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ERIC Number: ED408622
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Pages: 21
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Students and Intellectual Life: An Historical Perspective.
Greenstreet, Robert
When colleges were first organized in what would later become the United States, they were far different from those in existence today. Students matriculated, enrolled, and graduated in lock step through a prescribed 4-year curriculum. Colleges functioned not so much to encourage intellectual development as to foster moral piety. Topics and sides for student orations were assigned, including the manner of argument. Students wishing to conduct research were allowed to do so during only the 1-2 hours per week that the facility was open to them. Students developed an outlet which enabled them to engage in intellectual pursuits of their own choosing through their own methods. College literary societies provided students with an outlet for debating, public address, dramatic, literary, journalistic, and governance energies, from the founding of Harvard's Spy Club in 1719 through the end of the 19th century (though their heyday was 1800-1875). Societies also provided a healthy competitive rivalry on campus, spurring members to greater effort than many displayed toward curricular pursuits. Important contributions of literary societies include curricular reform, especially in the area of debate and public address, student publications and student government, service-oriented circulating libraries, and intercollegiate debate and forensic programs. The popularity of literary societies shows that students will sometimes put forth an amazing effort to learn what they consider to be relevant. (Contains 15 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A