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The Inception of Modern Professional EducationC. C. Langdell, 1826-1906$
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Bruce A. Kimball

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780807832578

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807889961_kimball

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Boyhood and Youth, 1826–1854

Boyhood and Youth, 1826–1854

(p.11) Chapter One Boyhood and Youth, 1826–1854
The Inception of Modern Professional Education

Bruce A. Kimball

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter focuses on Langdell's youth, where lie the origins of his interest in education and the specific reforms in professional education that he advanced as dean of Harvard Law School. Langdell's encounters with John Locke's Education at Phillips Exeter Academy, with taxonomy and specimens in the natural history classes of Asa Gray and Louis Agassiz, with “office” education in a law firm, with the degree requirements at Harvard Divinity School, with other law students in table talk, and with eleemosynary aid for needy students contributed to principles and policies that he later instituted in professional education. Above all, Langdell's firm commitment to a formal system of academic merit originated in the experience of practicing self-discipline, following the established rules, and achieving academically. By this route, Langdell gradually elevated himself from an impoverished and traumatic childhood to the threshold of the elite in the legal profession.

Keywords:   professional education, Langdell, Harvard Law School, John Locke, Phillips Exeter Academy, legal profession

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