Education Reform in the mid-19th Century

Inspired by the Second Great Awakening in the early 19th century, Americans began a number of public reforms, including education reform. Moved by Ralph Waldo Emerson's philosophy of transcendentalism, the belief that any corruption stemmed from some institution of society, a growing number of advocates began to push for free, non-religious schooling. Good education that was usually reserved for the wealthy was suddenly available to the general public. In the 1820s, Horace Mann, one of the US's strongest reformers, began creating a more defined system that would be free and universal for all. Mann's ultimate goal was to turn citizens from all over America into good citizens and, in doing so, help them reach their full potential. Soon, schools had curriculums, bells, and even compulsory attendance. This mid-19th century education reform held great historical relevance, as it defined the basis for the schooling systems that we had today. The well-defined school curriculums and widespread education present today is a direct effect of the reforms made by Mann and other reformers during the mid-19th century.

Explanation: Propaganda for the new public schools as a place for children of all social classes.
Explanation: The common single-room school with a few teachers and mostly younger children.

Explanation: Governor DeWitt sees the effects of a lack of education on society and applies Locke's philosophy that society's vices put people in this disgrace.

Additional Information/Discussion

Horace Mann set the precedent in Massachusetts with betterment of the educational system and facilities and created an incentive that all states would later follow.

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