Part 13 out of 18
of providing the rudiments of an education to those too poor to pay for
schooling. These Societies were usually organized by philanthropic
citizens, willing to contribute something yearly to provide some little
education for a few of the many children in the city having no
opportunities for any instruction. A number of these Societies were able
to effect some financial connection with the city or the State.
One of the first of these School Societies was "The Manumission Society,"
organized in New York, in 1785, for the purpose of "mitigating the evils
of slavery, to defend the rights of the blacks, and especially to give
them the elements of an education." Alexander Hamilton and John Jay were
among its organizers. A free school for colored pupils was opened, in
1787. This grew and prospered and was aided from time to time by the city,
and in 1801 by the State. Finally, in 1834, all its schools were merged
with those of the "Public School Society" of the city. In 1801 the first
free school for poor white children "whose parents belong to no religious
society, and who, from some cause or other, cannot be admitted into any of
the charity schools of the city," was opened. This was provided by the
"Association of Women Friends for the Relief of the Poor," which engaged
"a widow woman of good education and morals as instructor" at L30 per
year. This Association also prospered, and received some city or state aid
up to 1824. By 1823 it was providing free elementary education for 750
children. Its schools also were later merged with those of the "Public
"THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SOCIETY." Perhaps the most famous of all the early
subscription societies for the maintenance of schools for the poor was the
"New York Free School Society," which later changed its name to that of
"The Public School Society of New York." This was organized, in 1805,
under the leadership of De Witt Clinton, then mayor of the city, he
heading the subscription list with a promise of $200 a year for support.
On May 14, 1806, the following advertisement appeared in the daily papers:
The Trustees of the Society for establishing a Free School in the city
of New York, for the education of such poor children as do not belong
to, or are not provided for by any religious Society, having engaged a
Teacher, and procured a School House for the accommodation of a
School, have now the pleasure of announcing that it is proposed to
receive scholars of the descriptions alluded to without delay;
applications may be made to, &c.
Four days later the officers of the Society issued a general appeal to the
public (R. 311), setting forth the purposes of the Society and soliciting
[Illustration: FIG. 196. THE FIRST SCHOOLHOUSE BUILT BY THE FREE SCHOOL
SOCIETY IN NEW YORK CITY
Built in 1809, in Tryon Row. Cost, without site, $13,000.]
This Society was chartered by the legislature "to provide schooling for
all children who are the proper objects of a gratuitous education." It
organized free public education in the city, secured funds, built
schoolhouses, provided and trained teachers, and ably supplemented the
work of the private and church schools. By its energy and its persistence
it secured for itself a large share of public confidence, and aroused a
constantly increasing interest in the cause of popular education. In 1853,
after it had educated over 600,000 children and trained over 1200
teachers, this Society, its work done, surrendered its charter and turned
over its buildings and equipment to the public-school department of the
city, which had been created by the legislature in 1842.
SCHOOL SOCIETIES ELSEWHERE. The "Benevolent Society of the City of
Baltimore for the Education of the Female Poor," founded in 1799, and the
"Male Free Society of Baltimore," organized a little later, were other of
these early school societies, though neither became so famous as the
Public School Society of New York. The schools of the city of Washington
were started by subscription, in 1804, and for some time were in part
supported by subscriptions from public-spirited citizens.  This society
did an important work in accustoming the people of the capital city to the
provision of some form of free education.
In 1800 "The Philadelphia Society  for the Free Instruction of Indigent
Boys" was formed, which a little later changed to "The Philadelphia
Society for the Establishment and Support of Charity Schools." In 1814
"The Society for the Promotion of a Rational System of Education" was
organized in Philadelphia, and four years later the public sentiment
awakened by a combination of the work of this Society and the coming of
the Lancastrian system of instruction enabled the city to secure a special
law permitting Philadelphia to organize a system of city schools for the
education of the children of its poor. Other societies which rendered
useful educational service include the "Mechanics and Manufacturers
Association," of Providence, Rhode Island, organized in 1789 (Rs. 308,
310); "The Albany Lancastrian School Society," organized in 1826, for the
education of the poor of the city in monitorial schools; and the school
societies organized in Savannah in 1818, and Augusta, in 1821, "to afford
education to the children of indigent parents." Both these Georgia
societies received some support from state funds.
