“IS NOT THE SUPREME PURPOSE OF EDUCATION, THEREFORE, TO TRAIN MEN AND WOMEN TO RULE?”: TYPED MANUSCRIPT SIGNED BY PRESIDENT HARDING
HARDING, Warren G. Document signed. Washington, circa 1922. Three leaves, measuring 8 by 10-1/2 inches, typed on the recto. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. $3000.
Typed manuscript of the foreword to a work on the Constitution, signed on the last page of text by the author, President Harding.
This foreword for James Montgomery Beck's Constitution of the United States, which first appeared in the 1922 edition of the book, is signed by Harding at the end of the text. Harding writes: "The purpose of the National Security League to give wide circulation to Mr. Beck's admirable lectures, upon the Constitution of the United States, deserves all commendation. To place this book in the hands of teachers and the youth of the country, is an additional effort which fittingly complements the patriotic work of the League during the war. We are accounted to the truism that popular government depends on universal education. But it is not easy to define education and determine the relative importance of the many branches of learning which may properly be the subject of study by those who would call themselves educated. Let me offer this suggestion: We live under a government of and by the people. The source of power is the people. The people rule. Is not the supreme purpose of education, therefore, to train men and women to rule? Under other forms of government is has always been thought necessary to educate the ruling class in the science of government, that they might have knowledge and understanding of the institutions which they would be called on the administer. Here, we are all the ruling class. Wise and just and righteous government in a democracy must depend upon the wisdom and justice of the people. Those who study this book will learn to value the Constitution as a sacred heritage from those who ordained and established it in order to secure the blessings of liberty for themselves and their posterity. They will come to know that the fabric of government which it created has proved strong enough to wield the power of a mighty people and to maintain the sacred right of the humblest citizen to life, liberty, and property?" He continues with a quote from an earlier address of his own on the struggle to establish the Constitution and found our fair country, and finally, closes with a quote by Abraham Lincoln. Harding's foreword first appeared in a 1922 edition of Beck's book, which was meant to be used in schools and was reprinted many times. Accompanied by the "National Security League Edition" of Beck's The Constitution of the United States, distributed for free for educational purposes by the National Security League in an edition of 10,000 copies. Book with bookplate of Sam A. Lewisohn, the American lawyer, financier, philanthropist, art collector, and law/management author. Faint blue notation pointing toward Harding's signature. First leaf with stamped notation: "Aug 6 1923 G.H.D."
Accompanying book near-fine. Manuscript near-fine, with faint paperclip markings and staple holes.