The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths

Written By Adrienne Dunn

In this compilation, Walter Hines Page includes three essays discussing democracy and education in the South: “The Forgotten Man,” “The School That Built a Town,” and the publication’s namesake, “The Rebuilding of Old Commonwealths.”  The first two were presented at school commencements in North Carolina and Georgia and the third essay was written exclusively for the book.   Democracy is the primary theme in the publication.  Page posits that democracy was not based on the idea that some people were born for labor and others were born to live luxuriously.  Even so, the North Carolinian did not advocate for racial equality, but only for others to have the opportunity for social mobility.  In the essay “The School That Built a Town,” Page suggests that schools should be essential parts of communities in which democracy allows individual intellectual growth.