Category Archives: MLC Education

What Is a Liberal Arts Education?

Category : MLC Education

What is a liberal arts education?

Ideas have consequences. Good ideas bring forth good fruit which blesses mankind. Bad ideas bring forth bad fruit which oppresses and enslaves mankind.

There was a time when receiving an education was seen as the highest way to partake of the best ideas of the ages, and learn the folly of the worst ideas. The idea that the only purpose of an education was to become employable would have been seen as one of those follies.

Education was seen as a means to educate the conscience: to train the mind and discipline the baser, animal instincts, while at the same time, strengthen the higher and the divine which is equally inherent in every human being. In other words, education was seen, in large part, as teaching a man to become virtuous. Who among the human family, having been taught in this higher way, is not more fully capable of making his way in the world and finding gainful employment? Thus, employment becomes the byproduct, rather than the goal of such an education.

A liberal arts education trains students to liberally entertain all ideas, unafraid of challenge or debate, because the debate is never about WHO is right, but rather, focuses solely on WHAT is right and finding truth. Ideas are acknowledged for their value by testing and measuring their results for the happiness and wellbeing of mankind – not just in the here and now, but through all the epochs of history and into the future. The word itself–“university”–means “one truth”; in the end, truth wins each debate.

Students trained in a liberal arts education see the patterns of human nature through history, can more wisely determine the cause and effect of natural law, and can see for themselves the wisdom or folly of ideas, regardless of their public prevalence or popularity.

In the end, a liberal arts education becomes the only kind of education that is worth pursuing. It not only prepares students to seek virtue; it also instructs them on why it matters. Mount Liberty College is dedicated to helping students learn true principles as we study ideas and their consequences.


Is Mount Liberty College Right For You?

Category : MLC Education

What made Thomas Paine think he could write a pamphlet which would inspire the colonists to declare independence from Britain? What made Harriet Beecher Stowe think she could write novels that would influence the abolition of slavery? What made Dietrich Bonhoeffer realize Hitler needed to be stopped or Joan of Arc help defeat the British? What made our Founders believe they could change the course of our country in a peaceful transformation of government rather than the common way—another revolution? What inspired all great men and women of the past to not just dream of incredible acts, but actually perform them? We’ll never know until we learn what they really did and why they did it.

Rather than look at past incidents through today’s politically correct lens, at Mount Liberty College we will study significant figures of the past through a factual one, including their beliefs, ideas, and circumstances, and through their own writings. Not all of these figures were good nor were all of their decisions correct, but they influence our time and need to be understood. Students at Mount Liberty College will have the opportunity to learn from men and women of the past, some who were without virtue as well as those who exemplified virtue and followed God and a higher standard. Through our association with the great and virtuous men and women of the past, we can come to know them and emulate them in our own day.

Who should attend Mount Liberty College? Those who want to learn truths, discover great principles, and study notable minds of the past. Those who want to make a difference in their own lives and the world around them. Those who desire to seek the truth from our history and how that history affects our lives today. Those who want to better discern human nature and learn principles of truth and beaut

Mount Liberty College provides a classical liberal arts education, using many of the Great Books as well as other classics. Students will master important principles taught throughout history, as well as how great men and women applied those principles in their own lives. The principle-based, classical liberal arts foundation provided by Mount Liberty College will prepare students for further studies in graduate programs, entrepreneurial work, or simply to be a better parent, neighbor, and citizen.

An education from Mount Liberty College will not prepare students for a specific vocation, but it will serve as an unbeatable foundation not only for a career but also in their personal lives as they strive to make a difference in the world. James Truslow Adams said it best, “There are obviously two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” Students will leave Mount Liberty College ready to enter the world, not just the workforce, defending liberty, standing in humility, and upholding virtue.


How Should We Teach the Constitution?

