John Dewey was born on 20th October in the year 1859 Burlington, Vermont. He was a psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas played a crucial role in influencing social reforms in the 20th century. He is also remembered as a philosopher of America democracy during his times. He was born in a family of four children and was the third born. His father Archibald Dewey was a local merchant and his mother Lucina Artemisia who was a housewife. John's mother moral sense was based on Calvinism which was her religion whereby one's faith is expressed in good works and moral behavior. On the other side, his father passionately loved literature. As a result, this influenced his lifestyle and shaped career path. In his boyhood, John Dewey worked as a newspaper deliverer and at lumberyard. During the civil war between 1861 and 1865, john's father served in the union army, in Virginia. John would visit him and viewed the horrors or the war.
John graduated in Vermont public school with average grades and joined the University of Vermont. He took a course in psychology where he studied the science of human behavior, ethics, languages, religion, and the science of reasoning. In his senior year, his teacher Torrey discovered his passion in philosophy and introduced him to works of different philosophers. This improved his way of thinking and graduated his second class at the age of nineteen. John Dewey's first book was published in 1887 and was well received by many scholars and was adopted as a textbook in several universities. However, some people criticized his work including Stanley Hall, who was his former psychology professor. In this book, John Dewey explained a philosophical system that connected German's idealist philosophy and that of scientific study. In his research and the writing life, John won several awards the universities he studied and taught (Martin, 2002).
Unsure of the career to pursue, John Dewey began the journey of job seeking, and after several unsuccessful searches; he was invited to teach in an institute of training priest by his cousin who was the principal in the school which was located in Pennsylvania. He worked for two years and lost his job after his cousin resigned. He later return to his homeland in Vermont and took a job as a teacher in a private school, in Charlotte. This way, he got the opportunity to spend time with his former teacher Torrey, and discussed his works. John Dewey strongly believed that education and civilization was the opener to consciousness and awareness of issues affecting society.
During this time, most of the philosophers who taught in schools placed more importance on religious ideas and not creative ideas. John Dewey became popular after publishing his first essay in a school in, St. Louis. He then applied for admission to Johns Hopkins University where he pursued a career in psychology. After completion of his doctorate, John Dewey was invited to teach in Michigan where he met and married his wife Alice Chipman. In his happy marriage, they were blessed with seven children. John was known to be a quiet and shy young man, and his students would sometimes sleep while he is teaching. Those who managed to stay awake could not contribute much to the lectures, and instead would just listen to lectures that were full of ideas that were sometimes termed as crazy ideas (Hickman, 2009).
In 1894, John and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois where he became the head of a new department of psychology and philosophy in the University of Chicago. John and his wife wanted to test his theories, and as a result, they started an experimental school and made his wife the principal. Dewey school caused antagonism between john and its president William Harper, when Harper tried to fire john's wife. Dewey resigned in protest and moved to New York where he spent the rest of his teaching years. Being the advocate for academic freedom, John joined forces with members of united states section of independent league of academic freedom and published a couple of articles related to the infamous Bertrand Case. Some people did not appreciate his works, and criticized him and considered him to be a communist because he argued against philosophical differences with Marx and Stalinism (Dykhuizen, 1973).
In New York, John was exposed to America's culture and its political system. He began is political life by organizing the league for independent political action hoping to create a new political party. After First World War, john started travelling in different places lecturing on the need to reform the education system. He then went to study in Turkey for two years and visited the University of Mexico in his completion of course he took. John saw American democracy as the best form of government, which was challenged by effects of the industrial revolution. He said that American political system worked well for everyone, although it led to much wealth to few men who were civilized. He believed that this would be corrected by the right kind of education. John's influence on American schools grew stronger each day, and many critics attacked his ideas claiming that they are the cause of all the wrong found in the American education system.
It is clearly evident, that his entire life john had been studied from one school to the other. However, his knowledge and experience played a significant role in social reforms making John the most popular philosopher in the 20th century.