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At Amherst College. 


Winkley ProfesBor of History and Po!B»ca2 Economy ^ Amherst CoUege. 

Beprinted from " Education^^^ December^ 1888, 


4 -" 

/ ■' ^ 

^ MDUATC scHoa or miS^ 



often, is embittered isolation. The influence upon the rich is not 
less wholesome. They learn to judge themselves and others, not by 
what a man has, but by what he is and does. They learn also to 
regard themselves as belonging to the people rather than to a 
privileged class. Another side of this trait is the marked pref- 
erence for substance over form which characterizes both student 
and graduate. That the Amherst spirit is sensitive and respon- 
sive to universal interests is proved by the history of the college 
in respect to science, philosophy and foreign missions. 

The first formal step in " preparation for citizenship " at Amherst 
is taken at an interview with the President at the beginning of 
Freshman year. In this an exposition is given of the paragraph in 
the college catalogue which treats of "Administration." The 
most important clause reads : " A student whose recommendations 
have been approved, and whose examinations have shown him 
capable of admission to Amherst College, is received as a gentle- 
man, and, as such, is trusted to conduct himself in truthfulness and 
uprightness, in kindness and respect, in diligence and sobriety, in 
obedience to law and maintenance of order, and regard for Chris- 
tian institutions as becomes a member of a Christian College." 
The words are explicit; still, it is found useful to impress them 
upon the memory and to make clear as possible their application 
to the actual conditions of college life. Emphasis is laid upon the 
facts ; first, that the relation with the college into which the stu- 
dent enters is on his part voluntary ; second, that this relation is 
of the nature of a contract, which binds the college to admit the 
student to its privileges, and the student to observe the conditions 
on which these privileges are granted : and consequently, that non- 
fulfillment of obligations by either party should terminate the 
relation; third, that this relation is direct; the student deals with 
the college and the college with the student, not as a' member of a 
class, but as an individual. The next step is participation in the 
government of the college. The nature and extent of this parti- 
cipation are stated in the catalogue as follows : "The Faculty have 
judged it wise to associate with them, in the immediate govern- 
ment of the College, a body chosen by the students themselves, to 
which questions of College order and decorum are referred, and 
whose decisions, if approved by the President, are binding in the 
College. This body is called the College Senate, and consists of four 
Seniors, three Juniors, two Sophomores, and one Freshman, chosen 

by their respective classes. At the meetings of the Senate, which 
are held regularly once a month, the President of the College 
presides." ^ 

The attitude of the Senate towards the College is indicated by 
the following extract from its Constitution : — 

"Before taking his seat, each member shall sign the Constitu- 
tion, to which shall be prefaced the following pledge : ' I hereby 
sign this Constitution, promising to act as a judge upon all 
matters brought before me, and to endeavor in all my decisions to 
seek always the good order and decorum of the College.' " ^ 

The powers of the Senate are as follows : — 

"Whenever a member of the college shall appear to have broken 
the contract upon which he was received as a member of Amherst 
College, except in cases pertaining to attendance upon college exer- 
cises, determined by the regular rules of the Faculty, the case shall 
be brought before the Senate, who shall determine both as to whether 
the contract has been broken, and whether, if broken, it shall 
again be renewed. 

"The jurisdiction of the Senate shall also extend over such pro- 
cedures of any body of students, relating to order and decorum, 
as affect the whole colj^ge, and over whatever other business the 
President or Faculty may submit to it ; it being understood that in 
such cases the action of the Senate shall have the full authority of 
the college. 

