E. Merrill Root
|Edward Merrill Root|
January 4, 1895|
|Died||October 26, 1973
|Occupation||Educator and Poet|
Edward Merrill Root (January 4, 1895 - October 26, 1973) was an American educator and poet devoted to anti-communist pursuits.
In 1920 he began working at Earlham College as a professor of English literature, where his tenure lasted until his retirement in 1960. While working at Earlham, Root began to change from a devout Quaker and pacifist into an active rightist. Root first exploded into political print with "Darkness at Noon in American Colleges", an article in which he warned parents that their sons and daughters were catching the "polio of collectivism" at college.
Feeling that this article was not enough to convince people to listen, Root wrote Collectivism on the Campus, in which he claimed communism was widespread at American universities and colleges. A few years later, he wrote Brainwashing in the High Schools: An Examination of Eleven American History Textbooks. Both of these volumes are meticulous investigations into the undermining of American scholarship by the left. Both consider at length, and in detail, subversive attacks against the integrity of American educational institutions and the blatant perversion of such disciplines as history, literature, and philosophy.
These books brought Root fame in conservative circles. He also became a member of the Textbook Evaluation Committee of Operation Textbook, sponsored by America's Future under the direction of Lucille Cardin Crain.
In retirement Root became an editor of American Opinion (bi-monthly magazine of the John Birch Society), The American Friend, The Measure, and Quaker Life. His book America's Steadfast Dream, published in 1971, is an anthology of 25 essays that appeared in American Opinion over a period of 10 years.
As well as his vitriolic writings on subversion in education, Merrill Root published several books of poetry that met with a measure of critical acclaim; amongst his admirers was his former teacher, Robert Frost. Root also wrote a non-critical biography of Frank Harris.
Root's central philosophy was what he called "Essentialism". His intention was "...to make coherent and affirmative a certain philosophy, and American philosophy, and to do so in terms of art." He stated his philosophy thus:
"More and more as my life has matured, I have realized that by fundamental nature I am a conservative. I have realized that I wish to preserve the roots of life whence grow the blossoms and the fruits of life, and that I have become a genuine radical - i.e., one who works with the roots of life, laboring to set them more firmly and to nourish them more richly. I applaud fruitful change that comes from an enhancement and intensification of the last things that maintain their continuity with first things. But, as I see it, such change must be growth from within, so that you and I and our nation become ever more clearly, more richly, more truly, what we always are, potentially in principle. Man is ever seeking novelty; God is forever and ever making things new. He does not make the seasons, nor the rose, nor the Labrador retriever, nor the lover nor the poet, novel - He makes them new. And because they are new in their fundamental being, they are vitally old; as tomorrow's sunrise will be the newest of dawns and the oldest of dawns, since it shone upon the Birthday of Creation."
For the individual, Root stated his philosophy as a person's "outermost expression of his innermost essence... Man, being finite in existence, but infinite in essence, succeeds by reaching his highest point of failure."
E. Merrill Root died in 1973 in Kennebunkport, Maine.
- Brainwashing in the High Schools
- Collectivism on the Campus
- America's Steadfast Dream
- Frank Harris: A Biography
- The Way of All Spirit
- Lost Eden
- Bow of Burning Gold
- Dawn is Forever
- Before the Swallow Dares
- The Seeds of Time
- Ulysses To Penelope
- Out Of Our Winter
- The Light Wind Over
- Shoulder the Sky
- Of Perilous Seas
- Like White Birds Flying
- Children of the Morning