Louis Moreau Gottschalk on education

Those favored by fortune can educate themselves in all countries: and it is for that reason that the American thinkers did not dedicate their cares to the aristocratic element of society, but rather to the lowest ranks of the great mass of the people, whom they have struggled to enlighten; comprehending that education ought not to be a privilege, but something which belongs to all, as much as the air we breathe; and that every citizen has as imprescriptible a right to the light of the Spirit as he has to the light of the sun which illuminates him.
The popular system of education in the United States, in that austere elaboration, which, of a child, makes successively a man, and later a citizen, has, for its principal object, to prepare him for the use of liberty, — that cuirass of the strong, but which frequently, for the weak, is transformed into the shirt of Nessus.
Louis Moreau Gottschalk, 1868 (from Mary Alice Seymour, Life and Letters of Louis Moreau Gottschalk by Octavia Hensel, His Friend and Pupil, 1870).

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