Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler and the Aarau Education Association

Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler and the Aarau Education Association

Troxler Commemorative Year 2016

How a private educational institution made a decisive impact on the development of democracy in Switzerland

by René Roca, PhD

Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866) was a medical practitioner, philosopher, educator, and politician. His manifold activities consistently reflected a balance of theory and practice. Particularly as educator and politician, Troxler vehemently promoted the establishment and development of public education, especially with regard to the tertiary level. His fundamental pedagogical considerations as well as his own political efforts helped to establish secondary and higher education in Swiss education policy. His work in the Aargau school association was undertaken within this context. Unlike some of his other liberal colleagues, Troxler did not promote an elitist approach, but was instead clearly convinced that good schools are essential to a functioning and evolving democratic state. Only good education allows individuals to become mature and independent citizens.

Troxler – the skeptical Helvetic Republican (1798–1814/15)

As early as the Helvetic Republic (1798–1803) Troxler – barely 18 years old at the time – was actively involved in turning Switzerland into a unified state with a democratic constitution. Later in a biographical note he described the time of the Helvetic Republic:
“My attention [was directed] to the great event of the French revolution and its consequences for my fatherland. I began to feel towards the universal and think on it on my own, I read German and French daily newspapers, my love of freedom was awakened […].”1
Troxler adopted the ideas of the revolution with enthusiasm. They became his lifelong guiding principles. Two teachers influenced his liberal convictions. After completing his secondary education in Solothurn he attended the Lyceum in Lucerne where he was instructed on the one hand by Thaddäus Müller (1763–1828), who taught rhetoric there from 1789 to 1796 before holding the office of city pastor in Lucerne. Müller was a representative of the Catholic Enlightenment and supported Ignaz Heinrich von Wessenberg, General Vicar of Constance, in his church reform efforts. On the other hand, Franz Regis Krauer (1739–1806), who was professor for rhetoric and poetry the Jesuit College in Lucerne as of 1769, also had a strong impact on Troxler’s education. When the Jesuit order was dissolved in 1773 Krauer continued to teach at the newly nationalised Lyceum, where Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866), like Müller, endeavoured to promote modern education as a supporter of the Catholic Enlightenment. Krauer was the one to recommend employing the 18-year-old Troxler as a civil servant of the Helvetic Republic to Governor Vinzenz Rüttimann.2
Troxler did become a civil servant of the new Republic and, still a young man, was appointed War Commissioner for the Munster District (Beromunster) as well as Secretary to the vice governor. Later he accompanied Rüttimann to Berne, the centre of Helvetic power. Troxler however began to recognise the Republic’s Janus face: freedom and equality on paper on the one side, on the other directives and decrees often issued from above in an un-democratic manner and enforced with the armed support of foreign bayonets.
“Although on the outside very successful, on the inside I felt empty and shameful for being so young and inexperienced with governing and helping to determine the fate of a nation. The yearning burned in me again to study and learn, the arbitrariness and duplicity, as well as the erratically diplomacy and politics began to fill me with horror and disgust. I also clearly perceived then the re-emerging, if vague, outlines of the old aristocracy […].”3
In September 1800 Troxler made a decision. Instead of continuing to pursue a political career, he went to Jena and Göttingen to study medicine and philosophy. Afterwards he worked in Vienna, his native city of Beromunster and Aarau as a medical practitioner. His first experience with the “re-emerging old aristocracy”  took place in Lucerne when he criticised the insufficient medical conditions during an epidemic there. His arrest was immediately ordered, forcing him to flee for the first time to Aarau.4

Lucerne teaching years (1814–1821)

