Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name


Department or School/College


Committee Chair

Dr. Michael Mayer

Committee Co-chair

Dr. Jeff Wiltse

Commitee Members

Dr. Michael Mayer, Dr. Jeff Wiltse, Dr. Adrea Lawrence


liberal education, neo-orthodoxy, new conservatism, conformity, secularism, authoritarianism


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Catholic Studies | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Educational Psychology | Education Law | Elementary and Middle and Secondary Education Administration | First Amendment | Gifted Education | Higher Education Administration | History of Religions of Western Origin | Intellectual History | Religious Education | Sociology


This thesis discerns the relationships between three interrelated movements of the post-war period (circa 1945-1959): the overwhelming concern among leading intellectuals regarding the relationship between the individual and society, the post-war debates over education, and rising religious observance. Following WWII, the nation’s leading scholars and social critics addressed the most important problem facing the country and, for that matter, the world: how to avoid totalitarianism. Almost naturally, such anxieties influenced new debates over education. Broadly speaking, these controversies involved two related disputes over the efficacy of progressive education and the proper relationship between church and state. After World War II, many Americans believed progressive education unsuitable to their religious sensibilities and insufficient for the needs of "gifted" students. Having defeated one godless adversary in WWII and facing yet another during the Cold War, Americans reevaluated the quality of their education system and the desirability of religious instruction in education. Though most agreed that America's education system needed improvement and that religion had a place in education, they disagreed over how to realize these goals. Such differences manifested along religious lines between the three major American faith-groups: Protestant, Catholic, and Jew.



© Copyright 2022 Ben Yturri