Did the education-related quote from Mark Twain had anything to do with politics?

I've noticed that people tend to interpret the following quote from Mark Twain in the same way, but rarely, if ever, somebody connects it to politics: "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." Many commenters seem to come up with an explanation related to self-education and that might be partly true, but could it be that there is more to this quote? I mean, did he see how politics affect how the schooling system(s) works and thus how it affects him and others, too?

6 Answers

  • 8 years ago

    First of all this seems to be one of those lovely quotes from a person who never said it.

    The first time Mark Twain gets accused of saying it is in a bit of advertising copy from the Daisy Air Rifle company dated 1907. Daisy Air Rifles were the American child's BB gun makers.

    Not that Twain couldn't have said it, and it has the right ironic sound to be Twain, but there is no other source to indicate it was his line.

    Grant Allen is a much more likely source. In the late 1890s he said it several different times in different forms. He liked the line enough to work it into quite a few speeches and in 4 different novels.

    In 1894 a collection of his speeches was published and it appears in them.

    It is worth reading a fuller version of Grant Allen's version.

    "One year in Italy with their eyes open would be worth more than three at Oxford; and six months in the fields with a platyscopic lens would teach them strange things about the world around them that all the long terms at Harrow and Winchester have failed to discover to them. But that would involve some trouble to the teacher.

    What a misfortune it is that we should thus be compelled to let our boys’ schooling interfere with their education!"

    Now it should be noticed Allen was not arguing in favour of home schooling.

    He was arguing in favour of practical training in the field instead of just text reading or classroom laboratories for university students.

    In other words what would now be called a practicum.

  • 8 years ago

    Samuel Clemens was correctly pointing out that many of life's most valuable lessons

    are not learned in a classroom, but through living from day to day.

    He was a humorist, who liked to express himself in ways that surprised people.

    Of course, he has been dead since 1910, and little that he had to say about the

    American school system of his day would have application to the 21st century.

  • Claire
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    I don't think this quote is as much about politics as it is just about how "book learning" isn't as valuable as life experience, and you should take everything you learn in school with a grain of salt, because teachers don't always know as much as they claim to. It goes for anyone of any political persuasion.

  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    take it in context. Like in his books. the white kids were taught that blacks were inferior and slavery was good, but the Huck Finn knew in his heart that JIm was a person just like him. So helping a runaway slave was "wrong" but "right." It was a comment on American moral values of the time.

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  • 8 years ago

    I don't think the "schooling system" in your area works and you should blame your politician!

    Source(s): Had or Have ?
  • Anonymous
    8 years ago


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