Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Noah Webster's Distinctly Christian Education System Shielded the Republic From the Enlightenment

Noah Webster invested his entire life into the task of placing every aspect of life under the authority of Jesus Christ. In his personal and family life he ordered every activity by the principles of the Word of God. Having graduated from Yale at about the same time as the birth of America, he was burdened with the need to maintain America as a Christian Constitutional republic. He believed that in order to maintain liberty all ties with the old world must be severed. It would require a distinctly Christian education system to avoid propagation of foreign philosophies of government that may jeopardize this Christian Constitutional government.

The early life of Noah Webster was dedicated to building an educational system that would impart, “a love of virtue, patriotism, and religion”, based on scripture. These were the three characteristics that he deemed as necessary to maintaining the American Christian republic. He, like most Americans of his time time “affirmed that the principles of republican government have their origins in the Scriptures.”

Noah Webster provided a steady stream of text books that were rooted in Christian morality. In his Moral Catechism he wrote, “God's Word, contained in the Bible, has furnished all necessary rules to direct our conduct.” Noah Webster published his “Speller” in 1783, followed by a “Grammar” in 1784, and a “Reader” in 1785. These works were shortly followed by his “Elements of Useful Knowledge”, which contained the history and geography of the United States. The crowning glory of all of his works was the Dictionary of the American English Language. All of these works were based in the Christian worldview. Mr. Webster comprehended that only a public educated in this Christian worldview would be equipped to withstand an onslaught from anti-Christian philosophies.

Indeed it was his text books that carried Biblical principles over the American countryside. His “speller”, which became popularly known as the “Blue Backed Speller”, sold over one hundred million copies over a one hundred year period. As a result the American public was prepared to accept Mr. Webster's analysis of the philosophies of the French Revolution when her missionaries launched their attacks on Christianity and republicanism.

Noah Webster took up the pen against these subversive doctrines in his Minerva Magazine during 1790's. He warned that “If...that system of raising a multitude of isolated private clubs over the nation as its guardian – should spread thro the country, we may bid adieu to our Constitution.” The Christian nature of America's education system overcame the attacks of the Jacobins. The Enlightenment thinking of the French Revolution was never able to gain a foothold in the thinking and activities of 18th and early 19th century America. It wasn't until the 20th and 21st centuries, long after Americans began to reject Biblical Christianity, that these anti-Christian and anti-republican philosophies were able to hijack the American system of government.

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