0172_Illiteracy by design_The Columbian Orator (the book that helped build the American character) – it was read and studied by two of the greatest orators in the 1800s: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln

Donna Jack

By design our country is being made illiterate.

John Dewey is the father of public education in the United States, wrote curriculum and taught teachers how to teach (at Columbia University).
On my quotations page you will find:  Quotation 23c. & 16.
“Teaching school children to read was a ‘perversion’ and high literacy rate bred ‘the sustaining force behind individualism.'”
John Dewey, Educational Psychologist

More and more people in our country are unable to read, write, or think.  This has all been by design.  See Blog 0014, and the linked article “‘Free’ Education and Literacy.”

PDF Of ’Free’ Education and Literacy . . .      and
PDF of 2006_The Cultural Degradation of Universal Education

A great book that increased and perfected literacy and oratory in the 1800s

I want to bring your attention to a great book.  This book and the Bible are what Abraham Lincoln studied and credited for his reading and oratory skills.  And this book was the only book that Frederick Douglass owned when he was growing up.  Both men memorized and practiced the speeches in The Columbian Orator.  These men became two of the greatest orators in the 1800s.

The book is The Columbian Orator.  It can be ordered from Amazon.com at this link.

On the front cover of my 1998 edition of the book, is printed:

“The Book That Helped Build the American Character”

“Containing a variety of original and selected pieces together with rules, which are calculated to improve youth and others, in the ornamental and useful art of eloquence   —  by Caleb Bingham, A.M.”

Back cover:

“First published in 1797, The Columbian Orator helped shape the American mind for the next half century, going through some twenty-three editions and totaling 200,000 copies in sales.  The book was read by virtually every American schoolboy in the first half of the nineteenth century.  As a slave youth, Frederick Douglass owned just this one book, and read it frequently, referring to is as a ‘gem’ and his ‘rich treasure.’

“The Columbian Orator presents eighty-four selections, most of which are notable examples of oratory on such subjects as nationalism, religious faith, individual liberty, freedom, and slavery, including pieces by Washington, Franklin, Milton, Socrates, and Cicero, as well as heroic poetry and dramatic dialogues.  Augmenting these is an essay on effective public speaking that influenced Abraham Lincoln as a young politician.

“As America experiences a resurgence of interest in the art of debating and oratory, The Columbian Ortor — whether as historical artifact or contemporary guidebook — is one of those rare books to be valued for what it meant in its own time, and for how its ideas have endured.  Above all, this book is a remarkable compilation of Enlightenment-era thought and language that has stood the test of time.”


[the final selection in the book – on p. 262]

Extract From an Oration, Delivered
at Boston, March 5th, 1780
By Jonathan Mason, Jun., ESQ.

THE RISING GLORY OF THIS WESTERN HEMISPHERE IS already announced; and she is summoned to her seat among the nations of the earth.  We have publicly declared ourselves convinced of the destructive tendency of standing armies.  We have acknowledged the necessity of public spirit and the love of virtue, to the happiness of any people; and we profess to be sensible of the great blessings that flow from them.  Let us not then act unworthily of the reputable character we now sustain.  Let integrity of heart, the spirit of freedom, and rigid virtue be seen to actuate every member of the commonwealth.

The trial of our patriotism is yet before us; and we have reason to thank heaven, that its principles are so well known and diffused.  Exercise towards each other the benevolent feelings of friendship; and let that unity of sentiment, which has shone in the field, be equally animating in our councils.  Remember that prosperity is dangerous; that though successful, we are not infallible.

Let this sacred maxim receive the deepest impression upon our minds, that if avarice, if extortion, if luxury, and political corruption, are suffered to become popular among us, civil discord, and the ruin of our country will be the speedy consequence of such fatal vices.  But while patriotism is the leading principle and our laws are contrived with wisdom, and executed with vigour; while industry, frugality and temperance, are held in estimation; and we depend upon public spirit and the love of virtue for our social happiness, peace and affluence will throw their smiles upon the brow of individuals, our commonwealth will flourish; our land will become a land of liberty, and AMERICA an asylum for the oppressed.




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