" Any member shall have the right to introduce business, also to 
call for any vote by ballot whenever he shall desire it."^ 

The Faculty, subject to the approval of the Trustees, remains 
the general law-making branch of the college government. In the 
main the functions of the Senate are judicial. A large proportion 
of cases which come before it permit the application of principles 
and rules already in*Eorce. A question frequently adjudicated is 
whether a particular act in violation of order, decorum or good 
morals, should terminate the relation of the perpetrator to the col- 
lege. But the Senate does more than merely interpret law: it 
deals with many questions which relate to the welfare of the 
college in a general way, and to the settlement of which, existing 
rules are inapplicable. Questions which concern student publica- 

1 College Catalogue, Par. on Organization. 
> Constitution of the Senate, Art. II., Sec. 4. 
«lbid. Art. IV. 


tions, intercollegiate contests, the privileges of and restrictions 
upon organizations which engage in these, the Senate decides 
according to its own best judgment ; and in so doing, is gradually- 
building up a system of college local common law. A third very- 
important function of the Senate is to serve as a kind of perma- 
nent conference committee in which the President represents the 
Faculty- and the Senators, the students. By means of these confer- 
ences each of the represented bodies becomes acquainted with the 
views and feelings of the other, and under circumstances which 
dispose each to considerateness. The result is the prevention of 
those frequent and, at times, grave collisions which arise from 
misunderstandings between faculty and students. The President 
can veto the decisions of the Senate as he can those of the Fac- 
ulty ; but he has very rarely found it necessary to do so. After 
full discussion, the President, who from the nature of his office 
embodies the conservatism of the college, and the Senators, who in 
their official capacity represent its radicalism, have come to an 
agreement respecting almost every question. The idea of a con- 
tract as the basis of the relation between student and college, and 
participation of the student in college government, are leading 
features of what some have called the "Amherst System." The 
influence of this system begins with the first day of college life 
and increases to the end of the course. Its first aim is to develop 
in the student the capacity for wise self direction ; its second, is to 
awaken in him an interest in the college and a sense of responsi- 
bility for its welfare. The system combats at the threshold the 
tendency once prevalent and still powerful, to put class feeling 
and college custom in the place of the judgment and conscience of 
the individual student. It tries to make him feel, with respect to 
the administration of college government, that he is not so much 
the subject of the faculty as their colleague.* 

Is the system successful? Yes, but like other systems it must 
be used a while before it can work with perfect smoothness. 
Under this system college public opinion has greater weight than 
it used to have. It is probable that neither faculty nor students 
realize as yet the full consequences of this fact. In order that 
public opinion may become a safe guide in determining college 
policy, two conditions are requisite; first, it must be based on 
regard for not one, nor a few, but all important interests con- 
cerned; second, the estimate of the relative importance of these 

interests must be just. From a standpoint which takes into view 
only a certain set of interests, required attendance at church and 
chapel seems indefensible ; from a standpoint with a broader out- 
look, the question assumes an aspect which would lead advocates 
of the voluntary system who have the highest good of the college 
at heart to wish for more light before assuming the responsibility 
of a revolutionary change. The habit of looking at both sides, or 
rather all sides of a question, cannot be formed in a day. The 
encouraging feature of the situation at Amherst is the evidence of 
progress in this direction. In general the difference between fac- 
ulty-views and student-views is less radical than it used to be ; the 
relation between faculty and students is more frequently that of 
friendly and hearty cooperation. Under the influence of this 
change certain hateful incidents of the old method of governing — 
its conflicts, diplomacy, and espionage, are being forgotten. The 
student is becoming a good citizen of the college community, and 
in this way, is preparing to become a good citizen of the state. 

At Amherst the fraternities, nine in number, are a marked fea- 
ture of the college. The proportion of "Society men" is consider- 
ably larger than twenty years ago and is steadily increasing. In 
certain respects the fraternities are colleges within the college; 
they are bodies of colleagues whose corporate aims are in sympathy 
with those of the college and supplementary to them. Their 
vitality and prosperity indicate that they satisfy a real want. In 
fact what they offer the student is something he needs and cannot 
with equal ease and fulness obtain by other means. To prepara- 
tion for citizenship the fraternities contribute in several ways. 
They establish a close and permanent relationship between alumni 
and undergraduates, through which the juster views of life and of 
college opportunities and duties, which prevail among the alumni, 
reach and influence the undergraduates. By means of their 
intercollegiate relations the fraternities develop a friendly and 
magnanimous spirit towards other colleges. Through admitting 
delegates from each of the four classes they do much to keep class 
spirit from becoming arrogant and belligerent. As literary socie- 
ties they encourage the serious study and discussion of political 
topics. But of all their services to preparation for citizenship 
one of the greatest is the aid they give in maintaining relations 
with general society. The tendency of college life towards s eclu 
sion is a survival in the field of education of the once domin an 


