Public Education: John Adams & The New Hampshire Constitution


Program Description:

The controversy over funding of public education in New Hampshire continues after more than a decade of court challenges and legislative initiatives. Much of the controversy centers on a dispute about the word “cherish” as it appears in Article 83 of the state constitution. The presentation will investigate the original meaning of that term as used by John Adams, who drafted the Massachusetts Constitution from which the New Hampshire document, including the disputed article, was taken. The talk will look at Adams’s understanding of the connection between public education and republican government as articulated in political writings from throughout his career.


James M. Farrell

James M. Farrell is a Professor of Rhetoric in the Communication Department at the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches classes in argumentation, propaganda, rhetorical theory, rhetorical criticism, and American public address. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin—Madison in 1988, and has published numerous critical and historical studies of eighteenth-and nineteenth-century American discourse. He is a past winner of the Karl R. Wallace Memorial Award from the National Communication Association, and a past winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award from the College of Liberal Arts at UNH.

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