Reforming Witherspoon's Legacy at Princeton: John Witherspoon, Samuel Stanhope Smith and James McCosh on Didactic Enlightenment, 1768–1888

History of European Ideas 39 (5):650-669 (2013)

The College of New Jersey provides an example of how Scottish philosophy influenced American higher education in an institutional context during the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This article compares the administrations of John Witherspoon, Samuel Stanhope Smith and James McCosh at Princeton and examines their use of Scottish philosophy in restructuring the curriculum and reforming its institutional purpose. While presiding over Princeton during its most significant transitional moments, these philosophers of the Scottish School of Common Sense instituted different versions of moral education. Meanwhile, Witherspoon's legacy of balancing the interests of Evangelicalism and Scottish philosophy as Princeton's driving purpose influenced the creation and reception of nineteenth-century programmes of moral education. The broader question this article addresses is: how did the interconnecting points among Scottish philosophy, Calvinism and moral education inform notions of didactic Enlightenment at Princeton across a century?
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DOI 10.1080/01916599.2012.735138
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