influence of monasticism. This tendency explains in^ part why 
the educated modern is less frequently a man of affairs than was, 
in classic times, the educated Greek or Roman. To many a studi- 
ous man, going to college has been to such an extent a going out 
of the world, that only with difficulty could he find his place again. 
To many who were not studious, partial isolation from ordinary 
social influences during the four years of College life has proved 
seriously demoralizing. The happiest result is when social and in- 
tellectual development keep even step. The comradeship which the 
fraternities have always fostered is now widening into practical citi- 
zenship. Through his chapter house the relation of the student 
to the town of Amherst is undergoing a radical change ; he has be- 
come a householder, a neighbor, and a host ; as a taxpayer he has 
an interest in the management of town affairs ; his stake in the 
community is much more like that of other citizens than it used to 
be ; in brief, through helping the student to maintain responsible 
relations with general society, the fraternities make it difficult for 
him to be a recluse, a Bohemian, or an Ishmaelite. 

On the other hand it must be conceded that " Society men " are 
sometimes clannish; and clannishness is narrow and narrowing^ 
the counterpart in college of sectionalism in the state. It is, how- 
ever, a fair question whether the fault does not lie in the men 
rather than in the fraternities — whether in fact the fraternities do 
not in many cases really broaden the associations and sympathies 
of men who are by nature clannish. Observers agree that the 
evil was greater when the fraternities were fewer. 

Turning now to the curriculum, we find that the studies and 
exercises which deal most directly with political subjects, are 
oratory, debates, history, political economy, international law, 
moral science, and discussions with the President. To oratory 
are assigned four exercises each week during the second and third 
terms of sophomore year, and one each week during the first term 
of junior year ; to debates, one exercise each week during the last 
term of junior year and all of senior year. Of the relation of these 
studies to preparation for citizenship the professor in charge says : 
"As the oratorical aim is not to impress upon the student any 
arbitrary system of delivery, but to develop and train his individ- 
ual powers, a necessary condition is a theme of interest and recog- 
nized importance to the speaker and his hearers. Experience has 
shown that this condition is most happily found in questions 

relating to our political, social, and economic life. The more 
thoroughly the questions are studied and the more deeply inter- 
ested the student becomes in their preparation, the more easily 
does he, as a speaker, relieve himself from restraints and reveal the 
powers and defects that demand the guidance and criticism of the 
instructor. This is therefore sufficient ground, aside from other 
important reasons, for making the course a stimulus and guide to 
reading and thought upon subjects readily seen to affect the wel- 
fare of our country. The subjects assigned are carefully arranged 
so as to make the course progressive and systematic. The work 
early interests the student in subjects bearing upon the duties of 
citizenship and in many instances it undoubtedly directs his 
private reading in the same channels. It is also probable that 
much of the forensic work in the literary meetings of the societies 
is largely influenced in its character by these exercises of the class- 

"The questions assigned for debate and discussion relate mainly 
to political history, our social problems and present administra- 
tion. Typical questions as debated or discussed by the class of 
'88 are : — 

1. Has the influence of Compromise in our history been more 
harmful than beneficial? 

2. Is the cure of our social evils to be more largely moral and 
religious than physical and economic? 

3. Should the friends of temperance favor high license ? 

4. Was Thomas Jefferson a better president than Andrew 
Jackson ? 

5. Is the "Fisheries Bill" the best means of meeting our diffi- 
culties with Canada? 

6. What is the true regulative principle in the industrial 

7. How are the interests of the laboring classes in this country 
to be best advanced ? 

8. What should be done in regard to the accumulating surplus 
in the United States Treasury ? 

9. Which of the great political parties in the history of the 
United States has had the most influence upon its institutions? 

