Creating the American Mind: Intellect and Politics in the Colonial Colleges

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9780847688302: Creating the American Mind: Intellect and Politics in the Colonial Colleges

The 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 confronted 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 synthetic 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 institutions that first fostered American intellectual thought.

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About the Author:

J. David Hoeveler is professor of history at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee. His books include James McCosh and the Scottish Intellectual Tradition: From Glasgow to Princeton and The Postmodernist Turn: American Thought and Culture in the 1970s.

Review:

[Hoeveler's] book is highly readable and well researched and will be a useful addition to most academic libraries. (Library Journal)

An informative, erudite commentary on the role and significance of nine major colleges in Colonial North America. Hoeveler's marvelous narrative and intellectual depth reflect brilliant handling of the material. Highly recommended. (CHOICE)

This is the first synthetic account that we have of the colonial colleges in the eighteenth century. Hoeveler shows that from their inception, institutions of higher learning in America were creatures of politics, and he demonstrates that religious commitments did not preclude significant contributions in British North America. (Bruce Kuklick, University of Pennsylvania)

Creating the American Mind is an engaging 150-year journey across the institutional, intellectual, and political history of higher education in the American colonies. Adeptly situating each colonial college in its social context, J. David Hoeveler depicts unabashed academic politicization, intense religious strife, and conflicting regional interests. By combining biography with textual analysis, he demonstrates how patriotic fervor emerged from particularistic concerns, and how campus ferment spawned political and cultural revolution. Readers will enjoy Hoeveler's graceful writing, admire his breadth of knowledge, and appreciate his judicious conclusions. (Harold Wechsler, University of Rochester)

This book is a must study for those interested in not only the basic history of the founding of the early colleges in colonial America, but in how the ideas cultivated at these colleges gave birth to, and nurtured, that often fractious but always purposeful American 'mind.' (History of Education Quarterly)

Solidly and clearly researched. Its treatment of the nine colonial colleges is authoritative for the individual institutions and Hoeveler weaves the separate stories together quite nicely into a larger narrative. (Mark Noll, Wheaton College)

Provides perhaps the most comprehensive study to date of the intellectual, religious politics behind the foundation of the nine British-American colonial colleges. Hoeveler offers a dense and rich study by deftly weaving straightforward institutional history, biographical vignettes, and close, insightful reading of foundational texts into a single narrative. (Itinerario)

This impressive book aims to and succeeds in presenting a description of early American intellectual culture with a two-part approach that effectively combines discussion of significant educational trends with fascinating anecdotal tidbits of those days when nine colonial colleges were 'political to the core' and when 'intellect meant politics.' Highly recommended. (Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography)

The best single-volume study of the colleges of colonial and revolutionary America. (Journal of American History)

There is much to commend in Hoeveler's work. [It is] the first effort to synthesize the histories of all the colonial colleges. . . . A significant and worthwhile achievement. (American Historical Review)

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