Vinzenz Rüttimann, Troxler’s former employer during the Helvetic Republic successfully organised a coup in Lucerne in April 1814 after Napoleon’s fall, bringing the aristocracy back to power. In contrast to Rüttiman, Troxler remained loyal to the ideals of the French revolution and Helvetic confederation. He submitted a petition and became a vocal proponent of Swiss national sovereignty. Troxler saw the Lucerne coup – as also that of the other cantons – as a temporary aristocratic-oligarchic consolidation until freedom could be re-attained. From that point on, he endeavoured to bring the confederate traditions of Switzerland together with the ideals of the French revolution. The concept of connecting tradition with modernity was one that remained a determining factor in Troxler’s thinking.5
In 1819 Eduard Pfyffer (1782–1834), as educational policy-maker, reformed the secondary schools (Gymnasium and Lyceum) in Lucerne by transforming them into a small academy and installing new professorships. Pfyffer was successful in engaging Troxler, a former student of the Lyceum himself, as professor of philosophy as well as of World- and Swiss history. This marked the beginning of Troxler’s political-educational career, where he imparted theoretical knowledge coupled with the necessary practical relevance. This pedagogical concept became decisive in the future forming of Switzerland. Immediately after entering employment in Lucerne, Troxler published an article in 1819 titled “Fürst und Volk nach Buchanan’s und Milton’s Lehre”6 (“Prince and People in Buchanan and Milton’s Thought”). In it Troxler translated and commented on tractates by George Buchanan (1506–1582) and John Milton (1608–1674) written during the English civil wars of the 17th century.
Buchanan, Scottish humanist and historian, defended peoples’ sovereignty and justified tyrannicide. The English poet Milton advocated peoples’ sovereignty, the supreme rule of law and limiting royal powers based on religious and legal grounds.7 Troxler’s essay was primarily directed against the Berne aristocrat Karl Ludwig von Haller (1768–1854), who with his major work “Restauration der Staats­wissenschaft” (“Restoration of political science”) (1816–1834) gave the epoch its name. Haller outlined in it his own concept of peoples’ sovereignty. Troxler countered in 1821 by directly attacking Haller’s essay “Über die Constitution der spanischen Cortes” (On the Constitution of the Spanish Cortes). This angered the primarily restorative Lucerne government, resulting in Troxler’s immediate dismissal on 17 September 1821.8
Troxler subsequently returned to Aarau for the second time, taking up his previously interrupted medical practice while searching intensely for further opportunities to hold philosophical lectures. One such fortunate opportunity came in the form of Heinrich Zschokke (1771–1848), with whom Troxler had already been in extended contact, and his “Bürgerlicher Lehrerverein (Civic Education Association)” founded in 1819.

