we begin to examine ideological influences upon our perspectives,
we almost inevitably are led back to the past where similar as
well as different beliefs existed. For example, the now common
desire to get a "good education" can be traced back
to the beginnings of this country. Yet this analysis across history
also reveals that the nature of this belief has changed over time.
A historical analysis on perspectives on education can be drawn
The 17th c Puritans, for instance, valued education because they
learned to read the Bible, and one of the primary purposes of
attending Harvard and Yale was to prepare men to be spiritual
and civic leaders. Today, however, we often value education for
economic than religious reasons. Even the 19th century belief
in a liberal arts curriculum, to create well-rounded individuals,
Of course, we do not have to go so far back in time to practice
historical analysis. Most college students can think critically
about changes and continuities in their own beliefs about a college
education. Yet these apparently personal changes often reflect
larger historical trends.
For two examples of historical analysis, go to an excerpt
of a student's RLC 110 paper and a related
assignment from another department.