Preserving America’s Future
Patrick Henry College prepares Christian men and women who will lead our nation and shape our culture with timeless biblical values and fidelity to the spirit of the American founding. Cultural trends focused away from a faith-based biblical worldview indicate that there has been a significant shift away from the essential values of our nation’s founding generation.
The Need to Preserve Liberty
Preserving liberty means preserving certain fundamental notions about what it means to live and what it means to be free. The concept of liberty articulated in the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence comes from the understanding that all men have unalienable rights that are rooted in a transcendent Creator.
Founding Fathers Believed in Transcendent Truth
The framers of the Philosophy of Education at Patrick Henry College believe that a thorough understanding of an unwavering, biblical worldview is crucial to being a leader of integrity and committed to pursuing God’s truth. Unfortunately, as more and more national leaders glean their education from secular undergraduate institutions, higher education has been reduced to a body deficient in leadership. There is a void in higher education for producing well-trained, but also biblically-faithful minds. Patrick Henry College is filling the void and training men and women who can lead at the highest levels with a commitment to a biblical worldview—something that America is in desperate of.
Patrick Henry College and the classical model of education are some of the best answers to filling this void.
Patrick Henry College’s Comprehensive Core Curriculum
Patrick Henry College’s broad, 63-credit classical liberal arts core seeks to interconnect a wide-array of disciplines based-upon the trivium and quadrivium. The trivium consists of grammar, logic, and rhetoric; the quadrivium consists of arithmetic, music, geometry, and astronomy.
The idea at Patrick Henry College is to educate students in a broad variety of disciplines and specialize minimally within majors. Students will have the benefit of having an in-depth and comprehensive education while being able to gain the specific skills needed for their respective fields while getting hands-on experience through Patrick Henry College internships or taking one of the major-specific classes.
The Classical Core at Patrick Henry College is designed to not only prepare students for the job market, but more importantly, prepare them for life. The liberal arts curriculum connects history with philosophy, literature with theology, economics with government, and more. Ultimately, students learn how to think about the world as well as their place in it.
Understanding the Past while at Patrick Henry College
A key element of Patrick Henry College’s Classical Core is that it draws its inspiration from the past. In order to best understand the world now, one must understand the values, events, and lessons of the past. A comprehensive liberal arts education achieves just that.
The Ancient Greeks and Romans saw education in two categories: pragmatic and liberal (from liberalis meaning “worthy of a free man”). Those who were slaves had a “servile” education in which the focus was technical and job-oriented. The technical education is one focused on survival, not flourishing. However, free citizens were given a liberal education. The free man was able to contemplate the most fundamental questions of life such as “Who am I?” or “Where did I come from?” The thread of liberty is traced back to the origins of a classical liberal arts education.
In the 6th century, the church of Cassiodoras first systematized the seven liberal arts previously mentioned as the trivium and quadrivium. Medieval theologians added theological science as a liberal art because theology was considered integral to education.
The character of classical liberal arts changed during the Renaissance when the rhetoric so highly esteemed from the Greeks became a major focus, as well as a heavy emphasis on the Bible. Reformation leaders Luther and Melanchthon planted schools that were specifically designed to enable all Christians to read the Bible. These schools were not only for the elite but also for the masses in an attempt for Christians from all classes to receive a liberal arts education.
Luther’s doctrine of vocation became an integral part of classical education. He maintained that cultivating one’s God-given talents by means of the liberal arts can equip Christians for whatever arena of love and service to the neighbor that God calls them to.
The American founders believed strongly in liberty, virtue, and self-government. They maintained that people who are to be free must be given an education that equips them for freedom. “Liberal” education, for the founders, was essential for “liberty.”
Patrick Henry College is committed to educating students in the biblical principles that framed America’s founding.
Informing the Future at Patrick Henry College
Unfortunately, the concept of providing an extensive and quality classical liberal arts education has been all but lost in today’s world. More often than not, prestigious secular undergraduate colleges focus on preparing citizens for the job market and having a working mindset rather than learning to live fully and knowing how to think deeply.
Patrick Henry College seeks to draw its students upwards. It seeks to bring a full awareness of the biblical worldview—the worldview that widely shaped the thinking of our Founding Fathers. When students read Aristotle, they read about Ancient Greece, they more importantly read about the thoughts and ideals of the time. They understand virtue through an Aristotelian framework: that it is an end unto itself.
Today, nearly 300 private Christian day schools are members of the Association of Classical & Christian Schools (ACCS), following a classical model of education. In addition, there are likely that many more classical Christian schools unaffiliated with ACCS, such as those connected to the Society of Classical Learning and various denominational institutions. These young scholars are graduating from high school with stronger mental chops and grounding in philosophy, theology, fine art, US History, world history, grammar, logic, and rhetoric than their peers. They do—and will continue to—shape the future of America.
Patrick Henry College Classical Learning and Homeschool Education
Classical Christian education has also become a major curricular model for homeschoolers. Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer’s The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (1999) has become a bestseller for W. W. Norton, a major secular publisher. Other widely-used classical resources have become widely-accepted in the homeschool community such as the online tutorials SCHOLA, Escondido Tutorial Service, and the Great Books Academy. Classical Conversations, comprising 300,000 American families and growing strong, is a national network of homeschool co-ops and seminars. Not surprisingly, more than 70% of the students entering Patrick Henry College come from a homeschool background.
Our nation needs an education revival. More than an infusion of Christian principles, the preservation of liberty requires an influx of virtuous and principled leaders. A comprehensive and extensive liberal arts education that is built on a Christian worldview is vital to raising-up a new generation of leaders. Such an education, that was available to the world-changing minds of the past, is now increasingly hard to find.
Patrick Henry College educates students by looking at the cultural movements, the leaders that shaped Western Civilization, and the leaders that shaped the system of government in order to preserve America for future generations. A true and Christian education informs the leaders of tomorrow by keeping alive the virtues that had all too often been left in the past.