-8606.)

Did you know our Founders reserved education to the people by being silent about it in the Constitution?

Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—
and for your children!  And you won’t like what that brings to you.  I’m Don Pinson this has been Think About It.