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The New England Primer and McGuffey's Readers
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Until you send us this article, readers of this page will have to be content with the following dialogue on American OnLine's "Separation of Church and State" Discussion Board.
|Subject: Re: The Dark Side of Christian History
To: Separation of Church & State
>>I am opposed to government meddling. The Ten Commandments
>>were taught in schools for 400 years until the federal judiciary decided
>>to become a national theology board. Let local communities teach
>>the Ten Commandments if they want to.
In article <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org (GroveLdy) writes:
>Where was this Kevin? In your dreams? I have a number of old school texts.
>I sell them so I buy them and NONE of them have the ten commandments in them.
>I have some early 1800s books as well NOpe no 10 commandments. You wouldn't
>be lying would you???? Thats a sin.
You wouldn't be looking in a geometry book, would you?
An online version of the New England Primer is here. View it for yourself.
The First Dixie Reader, Designed to Follow the Dixie Primer(Raleigh: Branson, Farrar & Co., 1863) by Marinda Branson Moore is also online.
Here is a page from The Progressive Pictorial Primer (Boston: Oliver & Ellsworth, c1857) by Salem Town.
Lesson One in The Third Reader: For the Use of Schools (Louisville, Ky.: Morton & Griswold, c1839) by Samuel Griswold Goodrich is "The Bible."
Lesson LII. in The School Reader: First Book (New York: Ivison, Phinney, Blakeman & Co., c1858) by Charles W. Sanders is "The Goodness of God."
A lesson on giving is found in Pollard's Synthetic Third Reader (Chicago: Western Publishing House, 1892, c1890), ed. by Rebecca S. Pollard
The duties of citizens, says Daniel Webster in Osgood's Progressive Fifth Reader (Pittsburgh : A.H. English & Co., c1858), ed. by Lucius Osgood, includes "religion and morality."
"Helen Patterson always believed it was her prayers that saved her father, her brothers, and herself in that trying hour," we read at the end of a story in The New McGuffey Fourth Reader
"Religion and morality" pervade these primers and readers. Had any of the authors been accused of "violating the Constitution" by bringing religion or Christian morality into schools, they would have been flabbergasted. Nobody who signed the Constitution nor lived under its government for the first 150 years believed the teaching of religion and morality was prohibited by the Constitution.
The Ten Commandments were a standard feature of most catechisms and primers up until the Civil War. Preachers told their congregations that education was a moral imperative. Puritan preaching was the source of American movement toward Independence. Butts & Cremin, two of the most respected Secular Humanist historians of education, write:
Obviously "Grovelady" has never read the New England Primer, which was the primer used by most presidents up to James A. Garfield (or the McGuffey readers, which were also widely read).
And similarly for each of the Ten Commandments.
So grovelady's claim is something like the guy who announces "ALL INDIANS WALK SINGLE FILE!" and upon inquiry admits, " -- the one I saw did."
McGuffey writes in his school text:
As a result of the teaching of the Ten Commandments in schools, Harvard Law Prof. Harold J. Berman has written,
And they would have been right, as the state of Kentucky observed (something not denied by the US Supreme Court):
All state criminal codes before the Constitution were based on the Bible. I've cited Massachusetts and the New Haven Colony Law, 1644:
The Constitution did not change this. Supreme Court decisions have been based on Christian morality, and it wasn't until 1980 that any aspersions have been cast on this philosophy. As Supreme Court Justice and Founder of Harvard Law School Joseph Story put it:
If anyone would like to purchase copies of the most frequently used textbooks in the first 300 years of American history, Wallbuilder's sells them.
Vine & Fig Tree
12314 Palm Dr. #107
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240
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