Social Frontier/Frontiers of Democracy


The Social Frontier (1934-1939) and the Frontiers of Democracy (1939-1943) was a journal published under the editorial direction of George Counts (1934-1937), George Hartmann (1937-1939), William H. Kilpatrick (1939-1943) and Harold Rugg (1943). Beginning as a radical journal, published independently at Teachers College, the Social Frontier urged educators to use the school as an agent of social change. With contributors like John Dewey, Sidney Hook, Leon Trotsky and John Childs, the journal attracted a wide audience. As the progressive movement began to splinter, the journal lost some of its editorial direction as well as its subscribers. In 1939 the journal was in debt, and accepted the sponsorship of the Progressive Education Association (PEA). At the same time the journal title was changed to the Frontiers of Democracy and Kilpatrick was named editor. In 1943, the PEA decided that it would no longer support the journal, and its final issue was published.

In that final issue, Rugg laments the fact that the journal could not continue its one main function, namely: “to lead educators in the building of an enlightened America. To do that directly and effectively we must use our magazine and our conferences for the frank study of social issues. Our treasured American way of life is in great danger, not only from menacing fascists and false patrioteers, but primarily because our people, standing baffled and bewildered on the threshold of abundance are unable to bring about such a life.”

The Teachers College Record, in conjunction with the Gottesman Libraries at Teachers College, is re-releasing this journal both because of its historical importance and because of its continued relevance to educators today.

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