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The Period 1820-1840.

organization; it is not a period of progress in German education, except from the stand-point of practical politics. During these years the school system of Prussia was converted into a mighty political force and made obedient to the will of the state. The regulations concerning the governmental administration of the schools, the preparation and certification of teachers, and the control of school instruction through the final examinations, have already been mentioned as the work of Altenstein's ministry under the guidance of Johannes Schulze, chief of the bureau of education.1 One further consideration and the review of the period will be complete.

The Place of


The first impulse of the reformers of the revolutionary period was to make Greek the centre of all gymnasial instruction. Even Herbart, who had little sympathy with the roseate views of the idealists, earnestly advocated the claims of the Greek language and literature for the purpose of educative instruc tion. The program of 1816 gave it a prominent place, but, as Wolf well knew, not all schools were prepared to teach Greek to the extent recommended, nor were all teachers of the subject new humanists. In consequence some provision had to be made for the acceptance of equivalents. Up to 1824 it was possible to graduate from the Gymnasien without Greek. Substitution was then made permissible only with the consent of the provincial school-boards, and in 1837 Greek became an obligatory study.

Latin Takes the

At first sight it looks as if the victory were slowly on the side of the reformers, but in fact it was their defeat. In the early 20's it became apparent that the first care of the administration was to restore the supremacy of Latin. The philological seminars of the universities were ordered to give more attention to Latin composition. Occasional courses in Latin were given


1 Varrentrapp, Johannes Schulze und das höhere Unterrichtswesen in seiner Zeit, 1889.

by the Faculties of Law and Medicine, thanks to a little official inspiration from the ministry, and finally the requirements of the final examinations as announced in 1834 showed precisely where the schools were expected to stand. The certificate of graduation could be given only to him who could write Latin without grammatical errors and in a style tolerably free from Germanisms, and who could speak the language readily enough to satisfy the examiners thereby of his knowledge of the other subjects of the course. Latin was not the only object of official test; but as the examination in other studies, Greek included, was conducted through the Latin, it is safe to say that no candidate would fail to put the stress in the proper place. If Greek was made obligatory, Latin was absolutely indispensable. The truth is it was necessary officially to bolster up the study of Greek to keep it from disappearing entirely under the bureaucratic zeal for excellence in Latin.

Philosophy and

Another innovation of this period which shows clearly enough the trend of official thought was the introduction of philosophical propedeutics. This consisted principally of empirical psychology and logic as a "preparation for the systematic study of the true philosophy." But what of the true philosophy? Some inconsiderate provincial boards raised the question and were laughed at for their pains. The true philosophy, of course, is the Hegelian, and he who would teach in the higher schools must be prepared to believe in it as religiously as in his theology. Philosophy not only found an entrance into the schools but the universities were constrained to make it a required subject for degrees and similar honours. Theology, too, became a formal study for intending teachers, and the ostensible purpose of the eight years' reign of the Police Minister in the bureau of education was to promote the interests of a truly religious education among the people!

The gymnasial program of 1837 is the embodiment of all that had gone before in the realm of internal school affairs. It gives us the first all-round view of what the Prussian state

considered essential in the training of its future leaders in thought and action. It was the first program which was universally adopted in all Prussian Gymnasien, and its adoption marked the triumph of the Altenstein Ministry in its crusade against free

The Program of


dom and individual initiative in education. Uniformity was thereby attained and the school system effectually nationalized.1




VI. V. IV. IIIb. IIIa. II. IIa. Ib. Ia. Total.

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The leaders

The Period 1840-70.

A new era in the history of Prussian education began in 1840 with the reign of Frederick William IV. of the preceding generation had been superseded by others who were of a different faith; Wolf, Goethe, Hegel, and Humboldt were all dead, and in their places stood men who were almost fanatically opposed to the philosophy and world-views which had characterized the first third of the century. Specialization was the watch-word of the new order. In philology, history, philosophy and theology scholars were coming to content themselves with a thorough knowledge of some particular

1 The Circular-Rescript von 24 October, 1837, is given in full in WieseKübler, Verordnungen und Gesetze, Pt. I., pp. 53–65.

branch of their subject rather than strive for a comprehensive view of the entire field; much less, therefore, were they interested in a superficial knowledge of the world in general. Note the change in philology from Wolf's general science of antiquities Bopp (1791-1867) developed comparative grammar on the basis of the Sanskrit; Dietz (1794-1876) was the founder of Romance philology; Ritschl (1806-1876) introduced his students to a study of the Latin inscriptions; and Lepsius (1810-1884) sought his materials for Egyptology with a spade. In history, following the epoch-making work of Niebuhr (1776-1831) came Ranke (1795-1886), who led the way in investigation of the sources. Hegel (1770-1831) was succeeded by Schopenhauer (1788-1860) and Lotze (18171881), and a new field was opened up by Fechner (1801-1887) and Wundt (1832-) in psychology. Even the old theology found opponents in Baur and the Tübingen school, who introduced the higher criticism from the historical stand-point. Jurisprudence had its specialists and critics in von Savigny and Stahl. But the most significant change of all was the tendency in science. Müller (1801-1858) gave a new impulse to the study of pathological anatomy by the introduction of the microscope; Schultze (1825-1874) systematized zoology; Liebig (1803-1873) made a new chemistry, and Helmholtz (1821-1894) a new physics. In short, every object which attracted the attention of scholars was carefully investigated and set off into specialties.


The immediate effect upon the schools of the strictly scientific methods of research which were gradually introduced after 1830 was a tendency to discredit all that The Tendency to had before been attempted. But the work of the Altenstein Ministry could not easily be set aside; nevertheless the Prussian Department of Education assiduously strove to bring unity into the classical schools by emphasizing still further the study of Latin. The idea of

1 Wiese gives an official summary of the years 1864-1869 in Das höhere Schulwesen in Preussen, II., pp. 1-32; 1869-1874, in III., pp. 1-60.

power and special knowledge thus manifested itself in the
classical schools by a return to the method of the old human-
ists. The ability to read, write and speak Latin was the
chief end of all instruction. A gymnasial program was issued
in 1856 which incorporated many of the desired reforms. In
the two lower classes the instruction in German was combined
with the Latin, to which two hours weekly were added, and
the time previously given to the natural sciences was almost
entirely devoted to French and religion. The writing of
Latin was an important exercise in all classes. Greek prose
composition was included in the final examination, from which
German literature, French, the natural sciences and philos-
ophy were entirely omitted. Latin was the main part of the
gymnasial course; everything was subsidiary to the classics.
There were forces operative in German life, however, which
were destined in time to overcome the extreme leaning to-
ward a classical training. The rise of modern
Forces Opposed
science and the accompanying changes in the to Classical
industrial world demanded a hearing. The de-
velopment of rapid transit, the discovery of easy means of
communication and the invention of labor-saving devices
tended toward the growth of urban population. This in its
turn produced unexpected effects upon the social conditions
of the country. The political revolution of 1848 was out-
wardly a failure; but the industrial and social revolution which
began to be felt in Germany in the 30's, and which grew
steadily despite all hinderances during the succeeding forty
years, finally found free scope in the re-established German
Empire. So completely has the new order supplanted the
old that within the last twenty-five years Germany has entered
the markets of the world and become a dangerous rival for
commercial supremacy. In this period Germany has been
transformed from a mediæval agricultural nation into a high-
ly developed industrial power.


In the organization of the school system little thought was given to the practical needs of the people. The reformers were intent upon securing the ideal training for the ideal

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