The “Civic Education Association” in Aarau – A “Miniature University”9

As a young Canton composed of various regions, Aarau was in need of establishing good educational institutions that would successfully reinforce its coalescence. In order to fulfil this goal, Heinrich Zschokke, senior civil servant Johann Nepomuk von Schmiel and the publisher Heinrich Remigius Sauerländer, among others, founded the “Gesellschaft für vaterländische Kultur” (“Society for Patriotic Culture”) on 2 March 1811. Just two years after its founding, the “Cultural Society” already counted 130 members consisting of representatives from political parties as well as religious leaders from both Christian denominations. Its aim was to “promote all things leading to a more exact knowledge of the history, nature, national power of as well as to scholarship, art and prosperity in the fatherland”.10  In the spirit and tradition of the “Helvetic Society” of the 18th century the cultural society began in 1814 to host general annual assemblies in Bad Schinznach. Moreover, many local branches of the society were established in the various districts of Aarau. Over the years, its activity produced local savings banks, girls’ schools, institutes for the disabled and orphaned children as well as many welfare organisations. In particular, the promotion of youth education and development of the school system remained a main concern of the cultural society.11
In 1802 enlightened Aarau private citizens founded a school of higher civic education that developed into the humanist “Gymnasium”, which was nationalised in 1813. To Zschokke, however, this in no way meant the completion of the Aargau education system. His concern was to close any respective “gaps” the system evinced over the next years. One such gap was to be filled by a private institute of education: “[…] young people without the actual desire to achieve scholarship may receive instruction in those sciences and fields of knowledge which would be necessary or even highly advantageous to the manufacturer, craftsman, agriculturalist, and anyone who in the future may be employed with dignity as servant of the state”.12
Under Zschokke’s direction a few “scholars holding offices” in the cultural society founded the “civic education association” in order to “augment what is missing through gratuitous instruction”.13
The education association’s aim was to guarantee that young persons from the age of 18 to 30 years old not going to university may receive reliable national political and civic orientation. Already by the beginning of September 1819 a public announcement was issued calling for the first course enrolment. Participants were addressed as “learning fellows” or “comrades” intimating they were no longer pupils or students in the traditional sense but members of a shared cooperative association. With the principle of the cooperative, the association’s founders wanted to emphasise deliberately this important Swiss tradition and to establish, for the very first time, an educational institution based on cooperative-democratic fundamentals.
Each learning fellow was assigned a tutor, and if not a native resident, was provided a list of private accommodations to choose from. Forty learning colleagues enrolled for the first semester, which was a great success. Zschokke volunteered a floor in his house in Aarau as a venue.14
At first, instruction was given only during the winter semester. In the first semester twelve courses were offered, of which each learning fellow was to take at least three. Lectures were held on civic education, history and law, always with reference to Switzerland, as well on the technological and natural sciences. The curriculum developed by Zschokke was headed by the “History of the Swiss Confederation”, followed by “Natural Law and Knowledge of the Constitutions and Laws of the Fatherland”.15 In these two courses in particular, attended by many of the learning fellows, basic national political knowledge was imparted and national awareness promoted.
Other courses were public economy (forestry, mining, statistics), police science (welfare, public health and insurance industry), defence and war sciences, roadbuilding and water engineering, chemistry, mineralogy, mechanics, measuring, graphic design, as well as training in writing and holding public speeches. According to Zschokke, his main concern was to impart informed practical knowledge. Defence and war sciences as well as chemistry were dropped early on, as for these too less students enrolled. They were replaced over the years with other courses such as world history, European history, geology, geometry and practical field measurement applications, law of humanity (in the context of Natural Law), international law, constitutional law and church law, and studies in “classical literature of ancient and modern nations”.16 The curriculum concept was, as becomes obvious, far from rigid.
Besides the lectures, which the learning fellows took down and augmented by their own reading material, tutorials were given on, for instance, writing papers or giving “well ordered lectures”.17
From a methodical-didactic perspective, the decisive elements for the founding members entailed the learning material’s essential practical application as well as the teacher’s personality. The “civic education association’s” curriculum was unique in Switzerland and exceeded this era’s imagination of what a learning institution could do. In comparison to the state school, learning fellows enjoyed greater liberties, which with time also needed to be more clearly regulated, for example with regard to visiting the tavern: “No comrade is allowed to visit a tavern before 5 o’clock in the evening and remain longer than 9 o’clock in the evening.”18
At the end, learning colleagues received a certificate documenting the three required courses taken as well as the quality of the comrade’s application to his studies and his moral behaviour. In the beginning, the cultural society supervised the education association until in 1823, school policy law was changed and the government placed the private institution it supported, transferring direction to Troxler at this time, under the jurisdiction of the Canton school department.19
Although the school had enjoyed greater regulatory liberties, there were some disadvantages: a course was organized to fill only one semester and therefore lacked any structure beyond. Registering for the courses was possible with every new semester without having to fulfil any greater obligation.20
Four years after its establishment, serious problems developed with regard to student numbers: While 40 students were enrolled in 1819 the number was cut almost in half to only 21 students. One solution to the problem was quickly found by opening the institution’s doors to students beyond the Canton’s borders. Troxler himself provided the second solution.
In the year before, Troxler, as president of the Helvetic Society, held his presidential speech – “What is lost, what to be gained” – in which he clearly outlined his educational policy program. His speech equalled a call for a rejuvenation of the spirit of the Swiss Confederation itself and established the basis for his work in the education association from 1823 on. Troxler called for a state to be created which fulfils the fundamental principles of humanity and which is sustained by the powers that formed the Old Swiss Confederacy: “Therefore the state, that great human association, will not be conceived with a different essence than human nature as it develops within each individual.”21
He continues:
“A truly humane state therefore requires the people’s public and free life; and this life can only come into being through the union of what one calls political and civic freedom, in general and in all its parts […] The power of the nation alone is [its] true source of life.” 22
Troxler already formed his political vision in the era of the Helvetic Republic. He wanted to help Switzerland become a unified country under constitutional law. According to his personal view of humanity, human rights were to be formulated on a natural law basis. For him human rights include those that go beyond the mere right to vote. Together with other likeminded individuals, he recognized early on that a federal concept represented an appropriate solution after the painful experiences of the Helvetic era. To Troxler, a federal constitution, created by an elected constitutional council and approved by popular referendum, would be representative of a modern constitution par excellence.23 This is the goal Troxler was working toward by educating able individuals through his education association.