Thomas Jefferson’s last great dream was to found a public university in Virginia.  Beginning with his first concept in 1800, and after the investment of much of his personal time, money and labor, and lobbying to the state legislature with the valuable assistance of several influential friends, the University of Virginia was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia on January 25, 1819, and opened for classes in March 1825. Thomas Jefferson’s long-time friend and collaborator, James Madison, wrote to a mutual friend concerning Jefferson, the University, and the diffusion of knowledge: 

“Your old friend, Mr. Jefferson, still lives, and will close his illustrious career by bequeathing to his Country a magnificent Institute for the advancement and diffusion of knowledge; which is the only guardian of true liberty, the great cause to which his life has been devoted.”[1] 

In preparation for the opening of classes, Jefferson corresponded with Madison regarding the teaching of the Constitution at the new University. Their concern was that students be instructed in the true “principles of government” upon which the Constitutions of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Virginia “were genuinely based.” The results of that mutual correspondence and collaboration were brought forth in a meeting of the Board of Visitors on March 4, 1825.  Pursuant to Madison’s advice in his letter to Jefferson dated February 8, 1825, and his sketch (outline) for the recommended curriculum, the Board agreed to a resolution.  Adopted by Jefferson, Madison, and the other three men on the Board of Visitors (trustees), the following sets forth the authentic sources of our American principles of government and of the Constitution: 

“A resolution was moved and agreed to in the following words: Whereas, it is the duty of this Board to the government under which it lives, and especially to that of which this University is the immediate creation, to pay especial attention to the principles of government which shall be inculcated therein, and to provide that none shall be inculcated which are incompatible with those on which the Constitutions of this State, and of the United States were genuinely based, in the common opinion; and for this purpose it may be necessary to point out specially where these principles are to be found legitimately developed: 

Resolved, that it is the opinion of this Board that as to the general principles of liberty and the rights of man, in nature and in society, the doctrines of Locke, in his “Essay concerning the true original extent and end of civil government,”and of Sidney in his “Discourses on government,” may be considered as those generally approved by our fellow citizens of this, and the United States, and that on the distinctive principles of the government of our State, and of that of the United States, the best guides are to be found in:

1. The Declaration of Independence, as the fundamental act of union of these States. 
2. The book known by the title of “The Federalist,” being an authority to which appeal is habitually made by all, and rarely declined or denied by any as evidence of the general opinion of those who framed, and of those who accepted the Constitution of the United States, on questions as to its genuine meaning. 
3. The Resolutions of the General Assembly of Virginia in 1799 on the subject of the alien and sedition laws, which appeared to accord with the predominant sense of the people of the United States. 
4. The Valedictory [farewell] Address of President Washington, as conveying political lessons of peculiar value. …”[2] 

It is significant that Jefferson and Madison determined that these specific “founding” documents and books constitute the “best guides” to teaching and understanding the Constitution and our republican form of government. It is also enlightening that out of all of the numerous books that Jefferson and Madison had read and studied on politics and government (including Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Hobbes, Bolingbroke), they elevated Locke and Sidney’s writings as the two works containing the “general principles of liberty and rights of man, in nature and in society.” 

We also learn from Jefferson and Madison’s list of “best guides,” that the Constitution is based upon certain principles. These principles formed the basis for the raising up and establishment of our democratic, constitutional republic, which was designed to “secure the Blessings of Liberty” to us and our posterity. True principles, of course, are timeless and unchanging, and their applications are universal. As Algernon Sidney wrote, “…truth is comprehended by examining principles.”[3]

May we as citizens, students, parents, and teachers endeavor to study, learn, and teach these documents and the principles of Constitution in the tradition of Jefferson, Madison, and our other founding fathers.

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[1] James Madison to George Thomson, June 30, 1825, The Writings of James Madison, 4 Volumes (J.B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia, 1865) 3:492.
[2] Minutes of the Board of Visitors, March 4, 1825, ME 19:460-61 (cited as “Minutes”).
[3] Algernon Sidney, Discourses Concerning Government (London: A. Millar, London, 1751), I:3:8 (cited as “Discourses”).


The Federalist Papers

Category : MLC Education

This year marks the 230th anniversary of the publication of “the best commentary on the principles of government which ever was written.” — Thomas Jefferson. Unlike many other colleges and universities, Mount Liberty College will teach The Federalist Papers.
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