The Public Duty of Educated Men
Some things never change:
Public duty in this country is not discharged, as is so often supposed, by voting. A man may vote regularly and still fail essentially of his political duty, as the Pharisee, who gave tithes of all that he possessed and fasted three times in the week, yet lacked the very heart of religion.

When an American citizen is content with voting merely, he consents to accept what is often a doubtful alternative. This, which was formerly less necessary, is now indispensable. In a rural community such as this country was a hundred years ago, whoever was nominated for office was known to his neighbors, and the consciousness of that knowledge was a conservative influence in determining nominations. But in the local elections of the great cities of today, elections that control taxation and expenditure, the mass of the voters vote in absolute ignorance of the candidates. The citizen who supposes that he does all his duty when he votes places a premium upon political knavery. Thieves welcome him to the polls and offer him a choice, which he has done nothing to prevent, between Jeremy Diddler and Dick Turpin. The party-cries for which he is responsible are, "Turpin and Honesty," "Diddler and Reform." And within a few years, as a result of this indifference to the details of public duty, the most powerful politician in the Empire State of the Union was Jonathan Wild the Great, the captain of a band of plunderers...

...If ignorance and corruption and intrigue control the primary meeting and manage the convention and dictate the nomination, the fault is in the honest and intelligent workshop and office, in the library and the parlor, in the church and the school. When these are as constant and faithful to their political rights as the slum and the grog-shops, the pool-rooms and the kennels; when the educated, industrious, temperate, thrifty citizens are as zealous and prompt and unfailing in political activity as the ignorant and venal and mischievous, or when it is plain that they cannot be roused to their duty, then, but not until then--if ignorance and corruption always carry the day--there can be no honest question that the republic has failed. But let us not be deceived. While good men sit at home, not knowing that there is anything to be done, nor caring to know; cultivating a feeling that politics are tiresome and dirty, and politicians vulgar bullies and bravoes; half persuaded that a republic is the contemptible rule of a mob, and secretly longing for a splendid an vigorous despotism--then remember it is not a government mastered by ignorance, it is a government betrayed by intelligence; it is not the victory of the slums, it is the surrender of the schools; it is not that bad men are brave, but that good men are infidels and cowards.

--George W. Curtis, 1877 (Great Speeches, edited by Boutwell, Callender, Jr., and Gerber, p. 16-17)
If this republic fails, it is not because we are hapless victims to the forces of government. So long as we remain passive, we are co-conspirators in our own demise. Congratulations to the homeschoolers in Connecticut who did not remain passive. And it is to instill such virtue that we chose to homeschool.

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