First Analysis

Analysis of Egerton Ryerson and the School as an Agent of Political Socialization

By Philip Godin

At the beginning of this writing we are provided the statement:

“that children can acquire basic knowledge, values, and attitudes that

influence their future behavior as citizens and political actors; and second,

that all political regimes accept pre-adult political education and learning as

a necessary prerequisite to their survival.”

This is a red herring and the actual purpose of this paper is to demonize the institutionalization of political theory and education to the masses as a brain washing tactic to pacify the underclass. The argument is well developed and uses the personal correspondence, writings, and statements of Egerton Ryerson, who held the office of superintendent of education, to prove an insidious propaganda behind the instillation of public office that “enforced government and council regulations prescribing required training, the curriculum (in great detail), working conditions, holidays, professional development, and, in the early days, personal conduct as well as teaching methods.”

Early on the author focuses on Egerton’s trip to Europe and personal correspondence there of discussing the various social education systems in relation to one another. He attacks the personal views of Egerton as a staunch supporter of the constitutional monarchy by ridiculing his distaste for the republic social systems of France and America as Egerton instead prefers the systems drawn from Prussia, Bravaria, and Holland. The author does a very good job, however, of explaining the political instability that was dominating Canadian politics at the time and relating them to Egerton’s forthcoming actions.

The author is insistent that Egerton’s ultimate goal throughout the paper is to create an agent of the monarchy in the form of a general education system that would prevent change and pacify the populous. I don’t believe that he did this well because I came out of the experience nodding my head and entirely respecting the efforts taken by Egerton to create a system of education that would not only integrate the different social classes (effectively creating the social connections between the upper class intellectuals, that he indicates make up the eventual political leaders of the country, and labour class), but also educate the masses on the way the government worked to prevent the ability of the radical party politics of the time to control them by making promises of radical change and promote the idea that stable gradual change to legislation was beneficial to every individual in the country.

It is my belief that this article is a targeted rally against the idea of political manipulation of the masses with prejudice to the understanding that such efforts are required to maintain peace in an organized society. In his conclusion, the author is extremely negative of Egerton’s utopian views, I just think he was an optimist.

Analysis of Reform, Literacy, and the Lease: The Prince Edward Island Free Education Act of 1852

By Philip Godin

The main thesis of this author is to find the answer two questions regarding the Free Education Act of 1852, firstly why the poor agrarian populous would be so interested in enacting it and secondly, why it was the first to do so. The author points out some contrived ideas that had been reported as potential subjects of note before this, mostly regarding the reduction of the ability of radical political sects to influence the populous but quickly dismisses them with satisfactory competence. This is followed by an extremely well-developed reminder of the colonial nature of our past as a country. The idea of serfdom is often fondly remembered as a relic of the landed nobility of Europe but we often forget that the rights of land owners and the sale and ownership of colonial lands were common practice during the development of our country. This reminder adds a vibrant potency to the arguments of our author.

Most of the evidence provided to us is legal in nature, case histories, statements, lease records. There are also journals from the assembly, personal accounts, and even a jaunty ballad to be had. These combined with the secondary and tertiary stories lend to a very convincing and enlightening argument. As an agent landlord myself, I found some very interesting parallels to equivalent situations in the management of property today. I find the advent of the population mentioned to advocate for education with the express notion of being able to understand and confirm their rights to be apt. I always provide new tenants with a copy of their rights and go over the contract of their tenancy in detail, but often find that they do not take the process or information seriously and this usually leads them to being uniformed when they breach said contract and I have to perform disciplinary action as is my fiduciary responsibility to my clients. As in the previous article I viewed we find that the institution of education to be a tool for social reform and to enable the masses to create and protect a provincial doctrine that helps provide for them.

I really enjoyed the impartial nature of this authors writing style. Rather than trying to impress a biased opinion, he proposed a question and by using facts and logical recourse allowed the reader to join him in the natural conclusion of the provided evidence. He could have attempted to shroud James Horsfield Peters as a tyrannical dynamo intent on destroying the claims of the populous just by omitting some evidence or focusing on the rather strict nature of his proprietary attitude towards his job. Instead we are provided the evidence that though strict and unforgiving of intentional belligerence he was a capable and fair administrator and even lenient to those who had previously been left to their own devices on the land that he was responsible for. He was also lauded for his due diligence in settling disputes and providing proper documentation in all his negotiated deals with tenants.

I was quite surprised that PEI was the first colony to adopt the idea of freely provided education for the masses subsidized by the government. After reading the well devised arguments in this article I see why it would have been so important and I agree with the conclusion of the author that the jeopardy faced by tenant immigrants and occupants of the island colony, combined with the learned distrust of the organized legal elite, and the remnants of the chaotic settlement of the colony lead to the population being so perfunctory in enacting this piece of legislation.

Analysis of Hidden Workers: Child Labour and the Family Economy in Late Nineteenth-Century Urban Ontario.

By Philip Godin

The main thesis of this author is that in the change from rural to urban lifestyle most families were not spared the use of children in domestic labor; instead they were more often exploited/required as additional income workers to provide for poor to lower-middle class families. The article is written to provide an insight to the necessity of children during the industrial revolution to provided menial labor for family benefit and were often unable to attend educational institutions because of those responsibilities. This article stresses the typical majority of urban families and their struggle to maintain a comfortable existence in a changing economy. The argument provided by the author is well developed, though I found it specifically designed to inspire compassion for the individuals of this period when the sources provided make emphasis that this is the common occurrence for families of this time. The focus on the lack of “upwards mobility” created for the discussed class of citizens during a time when such ideals were uncommon and survival still the primary focus of most urban populations worldwide seems idealistic at best to me.

The evidence provided mostly comes in the form of public records, archives, news articles, journals, and personal correspondence. In relation to the other articles provided this week, this one delves into the difficulty of trying to integrate the philosophy of required practical education and the difficulties in trying to enforce said social reform. The change from rural to urban environments did not instantly change the historical practicality that children were practical and even sought-after aids in the economic needs of a household. This article presents the evidence of this fact very well.

As I am often want to do when presented with a singular facet of an individual, I believe that I would want to personally delve into the information regarding J. J. Kelso. His interference on the mercantile pursuits of the newsboys and development of the Children’s Aid Society impart on me the impression of a very interesting individual and an interesting brand of politics. I was also slightly confused by the brief focus on social differences regarding the expectations between male and female children. It seemed to be superficially glossed over and I am interested in the intentions of the author regarding this. With regards to the idea of apprenticeship and the prevention of the development of criminal elements in society I think that a good conversational topic in class would be what would be a good alternate schooling system for those who are not susceptible to the system of education developed during this period and as an individual who started working for wages at the age of twelve the collective philosophy on when children should be allowed to work. Another good topic would be the foster system as this article made many good points on the abuses that can happen in said system and whether the government has an obligation to provide better options for those individuals, perhaps in some sort of public institution.

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