Troxler’s work in the Education Association (1823–1829)

Paralell to his work as a medical practitioner from 1823–1830, Troxler volunteered at the education association, four years of which, from 1823–1827, he acted as its director. He describes this period as the zenith of his pedagogical activity.
Already in the beginning, Troxler described the significance of the association, now called the “Education Association for Young Swiss Men”, as follows:  
“The pupil will be directed through his inner motivations, which will awaken his understanding of himself and the world - through the observation, supervision, and influence of his teachers, finally through the (Aarau) public, which in its education and artistic diligence, its prosperity and activity has found no lesser warranty against idleness and brutality, against immorality and debauchery.”24
Troxler decided to pursue the enlargement and re-direction begun by Zschokke:
“In 1823 the education association […] suffered a major change and took on a different form and aim than originally established. A number of new teachers were added to the existing ones; the institution was linked to the Canton state school and could be considered a continuation of it, since the education association to a certain extent replaced the Lyceum, thus filling the large gap between the “Gymnasium” – respectively Canton state school in its actual condition – and the university. The consequence of this was that the education association institute was provided greater scholarship character than the civic association enjoyed, thus transforming into a preparatory middle school for university and life.”25
As seven students followed Troxler from Lucerne to Aarau, the association registered 30 pupils once again. Student numbers continued to increase as “learning fellows” from other cantons became admitted. In addition, courses were now offered year round in summer and winter.26
Troxler felt that “men of young age” were important because in these years, education and personal development, upbringing and self-discipline had the propensity to intersect. Youth, according to Troxler, is a pivotal point in life. It is a time of choosing a career, concomitantly also a time of becoming actively incorporated into human society: as nascent professionals and future citizens. Upbringing and education that correspond to human nature prepare able and responsible individuals for civic life without which the state – as a republic – would not be able to exist.
Troxler radically reformulated the curriculum. In place of the practical courses, he put philosophy at its centre, becoming the heart of education, since practical utility for a future profession was not significant but rather the insight that individual subjects were the vehicles of education and training used by the soul. One’s native tongue and philosophy are given exceptional significance in this respect as the “anchor and sail for all education”:
“Our reality and the present now, which must guide us in educating according to natural necessity, is our native tongue, and the view to the eternal and divine – no matter how it has been misjudged and distorted – is philosophy. These two, let me call them the anchor and sail for all education, are the ones that have supplanted, perhaps not completely, the prevailing theory of education, yet still succeeded to constrain it to the point of impropriety while ultimately seeking to supplant it.”27
As a consequence, Troxler augmented the curriculum with philosophy, philology and the study of classical antiquity. He personally taught natural law and logic, metaphysics, anthropology and morality in the context of philosophical instruction. During his time at the education association, Troxler compiled his philosophical lectures into two major volumes of work, the first was titled “Naturlehre des menschlichen Erkennens, oder Metaphysik” (1828) (“Natural law of human knowledge, or metaphysics”), and the second was titled “Logik, die Wissenschaft des Denkens und Kritik aller Erkenntnis” (1829) (“Logic, the science of thought and critique of all cognition”). Besides philosophy, Troxler also taught world history, human history, and the encyclopaedia of sciences.28
Overall, the course program included 58 scientific disciplines. Extending the course programme therefore involved an increase of the teaching staff. Troxler was able to recruit new teachers, gradually displacing the practitioners and lay teachers. In the winter semester 1823/24 five of the ten teachers employed were political refugees from Germany including Friedrich List (1789–1846), an important national economist employed as professor for state economy and state practice in Tübingen until 1822.29
In order to manage the increasing expenses – for instance due to large expenditures building a new library – wealthy students were required to pay tuition.30
