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Walled Gardens

Walled Gardens

Friends’ Schools

(p.95) Chapter Three Walled Gardens
Holy Nation
Sarah Crabtree
University of Chicago Press

Chapter Three explores the disagreement among Quakers after the War for Independence regarding how to respond to the new political realities in the United States. Friends differed as to how they should or if they even could continue to be “a people within a people” within the context of a nation-state rather than an empire. Some counseled further withdrawal from worldly affairs, arguing that Friends needed to purify themselves from the corrupting forces of nationalism and patriotism, while others, saw an opportunity to influence the new government and urged engagement. For a brief period, Friends found compromise in the education of their youngest members, employing the Biblical metaphor of a “walled garden” in order to reconcile these two stratagems. Friends' schools were to be stationed in remote locations, far away from both the corrupting influence of the world and the watchful eye of the state. At the same time, however, these institutions were to practice a pedagogy that encouraged and trained students to become involved in benevolent organizations and reform movements.

Keywords:   walled gardens, guarded education, republican, common schools, social justice, Ackworth, Westtown, Nine Partners

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