International Journal of the Classical Tradition

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 213–231 | Cite as

The Yale report of 1828

  • Jurgen Herbst


The 1828 Report of the Course of Instruction in Yale College, a reaffirmation of the classical curriculum in American college teaching, is recognized as the definitive expression of the philosophy of liberal arts education as seen by nineteenth-century American scholars. Based on the theory of faculty psychology, the Report declared mental discipline to be the prime objective of a college education. While often interpreted as a defensive, conservative declaration, the Report nonetheless left room for the modernization of the college curriculum in an age of growing industrialization. This essay adds to the existing literature by pointing out how, in addressing the particular conditions of the new republican United States, the Yale authors went beyond the similar case argued in 1810 by Professor Edward Copleston of England’s Oxford University.


Yale College Classical Tradition Liberal Education Professional School Oratorical Tradition 
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  1. 1.
    The report appeared first in print asReport of the Course of Instruction in Yale College by a Committee of the Corporation and the Academical Faculty (New Haven: Yale College, 1828). My page references are to Silliman's journal (The American Journal of Science and Arts) in which it appeared as “Original Papers in relation to a Course of Liberal Education” in volume XV (1829): pp. 297–351. Excerpts may be found in Richard Hofstadter and Wilson Smith, eds.,American Higher Education: A Documentary History, volume 1 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1961), pp. 275–291, in Theodore R. Crane, ed.,The Colleges and the Public, 1787–1862 (New York: Teachers College, 1963), pp. 83–99, and in Lester F. Goodchild and Harold S. Wechsler, eds.,ASHE Reader on The History of Higher Education (Needham Heights, Mass: Ginn Press, 1989), pp. 171–178. The report has been discussed in R. Freeman Butts,The College Charts Its Course: Historical Conceptions and Current Proposals (New York: McGraw Hill, 1939), pp. 118–125, George P. Schmidt,The Liberal Arts College: A Chapter in American Cultural History (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1957), pp. 55–58, Ralph Henry Gabriel,Religion and Learning at Yale: The Church of Christ in the College and University, 1757–1957 (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1958), pp. 98–108, Melvin I. Urofsky, “Reforms and Response: The Yale Report of 1828”,History of Education Quarterly, V (1965), 53–67, Brooks Mather Kelley,Yale: A History (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1974), pp. 162–166, Stanley M. Guralnick,Science and the Ante-Bellum American College (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1975), pp. 28–33, Frederick Rudolph,Curriculum: A History of the American Undergraduate Course of Study since 1636 (San Francisco; Jossey Bass, 1977), pp. 66–75, Wesley E. Vanderhoof, “New Doctrine and Old Discipline: New Haven Theology and the Yale Report, “Ph.D. dissertation, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1985, Jack C. Lane, “The Yale Report of 1828 and Liberal Education: A Neorepublican Manifesto,”History of Education Quarterly, XXVII (1987), 325–338, Frederick Rudolph,The American College and University: A History (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1990), pp. 130–135, Herbert M. Kliebard,Forging the American Curriculum: Essays in Curriculum History and Theory (New York: Routledge, 1992), pp. 7–11, Paul Mattingly, “The Political Culture of America's Antebellum Colleges,”History of Higher Education Annual (1997), 85–89, David B. Potts' essay in Roger L. Geiger, ed.,The American College in the Nineteenth Century (Nashville, TE: Vanderbilt University Press, 2000) pp. 39–40, and Caroline Winterer,The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780–1910 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2002), pp. 48–49. In myThe Once and Future School: Three Hundred and Fifty Years of American Secondary Education (New York: Routledge, 1996), pp. 27–39, I have discussed theReport's significance for American secondary education.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jurgen Herbst
    • 1
  1. 1.DurangoUSA

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