Cost of “Winning”


At every quarterly examination a gold medal was given to the best writer. When the first medal was offered, it produced rather a general contention than an emulation and diffused a spirit of envy, jealousy, and discord through the whole school; boys who were bosom friends before became fierce contentious rivals, and when the prize was adjudged became implacable enemies. Those who were advanced decried the weaker performances; each wished his opponent’s abilities less than his own, and they used all their little arts to misrepresent and abuse each other’s performances.

– Robert Coram, Political Inquiries (1791)

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