When Troxler became director, Cantonal supervision was established. This was no coincidence – the Aargau authorities were very familiar with Lucerne’s troubles dealing with this critical spirit. The Canton school inspector as supervising body wrote that it was necessary “to order detailed and uninterrupted supervision [of the education association]. Very proper control could comprise visiting lectures from time to time unannounced on the part of members of the Canton school board, and that annual or half-annual examinations could be arranged”.31
It is important to note that the education association did not give cause for problems and that it continued to enjoy a great deal of support from the authorities. The official side remarked positively that now they also issued testimonials.
Moreover, Troxler provided the impulse to develop the Swiss schoolbook programme. It entailed a new type of small brochure, which mostly also included an annual report of, or announcements for, papers on education science. Troxler used this framework to reflect on the fundamental principles of pedagogy and commented on current issues of education policy. These programmatic “announcements” often appeared at the end of the semester.
A central aspect of Troxler’s theoretical approach was the emphasis on a harmonic relationship between the student and his teacher, where in contrast a blind obedience destroys the learning process:
“Nothing is more contrary to education [Erziehen und Bilden], even more so basically destructive, than command and coercion. Only with free will can the path of moral change be taken, and man learns far more easily than he follows.”32
Certainly, this learning process does need discipline and obedience, as well as the acceptance and appreciation of the teacher’s expertise, on the part of the student. Only then does he become independent and free:
“The pupil’s will itself must submit to the leadership and guidance of the educator, which can only lead to respect and love. Those who want to develop morality must have more the heart than those who want to influence the mind. The latter requires the teacher’s superiority and extorts the inner purpose. For the former, however, in order for the pupil to feel this need, must become aware of the educator’s goodwill and yield to his guidance. This is of greatest importance since it is the only way to become independent. It must be released at some point, at least to engage in private dealings, by leaving school to go out into the world, or to enter university. Having not attained his independence he is nothing more than a freed slave.”33
The learning fellows were between the ages of 18 and 30. Troxler understood this “young age” to be path breaking for establishing political awareness:
“The age of youth is therefore not the end of education, as superficial opinion may lead to this strange assumption. Education, which usually ends at the age of youth, is only a part of the true human education, that being the external one, only the positively visible education. Not contrary to it, but hidden in it, forming its principle and orientation, lies an inner invisible education which should become evident in the youth and active in the adult: his own free self-development. […] The age of youth is the bridge between being educated and educating one’s self.”34
This thought is still valid today. Troxler saw the central necessity to keep school completely independent of the state and the church:
“Education is free when it purely strives toward human personal development in all things, and in its striving does not accept or suffer any obstacles toward this goal.”35
Troxler considered this free and public education as “an essential requirement and basic condition of the republic”.36
Under Troxler’s direction, the education association became a magnet for the Swiss of all Cantons, also for foreigners.37 Many learning fellows enrolled for a number of semesters and planned to attend university after concluding their studies. While relations between the Canton state school in Aarau were friendly at the beginning, over time it became a direct competitor due to its equally positive development. Quarrelling ultimately destroyed the amicable atmosphere and Troxler fell out with the director of the Canton state school, Rudolf Rauchenstein. When a vocational school opened in 1826 as well, the education association came under considerable pressure, which was reflected in the decreasing number of enrolments.38
The end of the education association, however, was not characterised by crises or dissolution of the school community. When Troxler was called to take the chair in philosophy at the University of Basle, he was forced to cease his instruction at the association in the spring of 1830.39 The political shifts taking place in many Swiss Cantons revealed that the education association had fulfilled an important mission. Practical politics was now being called for.

