The Benthamite movement for national education: Its impact on the creation of the education department in England, 1807-1839



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Texas Tech University


The nature and the extent of Benthamite influence on nineteenth-century legislative, administrative, and political reform have been subjects of considerable controversy in recent years among administrative historians. In a seminal study, A. V. Dicey argued that the Benthamites were advocates of laissez-faire and individualism. In 1948 J. B. Brebner, however, rejected the idea that the years 1825-1870 represented a period of individualism. These years, he contended, saw the beginnings of state intervention on an extensive scale and in great variety. He claimed that the many forms of state intervention were "basically Benthamite—Benthamite in the sense of conforming closely to that forbidding, detailed blueprint for collective state, the Constitutional Code."



Bentham, Jeremy, 1748-1832, Utilitarianism, Education -- England -- History