Analysis Of Anti-Intellectualism On The Western Frontier

Analysis Of Anti-Intellectualism On The Western Frontier -...

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Analysis of Anti-Intellectualism on the Illinois Frontier By Donald F. Tingley As the Illinois frontier was settled, a feeling of anti-intellectualism had arisen as the primary mentality of early settlers. This anti-intellectualism existed, however, as a reaction to the differing cultures, education, and morals of the people who settled the land. Tingly comes to several conclusions about the occurrence of anti-intellectualism in his article, speaking of the settler’s pervasive distaste for education and the distrust for intellectuals. People on the Illinois frontier were uneducated and unwilling to be educated, finding comfort only in their own ideals. Anti-intellectualism remained so at large in the Illinois frontier for many reasons, as Tingly points out, yet one can conclude that its existence was the result of settler’s negative outlook on education. For the pioneers of the Illinois west, education was seen as both a waste of money and a waste of time. Subsequently, receiving an education from books or college was looked down upon, as one would only be looked up to with respect if he possessed “real intelligence.” Finally, the feeling of equalitarianism became disturbed by the notion of education, as battles between the North and the South, the elite and the poor, the educated and the uneducated, became inevitable. On the Illinois frontier, education was viewed as a waste of money and a waste of time. “In Illinois it was a rare person in the first thirty years of statehood who was a college graduate,” states Tingley (P. 4). To have an education was not common and certainly not necessary in early Illinois; therefore, gaining the people’s support for a state funded education system was nearly impossible, as people did not see any use for such an institution. Tingley cites the accounts of Mrs. Christina Tillson and her discussion with
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This note was uploaded on 12/09/2008 for the course HIS 3810 taught by Professor Titus during the Spring '08 term at E. Illinois.

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Analysis Of Anti-Intellectualism On The Western Frontier -...

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