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Education for Democracy

Essays and Addresses


John B. Johnston

Education for Democracy

Education for Democracy was first published in 1934. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

“The Greek ideal of the citizen realizing himself in the state” is the heart of Dean Johnston’s philosophy developed in this book. He is concerned not merely with education, but with our current economic, political, social, and ethical problems, which education directed toward service to the state may help to solve.

This is a book in which an ideal rather than a theory of education is clearly stated at the beginning, and developed like a theme in music. The author, speaking from a long and varied experience as scientist, teacher, and college administrator, sees the only hope of a future democratic state in the selection and training of competent and unselfish leaders.

This selection, he firmly believes, is the task of the schools and especially of the colleges. By “selection” he means – he is careful to point out – not the exclusion of any capable person from higher education, but a careful fitting of every individual for the occupation in which he will be most happy and will render the best service to society.

The papers collected here all deal with some variation of this theme. They draw up a striking indictment of many current educational practices, while pointing the way, as this prominent educator sees it, toward the alleviation of that “social manic-depressive insanity” with which our civilization is now afflicted.

Education for Democracy

John B. Johnston was dean of the College of Science, Literature, and the Arts at the University of Minnesota for more than twenty years. Johnston also served as a professor of zoology and comparative neurology at the Universities of West Virginia and Minnesota. In 1933 he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Science from the University of Michigan.

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