Education: The Inspector General

(See Cover)If a nation expects to be ignorant and free . . . it expects what never was and never will be.

—Thomas Jefferson

Autumn after autumn, the dream has persisted, in alleys and wood lots, mansions and tenements: every American could rise by education. Ben Franklin nourished it with self-improvement primers. Jefferson gave it philosophical reasons. An unlettered people scrambled for skill and knowledge. "Your government will never be able to restrain a distressed and discontented majority,'' warned Britain's Lord Macaulay. "This opinion," retorted President-to-be James Garfield. "leaves out the great counterbalancing...

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