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Was Dabney a Prophet?

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The writings of Robert Lewis Dabney (1820–1898) often read like prophecy. After the War Between the States, Dabney wrote essays on a variety of cultural and political issues, both in defense of the South and as an assault on progressivism. Along the way, he made predictions regarding the secularization of public schools, the future of feminism, and the decline of religious freedom.

Dabney on Schools and Religion 

Dabney wrote several essays on education, with the greatest being “Secularized Education” for Libbey’s Princeton Reviewin 1879. (Dabney’s essays were collected in his four-volume Discussions.) Dabney opposed the public school movement taking place in Virginia for several reasons. First and foremost, he argued that education belongs to parents and the private sector, not the state. He further argued that true education has the Bible as its foundation and moral formation as its end, and he knew public schools would inevitably become secularized.


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