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Creating the American Mind: Intellect and Politics in the Colonial Colleges by J. David Hoeveler (Rowman & Littlefield) Nine colleges of colonial America confronted the major political currents of the sev­enteenth and eighteenth centuries, while serving as the primary intellectual institutions for Puritanism and the transition to Enlightenment thought. The colleges also dealt with the most partisan and divisive cultural movement of the eighteenth century -the Great Awakening.

Creating the American Mind is the first book to present a comprehensive treatment of the colonial colleges, tracing their role in the intellectual development of early Americans through the Revolution. Distinguished historian J. David Hoeveler focuses on Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, the College of New Jersey (Princeton), King's College (Columbia), the College of Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania), Queen's College (Rutgers), the College of Rhode Island (Brown), and Dartmouth. Hoeveler pays special attention to the collegiate experience of prominent Americans, including Jefferson, Hamilton, and Madison.

Written in clear and engaging prose, Creating the American Mind will be of great value to historians and educators interested in rediscovering the indi­viduals and institutions who laid the foundation of American intellectual history.

Nine colleges existed in the British colonies of North America at the time of the American Revolution. This book studies those institutions. It has some specific purposes in view and some strategies designed to pursue them. American intellectual culture is the general subject of the series to which this book belongs. Hence this study examines the colonial colleges with a large inter­est in how they expressed, advanced, and challenged the intellectual systems in which they functioned. Much in view is the public nature of the schools-their interconnections with the apparatus of the colonies or Crown that incorporated them, the religious denominations that sponsored them, and above all the ex­pansive literature of religious dogmatics and disputation that played so important a role in defining and differentiating the institutions in question.

We often idealize our institutions of higher learning. We like to think that the intellectual world of colleges and universities must thrive within an auton­omy essential to the disinterested pursuit of truth. And yet we know`that higher education in our time has come under sustained attack for taking on a political ideology. References to the "culture wars" describe a scene of contest, where the campuses, and especially the college curricula, reinforce the ideological warfare that rages beyond. The label "politically correct," which critics apply to the par­tisan agenda of putatively leftist-oriented universities, signifies to them a be­trayal of intellectual neutrality or objectivity. Conservative detractors see a one­dimensional habit of mind that tolerates no dissent and casts out those who interrogate the official coda.

Creating the American Mind recovers an era in which colleges were political to the core. One will learn of a college president who spent time in prison for his political trans­gressions, of a faculty member who became a British spy, of college leaders who preached revolution, and of college leaders who did all they could to prevent it. One will see college graduates who`emerged from their institutions armed with a thinking that carried them into revolution and, in some cases, into the highest offices of the United States. But what Hoeveler means by "political" something more than these familiar expressions of the word, and something more important. Hoeveler means the pol­itics of intellect. For in the era studied here intellect meant politics. A college's very identity embraced a position often painstakingly secured through elaborate argumentation, within an array of religious opinion, theological discourse, and denominational prescriptions that proliferated in the seventeenth and eigh­teenth centuries. It mattered that one college had a Calvinist identity, and it mattered if it seemed that a college was losing that identity. It mattered that`one understood baptism properly to mean antipaedobaptism, and it mattered that one understood Scripture as giving a plenary sanction for the institutions of bish­ops. It mattered that one argued that an individual could gain salvation from some initiative of his own. If the doctrine of predestination seemed to make God the author of sin, that mattered, too.

Creating the American Mind offers the first synthetic examination of the nine colonial col­leges. It is not a history of the college curriculum in the colonial era, although that subject enters at critical juncturesn It deals at various places with student life, but constraints of size have also limited that subject in this book. Rather, Hoeveler has examined an expansive literature of sermons and pamphlets, public ad­dresses, college texts, and collections of personal papers. These intellectual doc­uments, many of them intensely partisan, brought their authors into the public domain. Their efforts defined and redefined Protestant denominations, they helped create new churches and religious groups, and they influenced the found­ing of new colleges. Thus Calvinist New Englanders, upset with Harvard's liber­alizing trends, founded Yale. New Light partisans of the religious Awakening of the eighteenth century, finding their movement locked out of Harvard and Yale, founded Princeton. New Light Separatists and Baptists, opposed by the Standing Order of Connecticut and Massachusetts, founded Rhode Island College. Angli­cans in New York City, vexed that Dissenter Presbyterians had successfully se­cured the College of New Jersey, started King's College (Columbia University).

Colleges had a large public visibility. Officials of the state sat on their boards. Commencement exercises were colonywide events, visited by governors and other public officials and attended by large crowds. At Harvard a professor like John Winthrop IV gave Thursday evening lectures to the public, discours­ing on earthquakes and storms, emphasizing their natural causes and allaying fears of their providential meanings. Likewise its professor of divinity Edward Wigglesworth gave public addresses, discussing fine points of theology. During the revolution, almost all the colleges felt a direct impact of the war as their buildings served the military operations of American or British forces. In one of the colleges the new state government intervened to change the institution root and branch.

Creating the American Mind brings all the colonial colleges under study but it nonetheless takes an institutional approach, mostly chronological. It begins with Oxford and Cambridge universities and the Puritan movements in England. Two chapters follow on Harvard and Yale to bring the two New England colleges under com­parison. William and Mary College, the second oldest of the colonial schools, follows. The College of New Jersey moves the study to the Middle Atlantic colonies, joined there by King's College and the College of Philadelphia (the University of Pennsylvania). Three colleges-Rhode Island College, Queen's College, and Dartmouth College, all products of the Awakening-complete the list. I have added a second chapter on Harvard; having a significantly longer his­tory than any of the schools, it required extended consideration. All of the col­leges found themselves immersed in the American Revolution and the events leading up to it. A new political literature emerged in these years and gave drama to the intellectual politics of colonial higher education. Here the colleges per­formed a particularly significant role in creating an American intellectual cul­ture. That subject constitutes part II of the book.

Hoeveler has relied on institutional histories to construct the framework for this study, but they have provided him only a point of departure. In the chapter sub­jects Hoeveler focuses on the extended biographies of the key players and move from there to the textual examination of their literary production. That shift reflects a con­viction that biography gives intellectual history its critical axis as well as its ad­venture. Most of the individuals who became the college leaders that one will meet here brought to their new roles an established record of intellectual activ­ity, polemics, and partisan religious warfaren The personal venue also opens this history to the larger intellectual worlds of Puritanism and Calvinism; to the new departures in rational and liberal Protestantism; to the documents,`often pas­sionate and prejudicial, but more often rigorous and scholarly, too, of the reli­gious Awakening; and to the American Enlightenment, nourished by science, the challenge of deism, and religious and philosophical literature from England and Scotland. Amid their hostilities, their ad hominem disputes, their sectarian assaults, and their learned disputations the colleges opened the American colonies to the intellectual world of the ancients, to the dogmatics of Reformation Christianity, and to the modern thinking that was reshaping Western cul­ture. These resources lay in waiting, as it were, in the tumultuous years of the 1760s and 1770s. College presidents, students, and graduates seized them and, in richly different applications, used them to forge a new intellectual culture for the United States.

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