ERIC Number: ED097388
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1974-May-16
Reference Count: 0
Opportunity and Welfare in the First New Nation.
Lipset, Seymour Martin
During the first half of the nineteenth century, the aristocratic, monarchical, and oligarchic societies of Europe were anathema. From the nineteenth century down to the present, a much larger percentage of the appropriate age population has attended secondary schools and institutions of higher education here than elsewhere. Most noteworthy of all has been the stress on equality of opportunity. The spread of the common school idea included a practice which would have far-reaching consequences. These schools, designed in part to Americanize the immigrant and to "civilize" the lower classes, knowingly set their educational sights at the levels of the culturally deprived. In a sense, they consciously lowered standards, or rather educational aspirations, from the levels upper-middle-class children could attain so as to make it possible for those of "deprived background" to catch up. By going slowly at the elementary and high school levels, the U.S. system permits many more to enter an institution of higher education. The gradual acceptance of the community's responsibility for upgrading the level of life of the underprivileged in America constitutes an important shift in our values. There is, however, a more fundamental change in the making, one that is implicit in the shift in emphasis from extending opportunity rights to the individual to extending them to the group. (Author/JM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: American Enterprise Inst. for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC.
Note: Distinguished Lecture Series on the Bicentennial; Speech delivered in the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village (Dearborn, Mich., May 16, 1974)