Life and Human Dignity

The Point: Write an Essay, Change History


John Stonestreet

Do your homework! You just might change history.

In 1785, the topic for Cambridge’s Latin essay contest was the lawfulness of slavery. Young Thomas Clarkson’s wanted to win the prize. But God had bigger plans for his essay.

As Clarkson dug into what would become his prize-winning work, he was shocked by the horrors of the slave trade. This convicted him to take action, and he went on to become one of the leading forces in the abolitionist movement. As Eric Metaxas wrote in “Amazing Grace,” Clarkson was a “prime mover” in convincing William Wilberforce to represent the cause in Parliament.

It often seems today that education is just about a grade point average, a high SAT score. We want students to work hard, but more than that, we want them to learn—about things that matter. So they will become people who will do what’s right. Without vision, people perish. With vision, even homework can change the world.

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Image: Wikimedia Commons


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