Universal education, which is now taken for granted in all civilized countries, was vehemently opposed, on grounds which were broadly aristocratic, until it was seen that political democracy had become inevitable. There had been ever since ancient times a very sharp line between the educated and the uneducated. The educated had had a severe training and had learnt much, while the uneducated could not read or write. The educated, who had a monopoly of political power, dreaded the extension of schools to the ‘lower classes’. The President of the Royal Society in the year 1807 considered that it would be disastrous if working men could read, since he feared that they would spend their time reading Tom Paine. When my grandfather established an elementary school in his parish, well-to-do neighbours were outraged, saying that he had destroyed the hitherto aristocratic character of the neighbourhood. It was political democracy-at least, in England-that brought a change of opinion in this matter. Disraeli, after securing the vote for urban working men, favoured compulsory education with the phrase, ‘We must educate our masters’. Education came to seem the right of all who desired it. But it was not easy to see how this

right was to be extended to university education; nor, if it were, how universities could continue to perform their ancient functions.