The formation of these school societies, the subscriptions made by the
leading men of the cities, the bequests for education, and the grants of
some city and state aid to these societies, all of which in time became
somewhat common, indicate a slowly rising interest in providing schools
for the education of all. This rising interest in education was greatly
stimulated by the introduction from England, about this time, of a new and
what for the time seemed a wonderful system for the organization of
education, the Lancastrian monitorial plan.
THE LANCASTRIAN MONITORIAL SCHOOLS. Church-of-England ideas were not in
much favor in the United States for some time after the close of the
Revolutionary War, and in consequence it was the Lancastrian plan which
was brought over and popularized. In 1806 the first monitorial school was
opened in New York City, and, once introduced, the system quickly spread
from Massachusetts to Georgia, and as far west as Cincinnati, Louisville,
and Detroit. In 1826 Maryland instituted a state system of Lancastrian
schools, with a Superintendent of Public Instruction, but in 1828
abandoned the idea and discontinued the office. A state Lancastrian system
for North Carolina was proposed in 1832, but failed of adoption by the
legislature. In 1829 Mexico organized higher Lancastrian schools for the
Mexican State of Texas. In 1818 Lancaster himself went to America, and was
received with much distinction. Most of the remaining twenty years of his
life were spent in organizing and directing schools in various parts of
the United States.
In many of the rising cities of the eastern part of the country the first
free schools established were Lancastrian schools. The system provided
education at so low a cost (p. 629) that it made the education of all for
the first time seem possible.  The first free schools in Philadelphia
(1818) were an outgrowth of Lancastrian influence, as was also the case in
many other Pennsylvania cities. Baltimore began a Lancastrian school six
years before the organization of public schools was permitted by law. A
number of monitorial high schools were organized in different parts of the
United States, and it was even proposed that the plan should be adopted in
the colleges. A number of New England cities, that already had other type
schools, investigated the new monitorial plan and were impressed with its
many important points of superiority over methods then in use. The Report
of the Investigating Committee (1828) for Boston (R. 312), forms a good
example of such. As in England, the system was very popular from about
1810 to 1830, but by 1840 its popularity was over.
THE INTEREST THE NEW PLAN AWAKENED. It is not strange that the new plan
aroused widespread enthusiasm in many discerning men, and for almost a
quarter of a century was advocated as the best system of education then
known. Two quotations will illustrate what leading men of the time thought
of it. De Witt Clinton, for twenty-one years president of the New York
"Free School Society," and later governor of the State, wrote, in 1809:
When I perceive that many boys in our school have been taught to read
and write in two months, who did not before know the alphabet, and
that even one has accomplished it in three weeks--when I view all the
bearings and tendencies of this system--when I contemplate the habits
of order which it forms, the spirit of emulation which it excites, the
rapid improvement which it produces, the purity of morals which it
inculcates--when I behold the extraordinary union of celerity in
instruction and economy of expense--and when I perceive one great
assembly of a thousand children, under the eye of a single teacher,
marching with unexampled rapidity and with perfect discipline to the
goal of knowledge, I confess that I recognize in Lancaster the
benefactor of the human race. I consider his system as creating a new
era in education, as a blessing sent down from heaven to redeem the
poor and distressed of this world from the power and dominion of
In a message to the legislature of Connecticut, a State then fairly well
supplied with schools of the Massachusetts district type, Governor Wolcott
said, in 1825:
If funds can be obtained to defray the expenses of the necessary
preparations, I have no doubt that schools on the Lancastrian model
ought, as soon as possible, to be established in several parts of this
state. Wherever from 200 to 1000 children can be convened within a
suitable distance, this mode of instruction in every branch of
reading, speaking, penmanship, arithmetic, and bookkeeping, will be
found much more efficient, direct, and economical than the practices
now generally pursued in our primary schools.
The Lancastrian schools materially hastened the adoption of the free
school system in all the Northern States by gradually accustoming people
to bearing the necessary taxation which free schools entail. They also
made the common school common and much talked of, and awakened thought and
provoked discussion on the question of public education. They likewise
dignified the work of the teacher by showing the necessity for teacher-
training. The Lancastrian Model Schools, first established in the United
States in 1818, were the precursors of the American normal schools.