10. What should be the course of the United States in regard 
to immigration?" ^ 

1 Quoted from statement of Professor Frink, made at request of the writer. 


In history there are two courses : one, a general course, which 
has four exercises each week of junior year; the other, a course 
in the political and constitutional history of the United States, 
which has two hours each week of the first senior term and four 
hours each week of the second. In the study of general history 
the following divisions are made : (1) A review of Oriental, Greek, 
and Roman history. (2) A course of twelve weeks on the period 
from the Migrations to the Renaissance, in which the history of 
England and the movements and institutions which affected west- 
ern Europe as a whole, receive most attention. (3) A course of 
twelve weeks on the period from the Reformation to the French 
Revolution, in which the Reformation, the Catholic Counter-Refor- 
mation, and the Revolutions in England and France, are the features 
most studied. (4) A course of eleven weeks on American col- 
onial history, the political history of the United States, and, in 
outline, the history of Europe since the French Revolution. 

Throughout these courses the standpoint is that of world his- 
tory. Only those facts are studied which have a traceable relation 
to general progress. The history of a nation is treated as a chap- 
ter in universal history ; the importance of individuals, peoples, 
movements, and institutions is measured by their contributions ta 
civilization. The question which the course propounds is : through 
what experiences and by what agencies has the world as it was at 
the dawn of history become the very different world of to-day? 

This course is a preparation for citizenship, because every man is. 
a citizen of the world as well as of a particular country ; and the 
best work of a citizen is that through which he aids his country to 
recognize and discharge its obligation towards the world. More- 
over, there is nothing which so clears the judgment respecting 
national affairs as acquaintance with and interest in the affairs of 

The course in political and constitutional history begins with 
the inauguration of the new government in 1789, and comes down 
to the close of Reconstruction. In the spring of 1888, a special 
course of twenty lectures on "The Civil War and Reconstruc- 
tion ," was given. In explaining methods, an account of the work 
of the first term will serve. The period covered is 1789-1833. 
The following general subjects are selected for investigation by 
the students : foreign relations ; Indian policy ; banks ; internal im- 
provements ; tariffs ; national sovereignty ; state sovereignty. 


These subjects are sub-divided; that on foreign relations, for 
example, furnishes topics for ten students ; that on tariffs, for 
three. Examples of special tbpics are: (1) foreign relations 
during the administration of Washington; (2) the foreign policy of 
Washington compared with that of Jefferson ; (3) foreign policy of 
the Federalists during the administrations of Jefferson and Madison ; 
(4) history of the first bank of the United States ; (5) history of 
tariffs down to 1816, including an analysis of Hamilton's Report on 
Manufactures in 1791 ; (6) history of New England Sectionalism; 
(7) the political work and influence of Hamilton ; (8) the political 
work and influence of Gallatin. Each student, as far as possible,, 
makes use of original sources; in studying Hamilton, for example,, 
he reads Hamilton's own words. The essays, so far as the nature 
of the topic permits, conform to the following scheme : (1) narra-^ 
tive of facts, (2) discussion of the constitutional questions involved,. 
(3) influence upon political development. Each essay is read 
before a section of the class and in the discussion which follows. 
every member takes part. About one-fourth of the lectures of the 
course are introductory to the period ; the others treat of party 

Political economy has four hours each week of senior year, and 
international law four hours during the last term of that year. 
" The first term is devoted to the study of economic theory ; the 
second, to the social problem and the problem of transportation. 
In the study of the social problem, the individualistic, socialistic, 
and social reformatory propositions are analyzed and criticised, 
and the lines indicated along which the solution must take place. 
In this course one important aim is to determine the principles and 
limits of state action. The third term is devoted to fiscal science 
and the tariff. In the former the main topics of investigation are : 
the theory of public fiscal administration ; the principles which 
should guide in making appropriations for public expenditure ; the 
subject of revenue in its general aspects ; the methods of raising 
revenue; the principles and the different forms and systems of 
taxation; the general subject of public credit; the extent to which 
the state may safely employ credit; and lastly, the principles which 
should guide in the administration, contraction, liquidation, and 
conversion of the public debt. In the course on the tariff, the 
theories of free trade and protection and the history of the tariffs 
of the United States, are studied. The aim is not to make stu-^ 


dents free traders or protectionists, but'' to secure acquaintance 
with the subject and establish the habit of candid thinking. 

