From general instructions, like free elementary education for all and a secondary school designed to become a basis for specialized studies, he went on to specify that ancient and modern languages, as well natural sciences be taught in school for the purpose of achieving significant mental exercise for the young minds or the students of Mexico. Maximilian was emphatic about educating the students with modern languages because according to him, modern languages is nowadays absolutely essential for a Nation that intends to participate in world affairs (page 24).
He further stressed that knowledge of modern languages is instrumental to maintaining and preserving Mexicos relations with other nations. In essence, Maximilian was implying the importance of standing on ones own feel while being inter-dependent with others, too. This is an excellent point of view because Maximilian did not want Mexico to be great yet isolated; rather, he wanted Mexico to become a self-sustaining nation that could interact competently with other nations as well. Interestingly, even physical education was not far from Maximilians concerns.
In fact, Maximilian asked Minister Siliceo to pay as much attention to the physical well-being and activities, as to the intellectual development of the students. The longer his letter to Minister Siliceo becomes, the clearer it manifests that he had carefully planned the educational system of Mexico in his mind in such a way that it would never be left behind by the modern and advanced countries of the world. In the same manner that Maximilian wanted a balanced attention to physical education and intellectual development, he also stressed the importance of balanced attention to the sciences and the arts in higher and professional studies.
Maximilian became extra emphatic when he discussed the science that was still not widely appreciated in Mexico at the time ” philosophy. He described philosophy as the science that strengthens the intellect, teaches man to know himself, and as a result of this self-knowledge, to comprehend the moral order of human society. In this point of the letter, it is very clear that Maximilian was not a conservative thinker. For one, he did not choose to stick to what has been the educational paradigm in Mexico; instead, he called for the introduction and promotion of philosophy among students.
He was completely liberal in his flow of thought, such that he implied a hasty call for change so that the students become competent in philosophy, so that their intellect be strengthened, so that self-knowledge becomes a reality, and subsequently the students would see the moral order of human society from the perspective of an independent logical thinker. Maximilian also gave Minister Siliceo a piece of his mind regarding the Roman Catholic Church, which was the dominant church in Mexico at the time (and up to now).
Religion, according to Maximilian, is a matter of an individuals conscience. Here, he meant to say that choice of religion should not be shoved down the young minds of the student in a strict manner because ultimately, it is the human conscience that would decide what to choose. Maximilan further noted, The less the State interferes with religious questions, the truer to its mission it will remain. By this, Maximilian meant to emphasize that the State and the Church should be independent from each other.
However, the issue of religious education is the responsibility of the State, and not the Church. Education, in all its level and facets, should be administered and operated by the State, according to Maximilian. This is the only way that the State can be faithful in its responsibility to educate the young minds of Mexico. In his letter, Maximilian told Minister Siliceo, your drafts and proposals will emphasize the principle that local parishes give religious instruction in lower and middle schools on the basis of books approved by the Government.
Essentially, everyone can choose their religion. In fact, everyone can learn about religion. However, if anyone wishes to learn more about religion than what the State approves of, then s/he would have to find an appropriate venue, other than the educational institutions operated by the State. Maximilian made it clear that the clergy would be educated in the way of the Church, but the rest of the students would learn according to the educational design of the Government.
Ultimately, Maximilian wanted to preserve the independence and separation of the Church and the Government, and leave religion and religious beliefs to the human conscience. In Maximilians words, We have freed the Church and science. Therefore, as far as Maximilian was concerned, young minds will learn not the ways of the clergy but the ways of science. Finally, Maximilian instructed Minister Siliceo to train the best educators and provide good books for the total improvement and maintenance of the educational system in Mexico.