The Teaching Association’s impact and its significance for democratising Switzerland

Troxler’s personality

The education association would never had the sustained impact on Switzerland it had if Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler had not given this institution distinction. Troxler had an extraordinary military nature. His straightforwardness and trustworthiness were convincing, and in pursuing his projects, he evinced a great measure of personal commitment. With his open and caring demeanour toward youths and his students in particular, he provided them with the enthusiastic conviction that they were an integral part of forming the future. Repeatedly he called them to become politically active and take on the task of making necessary reforms in Switzerland happen.
The great empathy with which Troxler was connected to his students is evident in the speeches given by learning comrades at the end of each semester. These speeches show a deep faith in progress and in the good of mankind, the demand for enlightenment and public education, liberal views on church and state as well as enthusiasm for Swiss history and love of one’s country.40 Under Troxlers direction an association of Zofinger-friends was founded, which established a pan-confederate union and further promoted the idea of a federal union.

The education association as motor for Swiss regeneration

Troxler’s calling to Basle coincided with the beginning of the Swiss Regeneration. As became evident after 1830, the association was one of the most important institutions to provide political impulse in this era. Some of the over two hundred learning comrades played central roles as teachers, civil servant, and politicians during the regeneration era and beyond. They helped to overcome the restauration policies, quenched the leftovers of aristocratic policies in many areas thereby promoting a liberal reformation of Switzerland.41 Two examples are outlined in the following.

The Example of Canton Aargau

Canton Aargau also witnessed the will to reform as of 1830, even coalescing into a revolutionary head. When on 27 September 1830 the Aargau government received a petition, it included signatures from Karl Rudolf Tanner (1794–1849) and Gottlieb Hagnauer (1796–1880), who had both been teachers at the education association.42 They represented the core group of the “Lenzburg Association”. Later former learning colleagues, such as Eduard Ignaz Dorer and the brothers Johann Peter and Kaspar Leonz Bruggisser followed them. On 7 November 1830, a legendary assembly in Wohlenschwil took place, which Troxler actively supported from his residence in Basle. Out of gratitude for this, he was later rewarded citizenship of Wohlenschwil. This grass roots movement in Canton Aargau culminated in the “Freiämter Sturm” (an assault in the region “Freiamt” near Canton Aargau) on 6 December 1830, which had a revolutionary impact on the Canton, decisively placing it in the camp of Cantons pursuing liberal regeneration.43 The Canton Aargau assembly accepted the demand on 10 December 1830 to install an elected constitutional council to formulate a new constitution. While the constitutional council formulated a new constitution, the population was given the opportunity to influence the process through petition. The new, liberal-representative constitution that finally took effect in 1831 was the first Canton constitution, which was accepted by plebiscite in Canton Aargau.44
A few years later Troxler wrote:
“History and experience has shown us that only greater and more immediate influence on public issues allows us a more popular direction of the same, guaranteeing a happy development of our general life. Disbelief and suspicion against the people, shying away from and disregarding the people is the greatest sin a republican can make and represents the actual foundation for church and worldly aristocracy, or better oligarchy.”45

The example of Canton Basle

The education association also played a crucial role in the democratic development and secession of Canton Basle. It began with the former learning fellow and later solicitor Stephan Gutzwiller (1802–1875). In 1830 he was even member of the Grand Council and – dissatisfied with the conditions in his Canton – formulated a petition to the city leaders. The petition was handed to the mayor on 26 October 1830 and triggered a development that led to the separation between Basel-Landschaft and the Basel Stadt. With the support of Gutzwiller, Basel-Landschaft received a liberal-representative constitution, which following St. Gallen even entailed a veto law, the predecessor to the facultative referendum. Basel-Landschaft therefore became a forerunner for the development of Swiss direct democracy.46
Barely just settling in Basle, Troxler as usual did not limit his activity to teaching. He supported Basel Landschaft’s legitimate claims, in his opinion, against the city and actively helped his former student Gutzwiller. His political activity, however, once again cost him his job.
In other Cantons as well, former learning fellows or teachers of the education association actively supported the revolutionary causes and rural political movements. In this regard, Troxler, together with other former students, also became a key figure in Canton Lucerne’s overthrow.47 On the whole, as of 1830 a republican foundation for a federal state was laid and a movement toward representative democracy initiated which made the further development toward direct democracy possible.

The topicality of Troxler’s thought

“It is the free, noble, republican spirit […] which lives in the society of patriotic culture, and applies its interest towards the common public interest, which recognises that those who desire freedom must want the rule of reason and thus places all weight on spiritual and moral development.”48
Troxler’s quote from the education association’s sixth announcement summarises his anthropological approach as well as his personalist view well. For Troxler, fighting for and securing political freedom meant that all citizens be provided comprehensive education and spiritual-moral enhancement. This view, which is deeply informed by Enlightenment thought, had to assert itself against utilitarian tendencies in the 19th century.
After his dismissal from this Basle professorship, Troxler returned once more to Aarau. Because of his great support of the Aargau regeneration and and the people’s assembly in Wohlenschwil, Troxler received honorary citizenship, making him eligible for election to the Great Assembly, which occurred in 1832. As member of the Great Assembly Troxler diligently formulated the new Aargau education law. It encompassed the essence of his pedagogical views, which to date are expressed in the law’s preamble:

