The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XXIII. Education
§ 44. College Problems
Each institution produced certain literary efforts in the form of propaganda, report, and product. Undergraduate journalism originated and flourished. Sectarian propaganda was stimulated. College officials in time ceased to regard student instruction and discipline as their only function and began to attend to larger and more impersonal educational problems. The two most important products of these new interests were reports, one by the faculty of Amherst College in 1827, the other by the faculty of Yale College in 1829. It is an indication either of the progessiveness of that period or of the non-progressiveness of the century intervening between then and now, or perhaps of the traditional character of educational ideas in general, that the problems discussed in these pamphlets are much the same as those of the present day, and that the arguments then offered differ but little from those now heard. A paragraph from the Amherst report states the problem clearly:
This quotation indicates the tenor of the Amherst reply; it was favourable to a progressive, even radical, solution. On the other hand the very elaborate Yale discussion of the same subject, the product of prolonged faculty deliberation, is the fullest statement of the traditional “disciplinary” view of collegiate education.
The best literary presentation of the period of conflict is President Wayland’s Thoughts on the Present Collegiate System in the United States (1842). This discussion, as also President Wayland’s various annual reports, emphasized the need of radical reform in the collegiate system.