University of Delaware Archives and Records Management
1837 — 1848
In an effort to enhance the scholarly lives of their members, both the Delta Phi and Athenaen societies established libraries. Both produced journals or gazettes, hosted speakers, and held debates at their weekly meetings.
This listing of the questions proposed for debate by Athenaen members included topics both serious and entertaining. While some questions are marked by their time period, ("Is it likely that M. Van Buren will be reelected President of the US?") others resonate today ("Should physical torture be resorted to as the means of eliciting evidence?") Many of the questions were repeated several times before being chosen for weekly debate. A sampling of other questions follows:
"Are lawyers beneficial?"
Should there be any restrictions on immigration in this country?"
"Is genius more desirable than industry?"
Will the extension of the territory of the United States tend to its prosperity?"
"Which has the greater power, Education or Wealth?"
"Is the education of a lady as important as that of gentlemen?"
"Ought the abolitionists be prevented from spreading their opinions?"
"Is there sufficient proof of the immortality of the soul?"
"Is the condition of a Bachelor desirable?"