Education and Power
"Education in modern society is about power. To ask who is to be educated is to ask who is to rule."(Halls, vii) This same statement could also apply to the eighteenth century; the wealthier families could afford to send their children off to college to further their education to become doctors or lawyers.
This form of education progressed until 1760 when the nationalization of the education system became a noticeable progression. They believed that through making education a national topic then they could in turn influence the students to create a better society. The church was even pressing for national education. "Education became an almost universal corrective to human and social ills."(Palmer, 3) While the children were in school this gave the educators an opportunity to install "virtues and desirable attitudes and habits." (Palmer, 3) However, not everyone believed that the only way to create a better society was to train the children from a young age to act a certain way. Many believed that a child is born with a set of morals and virtues to prevent them from doing something that should not be done. If a child is not born with these morals and virtues then even being trained from a young age to act a certain way is not going to prevent them from doing something that the society sees as wrong. Colleges also played into the ideal of creating a better society. "The ideal French college in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was a place of salutary confinement, designed to shield growing boys from the evils of the outside world." (Palmer, 13)
Prior to the eighteenth century "Northwestern France, England, and the Netherlands showed about the same rate of literacy and together formed the most literate zone in Europe, until overtaken by Scotland during the eighteenth century." (Palmer, 10) As important as education began to be it didn't change the fact that the best education that one could receive (whether peasant or other...