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Friedrich August Ludwig von der Marwitz: Excerpt from the Essay "On the Causes of Crime Getting out of Hand" (1836)

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Otherwise, more emphasis has been placed on religious studies in the last few years. But the consequences of the other varied fields of study (even if they are only superficial) are so corrupting, that they cannot be negated by religious instruction.

All school books, a few very new ones excepted, are of a demagogic nature. The Brandenburgische Kinderfreund and the books by Wilmsen, etc. preach freedom and equality. Indeed, the previously well-known Not- und Hilfsbüchlein presents a picture of a village community that, although it has a good lord, cannot achieve happiness until a constitution has been introduced. According to these principles and with these objects, the youths are educated, removed from their jobs, and provoked to arrogance.

Understandably, much time is needed for this. Children must attend school once they are six years old and are confirmed when they are fourteen. If they have waited until they are seven, then confirmation occurs when they are fifteen. They must remain in school for eight years and sit there six hours a day in winter and three hours a day in summer.

What is the result? Because the schools are diligently visited by the superintendents, who make reports that determine the future careers of the schoolmasters, they make efforts to parade the oldest children and to elicit correct answers from them which attest to their education. The small children sit there for years, six hours every day, a primer in front of their noses with letters and, later, short sentences, so that they can learn to read. Then they move on to writing books, practicing strokes and single letters. The schoolmaster is not in a position to spend much time with them and to awaken them, otherwise the parade of the older children cannot take place. The little ones are thus stunted. When they grow up, the majority are incapable of comprehending what is expected. They catch little snippets here and there, and the clever ones among them, who overcome everything, are immediately given over to the vice of haughtiness.

The source of all further evil is that, because of their continual presence in school, the children are so far removed from their parents' sight that they are now used to considering the education of their children as solely the responsibility of the schoolmaster, and they hardly concern themselves with it anymore.

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