“The Great Assembly of the Canton Aargau, supported by §§ 28–35 and 38 of the Canton constitution,
with the purpose to provide schools to the Canton Aargau,
in which youths are educated to honor the divine and respect one’s fellow men and environment,
to become independent and responsible citizens,
to become active and mature members of the society,
in which youths are capable of developing their creative skills and where they become acquainted with the world of knowledge and work.”49

The Curriculum 21 nowadays represents a controversial reform that takes us backward in educational policy. A change of paradigm is to ensure that a humanist educational ideal – as developed and promoted by Troxler and others – is abandoned and be replaced by an orientation toward “competencies”, which merely involves and fails to go beyond a utilitarian application of knowledge.50
The current discussion would be given more breadth and depth in scope if more consideration would be given to those early thinkers of public primary, secondary and higher education such as Pestalozzi51 as well as Troxler and their pedagogical concepts.    •

1    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Einige Hauptmomente aus meinem Leben (1830), in: Rohr, Adolf (Hg.): Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866). Politische Schriften in Auswahl, Volume I, Berne 1989, p. 389.
2    cf. Roca, René: Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler und seine Auseinandersetzung mit der Helvetik. Von der repräsentativen zur direkten Demokratie, in: Arlettaz, Silvia et al. (ed.): Menschenrechte und moderne Verfassung. Die Schweiz im Übergang vom 18. zum 19. Jahrhundert. Akten des Kolloquiums an der Universität Freiburg/Schweiz, 18.–20. November 2010, p. 97–106.
3    Troxler, Hauptmomente, p. 390 ff.
4    Vgl. Furrer, Daniel: Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (1780–1866). Der Mann mit Eigenschaften,
Zurich 2010, p. 9f.
5    cf. Rohr, Adolf: Einleitung zu Troxlers politischem Schrifttum, in: Rohr, Troxler, Volume I, p. 24.
6    cf. Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Fürst und Volk nach Buchanan’s und Milton’s Lehre, in: Rohr, Troxler, Volume I, p. 24–33.
7    cf. Rohr, Troxler, Volume I, p. 33–38.
8    cf. Roca, René: Wenn die Volkssouveränität wirklich zu einer Wahrheit werden soll … Die schweizerische direkte Demokratie in Theorie und Praxis – Das Beispiel des Kantons Luzern, Zurich 2012, p. 92 f.
9    Ort, Werner: Der modernen Schweiz entgegen. Heinrich Zschokke prägt den Aargau, Baden 2003, p. 250.
10    Zweckartikel der Gesellschaft für vaterländische Kultur, quoted from Drack, Markus T.: Der Lehrverein zu Aarau 1819–1830, Aarau 1967, p. 12.
11    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 11–18.
12    Zschokke, quoted from Halder, Nold: Geschichte des Kantons Aargau 1803–1953 in zwei Bänden, Volume I: Gründung, Aufbau, Festigung 1803–1830, Aarau 1953, p. 318.
13    quoted from Halder, Geschichte, p. 318.
14    cf. Ort, Werner: Heinrich Zschokke 1771–1848. Eine Biographie, Baden 2013, p. 441.
15    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 30 f.
16    quoted from Drack, Lehrverein, p. 31.
17    cf. Ort, Zschokke, p. 441 f.
18    quoted from Ort, Schweiz, p. 245.
19    cf. Halder, Geschichte, p. 318.
20    cf. Ort, Schweiz, p. 245.
21    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Was verloren ist, was zu gewinnen. Rede in der Versammlung der Helvetischen Gesellschaft, 8 May 1822, in: Rohr, Troxler, Volume I, p. 45.
22    Troxler, Rede, 8 May 1822, p. 47, 60.
23    cf. Roca, Troxler, p. 63.
24    Troxler, quoted from Halder, Geschichte, p. 319.
25     Troxler, quoted from Drack, Lehrverein, p. 54.
26    Furrer, Troxler, p. 341 f.
27    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Neunte Anzeige des Lehrvereins zu Aarau, 1826, quoted from Spiess, Troxler, p. 314.
28    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 75.
29    cf. Ort, Zschokke, p. 442.
30    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 58–60.
31    quoted from Ort, Schweiz, p. 248
32    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Fünfte Anzeige des Lehrvereins zu Aarau, 1824, quoted from Rohr, Schriften, p.121.
33    Troxler, ibid. p. 121 f.
34    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Siebente Anzeige des Lehrvereins zu Aarau, 1825, quoted from Spiess, Emil: Troxler. p. 313.
35    Troxler, quoted from von Wartburg, Wolfgang: Die grossen Helvetiker. Bedeutende Persönlichkeiten in bewegter Zeit 1798–1815, Schaffhausen 1997, p. 256.
36    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Achte Anzeige des Lehrvereins zu Aarau, 1825, zit. nach Rohr, Schriften, p. 129.
37    Von Wartburg, Troxler, p. 253–256.
38    cf. Halder, Geschichte, p. 321.
39    cf. Ort, Zschokke, p. 443.
40    cf. Staatsarchiv Aarau: Archiv des Kantonsschulrates, Lv. Akten (Akten des Lehrvereins 1823– 1830); Matrikel- und Protokollbuch des Lehrvereins 1823–1830.
41    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 147–167: Liste aller Schüler.
42    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 143–146: Liste aller Lehrer.
43    cf. Drack, Lehrverein, p. 103 f.
44    cf. Halder, Geschichte, p.351–355.
45    Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler, “Ein wahres Wort über das jetzige Vaterland, mit Rücksicht auf eine Schmähschrift namenloser Verläumder, 1839”, in A. Rohr, Troxler, Volume II, op. cit., p. 468.
46    cf. Roca, René: Die Einführung des Vetos im Kanton Baselland. Ein wichtiger Schritt für die Entwicklung der direkten Demokratie in der Schweiz, in: Baselbieter Heimatblätter, Nr. 1/78, Liestal 2013, p. 1–12.
47    cf. Roca, Volkssouveränität, p. 111–134.
48    Troxler, Ignaz Paul Vital: Sechste Anzeige des Lehrvereins zu Aarau, 1824, quoted from Rohr, Schriften, p. 125.
49    Schulgesetz vom 17. März 1981 (Stand 1. Januar 2011), Kanton Aargau, 401 100 (www.gesetzes- sammlungen.ag.ch).
50    cf. www.lehrplan.ch.
51    cf. Brühlmeier, Arthur: Menschen bilden. 27 Mosaiksteine: Impulse zur Gestaltung des Bildungswesens nach den Grundsätzen von Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, second, minorly modified edition, Baden 2008.
First printed in : Argovia, Jahresschrift der Historischen Gesellschaft des Kantons Aargau, Band 126, Aarau 2014, p. 140–154

