Mightier Than the Sword: Americans’ Use of Education in Nation-Building at Home and Abroad, 1785-Present
Benjamin Justice

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Rutgers University

Primary Discipline

This study examines the history of Americans’ use of education in nation-building. Using a wide array of secondary works and archival sources from the federal agencies and volunteer organizations, the book will examine eight case studies of Americans’ educational nation-building at home and abroad over the last two centuries. The project organizes these case studies into three thematic sections: the use of education to create future “American” republics, the use of education as a means to pacifying and rehabilitating enemy states, and the use of education in contemporary nation building projects in the Middle East. The word “nation-building” conjures images of imperial government and neo-colonialism, but instead this study hopes to offer a more nuanced understanding of the educational ideas and motivations of Americans by exploring the connection between their own cherished political ideals and the educational systems that they impose on others. This study can make a major contribution to our historical understanding Americans’ ideas about the role of education in a democratic society, and also offer an important perspective to scholars and policy makers concerned with American nation-building efforts today.
About Benjamin Justice

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