Textual Analysis of Freedom and Constraint in Eighteenth Century Harvard essay


TextualAnalysis of Freedom and Constraint in Eighteenth Century Harvard

Textual Analysis of Freedom and Constraint in Eighteenth CenturyHarvard

Kathryn McDaniel Moore is currently the assistant professor of HigherEducation at Cornell University. In her article, &quotFreedom andConstraint in Eighteenth Century Harvard,&quot Kathryn McDanielMoore talks about life at Harvard College in the 18thcentury. The article is about the collegiate life at Harvard Collegeat the time whereby, it was more about student freedom developingconsciousness, on one hand, and by a rise in elaborate studentgovernance methods, on the other (Moore, 1975). The article alsoemphasizes that the resulting countervailing forces triggered theseedbed of an imminent change in the college. Both inside and outsidecollege, it is evident that the decision-making process is affectedmost importantly on essential elements such as student indisciplinecases and college custom records

The article shades more light on how the past illuminates thecollegial process of decision making is evidently clear. The articledraws an example of the kind of relationship Harvard College had withits students in the 18th century (Moore, 1975). There is no evidencein how instances in the past aligns with presentism however, Ipresume that any college, and for this case Harvard College, setsabout making decisions to solve any emerging challenge as a result ofstudent leadership and governance amid limited time and otherconstraints.

The issue highlighted and discussed in the article is important inthat the case study regarding collegiate life has less to do withmaking decisions but a lot to do with the whole process of arrivingat and deliberating on decisions. The issue at hand is the view thatthe institutions of higher learning are dynamic colleges whoseresponses to the problems facing them are critically and inevitablyessential to their ecology, position, and time.

There is slight biasness in which language is used to deliver themessage in Moore’s article. For example, there are slight biases inthe language used evidently when she reiterates that &quotthemisconduct shown by students was unknown in the 17th century&quot(Moore, 1975). She also goes ahead to contradict her sentiments bysaying that the misconduct was because of the &quotnumber oflearners remaining small.&quot Here, the author appears bias in herreiterations by how she contradicts her earlier statements regardingcollegiate life in the 17th and 18th century compared to the 20thcentury. Additionally, language use in the article is characterizedby an emphasis on the past thus disregarding the present daysituation in colleges.

The target audiences are the college students. The audience has lessto do with making the actual decisions facing their respectivecolleges but have more to do in the decision-making process. For thearticle to appeal to both the audience`s emotions and logic, theauthor, Moore, effectively implemented some rhetorical techniques,which include allusions, analogy, and metaphors (Moore, 1975).

The article also uses connotation of language to drive its pointhome. Moore applied implications of language to lessen the impact ofhaving to use powerful words. In my view, these connotations oflanguage are used to imply other words that whose meaning may beexplicit. In describing the students` attitudes towards collegeauthorities at Harvard, she uses connotation terms such as&quotstubborn-like,&quot &quotperverseness,&quot and &quotpride-like&quotto describe the Puritan adults` description of these students. Theauthor also uses words such as &quotsinful,&quot &quotwrathful,&quotand &quotunregenerate soul&quot to describe the state of thestudents` actions (Moore, 1975).

In every adverb and adjective, imagery, and sentence structure usedby the author, they play a huge role altering the tone. The tonerefers to the manner in which the author or speaker expresses his orher attitude towards an issue. In this case, the tone used in thearticle is that of worry. For instance, the tone she uses drawsconcerns regarding theological predispositions of the students`quasi-elect status. She marvels at how difficult it was to attempt toreform students-turn-offenders against the school laws. In my view,it is evident that Moore compares emerging concerns about the studentlevel of misconduct cases before and the present day, especially oncivil practices. The tone is known by how she expresses her concernswhile attempting to draw relevance on the manner in which eventsunfolded in the college.

In her quest to put across her concerns and sentiments about thecollegiate life in Harvard, Moore uses Harvard`s culture to makeassumptions on the same. For instance, in her reference to thecollege`s tide of lawlessness and financial difficulties, shementions the university`s culture having graduated learned ministers,judges, scholars, physicians, merchants, soldiers, and even farmers(Moore, 1975). The author used the Harvard`s culture adding aworrying tone to put across the need to live on the college`s pastglory.

Although the article is enlightening while providing more backgroundinformation about life in Harvard, Moore did not clearly expound onthe present day collegiate life. Regardless of her failure to do so,there are no sections in the article that appear to be obscure.Published in 1976, the article tells more about life back then ascompared to the present day. The time in which it was written shows adifferent life`s perspective compared to today`s situation. Overall,the article is enjoyable and enlightening.


Moore, K. M. (1975). Freedom and Constraint in Eighteenth CenturyHarvard. The Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 47, No. 6, pp.649-659