Troxler-Gedenkjahr 2016

ro. Vor 150 Jahren, am 6. März 1866, starb Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler (geb. 1780). Er war Arzt, Philosoph, Pädagoge und Politiker und leistete auf allen diesen Gebieten Herausragendes. Troxlers Wirken sind im Gedenkjahr verschiedene Veranstaltungen gewidmet: Nach einer Tagung an der Universität Basel (3. bis 5. März) zu den Schwerpunkten und Kontexten seiner Philosophie fand am 6. März in Aarau ein Festakt statt. Am 19. Mai wird nun noch ein Symposium im ehemaligen Kloster St. Urban durchgeführt. Die Tagungsberichte und Programme sind unter www.troxlergedenkjahr2016.ch einsehbar. Es ist das Verdienst des Vereins «Troxler-Gedenkjahr» und besonders von Franz Lohri, dass mit den Anlässen eine Schweizer Persönlichkeit gewürdigt wird, die allzu stark in Vergessenheit geraten ist, deren Gedanken aber an Aktualität und Tiefe nichts verloren haben.
Im Rahmen des Gedenkjahres ist das Buch von Max Widmer zu Troxler vom Futurum Verlag erneut aufgelegt worden. Der Band enthält Max Widmers Troxler-Biografie in einer um die Quellennachweise ergänzten Neuauflage sowie eine Studie von Franz Lohri zu Troxlers vielseitigem Wirken.
Max Widmer/Franz Lohri: Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler. Schweizer Arzt, Philosoph, Pädagoge und Politiker. Mit einem Geleitwort von alt Bundesrat Kaspar Villiger, Futurum Verlag, Basel 2016. ISBN 978-3-85636-249-2

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