This essay is adapted from a chapter in The Liberal Arts in Higher Education, edited by Diana Glyer and David Weeks (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1998). Updated September 2004.
1. Martin Gilbert, Winston S. Churchill: The Road to Victory , 1941-1945, Vol. VII (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1986), p. 245. Return to text.
2. Ibid., 847. Return to text.
3. Plato, The Republic of Plato , trans. Allan Bloom (Basic Books, 1991), 332d-333e. Return to text.
4. Ibid., 505a2, 505d7-8. Return to text.
5. Aristotle, Metaphysics , first line. Return to text.
6. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics , 1094a1-26; 1177a12-1178a8. Return to text.
7. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica , Question 94, Second Article , Objection 3 ( http:///advent/summa/ ). Return to text.
8. Socrates describes the historic turn in his own relentless search for the truth in Phaedo , 96a-100. Return to text.
9. The Academy founded by Plato—a leading center, to say the least, of liberal education—endured for some nine hundred years. It had some difficulty preserving and perpetuating in their full breadth and depth the teachings of its founder, as have American universities and colleges with far less to live up to. What brought the Academy to an end after nine hundred years was an edict of the emperor Justinian in 529 . as part of an effort to impose religious conformity throughout the Roman Empire. Return to text.
10. David L. Wagner, ed., The Seven Liberal Arts in the Middle Ages (Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1983), 1, 256; see especially 1-57, 248-272 for general treatments of the development of the liberal arts tradition. Return to text.
11. Wagner, ibid., 251. Return to text.
12. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics , trans. Martin Ostwald (Prentice Hall, 1962), 1098a26-28. Return to text.
13. Aristotle, Politics , 1337b27-1337b42; 1333b37-1334a34. It is worth reflecting on what Aristotle means when he says that leisure is “the first principle” (the arche , the beginning and end) of all activity. Return to text.
14. Thomas Jefferson, “A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom,” Writings (New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1984), 346. Return to text.
15. http:///documents/ Return to text.
16. Thomas Hobbes, The Elements of Law Natural and Politic (1640, I, ch. 17, sec. 1), http:///~econ/ugcm/3ll3/hobbes/elelaw . Return to text.
17. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan or the Matter, Forme and Power of a Commonwealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1960), 63-64. Return to text.
18. Francis Bacon, Novum Organum , I. 3; I. 129, in Advancement of Learning and Novum Organum (New York: Willey Book Co. 1900), 315, 366. We need not deprive ourselves of the many useful discoveries of modern science merely because we remind ourselves of the ancient insight that what is “useful” can only be understood in light of what is “good.” Return to text.
19. “’Could it be possible? This old saint in the forest has not heard anything of this, that God is dead ?’” Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spoke Zarathustra , in The Portable Nietzsche , trans. Walter Kaufmann (New York: Penguin Books, 1982), 124. Return to text.
McPherson is known for his outspokenness on contemporary issues and for his activism, such as his work on behalf of the preservation of Civil War battlefields . As president in 1993-1994 of Protect Historic America , he lobbied against the construction of a Disney theme park near Manassas battlefield .  He has also served on the boards of the Civil War Trust as well as the Association for the Preservation of Civil War Sites , a predecessor to the Civil War Trust. From 1990 to 1993, he sat on the Civil War Sites Advisory Commission .