"The method of instruction is as follows: the subject is first 
outlined by means of lectures and then discussed in the class. 
By means of references, acquaintance with authorities is ob- 
tained. For those who can devote more time to the subject 
a seminary is held for the free discussion of practical economic 
questions. In international law the methods are the same as those 
"employed in political economy." ^ 

Moral science has five hours each week during the second term 
of senior year. "In the study of Ethics, which covers the whole 
sphere of moral obligation, special attention is given to the study 
of citizenship. It is felt that however perfect may be the form of 
government, its administration and its laws, these alone can no 
more make a good citizen than sunshine and rain and a rich soil 
can transform a pebble into an oak ; there must be a spirit of life 
from within before environment can call outgrowth; the spirit of 
life, the vital force of citizenship, is virtue. 

" The method of conducting the study is, first, to ground the 

student in the convictions of an immutable morality as opposed to 

j)rudence and expediency. Then, having found the source of 

moral obligation, an exhaustive investigation of the nature of the 

State and claims of positive authority is attempted, in order that 

the conscience of the student may be aroused and government may 

be seen to be one of right as well as might. Having thus laid the 

foundations of civil authority, the questions respecting the forms 

which are legitimate and the limitations of its action, are discussed, 

&o far as these can be brought within a philosophical investiga- 
tion." 2 

Once each week during two terms the Seniors meet the Presi- 
dent for the discussion of questions which they themselves propose. 
A large percentage of these questions relate to social and political 
problems. The discussions are more like conferences than formal 
classroom exercises. Their value as a preparation for citizenship 
will be understood by all who know the college. 

Summarizing, we find that the political studies at Amherst equal 
thirteen and a half full terms of four exercises each week. Of 
these three terms and a quarter are in the department of public 

^Quoted from statement of Dr. Tuttle. 
* Statement of Professor Garman. 


speaking, eight and a half in the department of history and political 
economy, one and three quarters in the department of philosophy. 
Most of these studies belong to junior and senior years; were 
they equally distributed, there would be one and a fraction for 
each term of the course. 

To what extent do the students come under the influence of 
these studies? Debates, moral science and discussions with the 
President are required; the others are elective. The present 
divisions in oratory include all the class except eight members. 
All of '88, except three, and of '89, except two, elected at least one 
section of the general course in history ; and of these, nearly all 
elected the three terms. On the other hand, the division in 
political and constitutional history is smaller than in any other of 
the studies named; in the class of '89 which has ninety-eight 
members, it numbers forty-one. About half the last class elected 
political economy and international law ; in the present class, the 
proportion is somewhat greater. 

But long before the extended introduction of political studies, 
a college course was justly considered a vMuable preparation for 
citizenship. To explain this, account must be taken of factors, 
such as the influence of teachers, of classical study, and of re- 
ligious instruction, whose bearing on political education is too 
often overlooked. Their importance in this respect is very great. 
A strong teacher who is himself a good citizen, invariably devel- 
ops good citizenship in his pupils. Many of the selections from 
Plato, — the Apology and (7n^o, for example, — Thucydides, Demos- 
thenes, Cicero, and Tacitus, concern the citizen even more than 
the scholar. Moreover, the study of the classics, through acquaint- 
ing the student intimately with the thoughts and acts of great 
men and great peoples, tends to free him from the tyranny of 
petty interests, and creates in him a liking and aptitude for public 
affairs. The political service of religious instruction consists 
in part in the theory of the state which it teaches. The difference 
between the good and bad citizen begins with different conceptions 
of the state ; to the latter it is an association for the furtherance 
of private ends ; to the former, an organism in which the function 
of the individual is to work for the welfare of the whole. Not 
until a man has learned to feel as well as "think organically" 
can he be a good citizen; but religion and rational religious 
instruction promote, perhaps more than all other influences united, 
this kind of feeling and thinking.