Beck Center English Dept. University Libraries Emory University
Emory Women Writers Resource Project Collections:
Emory Women Writers Resource Project

The Woman's Advocate, Volume 3, an electronic edition

by William P. Tomlinson, Ed. [Tomlinson, William P.]

date: 1869-1870
source publisher: Wm. P. Tomlinson
collections: Women's Advocacy, Abolition, Freedom, and Rights

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| | 102

CO-EDUCATION

M.F. Burlingame

NO. III. March, 1870. VOL. III.

PROGRESSION depends upon true education. There are periods, when humanity seems to be making but little advancement, but all the while it is becoming gradually educated up to a certain point from which it makes rapid and startling progress.

Every reformation, theological or political, every revolution, social or national, which to the world seemingly sprang full-grown, like Minerva, into existence, was a long time forming. And its generators and participators were for a long period eradicating old prejudices, and educating themselves up to a higher and better order of things.

All along through the dark centuries of the past, has woman murmured against her unnatural position, and from generation to generation has the murmur grown louder, and slowly but surely has she removed one degrading restriction after another ,developed and educated herself up to the point of demanding the rights of a human being.

Education, true education, is the legitimate cause of the woman movement, as it is of every reform. All that is needed to make the movement a success is to educate the masses until they are able to comprehend the truth of its principles and the justice of its demands. Every person possesses an education, extensive or limited, true or false. Upon the quantity and quality of individual education depends the progression and elevation of humanity. True education ever carries humanity onward and upward, false education ever retards and debases. True education is not so much a cramming down of facts, a committing of formulas, as a thorough understanding and developing of our three-fold nature, an attaining to purity of life and thought, to liberality of opinion, and a forming of individual character. Let every man and woman attain to this and we would see the dawning of the millenium. God himself indicated the only method of acquiring a true education and of going on toward mortal perfection, when he created man and woman. Man is incomplete without woman; woman, without man. Seclude men and women from each other, and they become dwarfed, deformed in soul, and brutish. The crime, corruption, and insanity found in convents and monasteries, particularly when those institutions included a large proportion of the population, afford a melancholy proof of this assertion. Man needs the presence of woman to arouse all that is best, purest, and noblest within him; and vice versa.

God and nature points to co-education as the true method, and it is wilful blindness not to accept the indication. Those families, where the | | 103 children are of both sexes, generally send forth better men and women, than those where there is only one sex. The students of mixed schools are more orderly and studious than those of schools restricted to one sex. The colleges which refuse to admit women do as great injury and injustice to their own students as to the feminine applicants.

Each sex restrains and refines the other. Together, the nature of each acquires depth and breadth impossible to be reached when separated. In mixed schools, the rough, disorderly, vulgar habits so prevalent in "male colleges," are almost unknown, and the excessive frivolity found in "female seminaries," almost disappears.

For the regeneration of the world, it is necessary that men and women should have faith in each other, and that each should be worthy of the other's trust. This faith and worthiness are acquired best by associating, teaching, and training the sexes together, as co-students in-school, co-workers in life, brothers and sisters in God's great family.

The practice of separating boys and girls during the rapidly growing, developing and changing period of their lives is detrimental to the extreme. Each sex feels the want of the other, each has an innocent craving for the other's presence, which being ungratified, is sinfully perverted; each places a wrong estimate upon the other, each grows up with false ideas of the other, each learns error instead of truth, vulgarity instead of purity, art and concealment instead of frankness, deception toward the other instead of honesty.

Only by being educated with woman, or by associating with her, untrammeled by debasing artificialities, can man learn and understand the wants of the feminine nature. The reason why many men oppose the woman movement is that they have not been thus educated; they know nothing of woman.

Woman knows not the wants and capacities of her own soul until she has associated with true manhood; and the reason why so many women are indifferent upon the subject of woman's emancipation is that they are unawakened, ignorant of themselves, and falsely educated.

The purest, divinest portion of man's nature lies torpid until aroused by pure, strong-souled womanhood; the divinest element in woman's soul is awakened only by pure, true manhood. Shall this spark of divinity remain unnoticed, undeveloped until maturity, and risk missing it through having the soul defiled by passion instead of exalted by love for humanity? Rather let it be recognized and cherished by co-education and co-labor, each sex taught and trained to look upon the other as brothers or as sisters.

Co-education is needed in other departments beside purely educational institutes. The recent disturbance at the clinical lectures in | | 104 Philadelphia fully demonstrates that. That disturbance clearly shows to what low depths of degradation men will descend when unrestrained by the habitual presence of women. Their corrupt imaginations saw sensuality where there was none. To the vile all things are vile.

A firmly established system of co-education would have prevented many from becoming so foul, and compelled the others to be civil. For illustration, a class of men attend their first lecture in the dissecting room, the majority are honorable, high-principled men, but unsettled and liable to corrupting influences. With feelings of wonder they learn of the marvelous mechanicism of the human body, and are sublimely touched by the divine impress left upon every part; but an obscene though witty remark of a corrupt class-mate, - alas, sometimes of the gentleman (?) lecturer, -- banishes these feelings and makes a debasing impression on their minds. And this being repeated day after day soon pollutes the whole class.

A class of women might be defiled in the same manner but bring the two together, and the corrupt of each sex would be compelled to leave their foul thoughts unuttered, and thus the class would escape their corrupting influence.

In every department, law, medicine, theology, etc., co-education and co-operation would be of decided advantage to humanity. We are not only pleading and working for the elevation of womanhood but also for the elevation of manhood. They progress together, they depend on each other. It is time that men and women should not be arrayed against each other, that their interests and aims should not be separated, that neither should be limited in the exercise of the God-given power to learn and to labor. God speaks most impressively to man through woman, to woman through man; not through a debasing perversion of that which makes them men and women; but through the higher, subtler, more spiritual, diviner sexual faculties and instincts.

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