COMING OF THE INFANT SCHOOL. A curious early condition in America was
that, in some of the cities where public schools had been established, by
one agency or another, no provision had been made for beginners. These
were supposed to obtain the elements of reading at home, or in the Dame
Schools. In Boston, for example, where public schools were maintained by
the city, no children could be received into the schools who had not
learned to read and write (R. 314 a). This made the common age of
admission somewhere near eight years. The same was in part true of
Hartford, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and other cities. When the
monitorial schools were established they tended to restrict their
membership in a similar manner, though not always able to do so.
In 1816 there came to America, also from England, a valuable supplement to
education as then known in the form of the so-called Infant Schools (p.
630). First introduced at Boston (R. 313), the Infant Schools proved
popular, and in 1818 the city appropriated $5000 for the purpose of
organizing such schools to supplement the public-school system. These were
to admit children at four years of age, were to be known as primary
schools, were to be taught by women, were to be open all the year round,
and were to prepare the children for admission to the city schools, which
by that time had come to be known as English grammar schools. Providence,
similarly, established primary (Infant) schools in 1828 for children
between the ages of four and eight, to supplement the work of the public
schools, there called writing schools.
THE DAME SCHOOL ABSORBED. For New England the establishment of primary
schools virtually took over the Dame School instruction as a public
function, and added the primary grades to the previously existing school.
We have here the origin of the division, often still retained at least in
name in the Eastern States, of the "primary grades" and the "grammar
grades" of the elementary school.
[Illustration: FIG. 197 "MODEL" SCHOOL BUILDING OF THE PUBLIC SCHOOL
Erected in 1843. Cost (with site), $17,000. A typical New York school
building, after 1830. The infant or primary school was on the first floor,
the second floor contains the girls' school, and the third floor the boys'
school. Each floor had one large room seating 252 children; the primary
schoolroom could be divided into two rooms by folding doors, so as to
segregate the infant class. This building was for long regarded as the
perfection of the builder's art, and its picture was printed for years on
the cover of the Society's Annual Reports.]
An "Infant-School Society" was organized in New York, in 1827. The first
Infant School was established under the direction of the Public School
Society as the "Junior Department" of School No. 8, with a woman teacher
in charge, and using monitorial methods. A second school was established
the next year. In 1830 the name was changed from Infant School to Primary
Department, and where possible these departments were combined with the
existing schools. In 1832 it was decided to organize ten primary schools,
under women teachers, for children from four to ten years of age, and
after the Boston plan of instruction. This abandoned the monitorial plan
of instruction for the new Pestalozzian form, which was deemed better
suited to the needs of the smaller children. By 1844 fifty-six Primary
Departments had been organized in connection with the upper schools of the
In Philadelphia three Infant-School Societies were founded in 1827-28, and
such schools were at once established there. By 1830 the directors of the
school system had been permitted by the legislature of the State to expend
public money for such schools, and thirty such, under women teachers, were
in operation in the city by 1837.
[Illustration: FIG. 198. EVOLUTION OF THE ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF THE
AMERICAN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM]
PRIMARY EDUCATION ORGANIZED. The Infant-School idea was soon somewhat
generally adopted by the Eastern cities, and changed somewhat to make of
it an American primary school. Where children had not been previously
admitted to the schools without knowing how to read, as in Boston, they
supplemented the work of the public schools by adding a new school
beneath. Where the reverse had been the case, as in New York City, the
organization of Infant Schools as Junior Departments enabled the existing
schools to advance their work. Everywhere it resulted, eventually, in the
organization of primary and grammar school departments, often with
intermediate departments in between, and, with the somewhat
contemporaneous evolution of the first high schools, the main outlines of
the American free public-school system were now complete.
These four important educational movements--the secular Sunday School, the
semi-public city School Societies, the Lancastrian plan for instruction,
and the Infant-School idea--all arising in philanthropy, came as
successive educational ideas to America during the first half of the
nineteenth century, supplemented one another, and together accustomed a
new generation to the idea of a common school for all.
III. SOCIAL, POLITICAL, AND ECONOMIC INFLUENCES
It is hardly probable, however, that these philanthropic efforts alone,
valuable as they were, could have resulted in the great American battle
for tax-supported schools, at as early a date as this took place, had they
not been supplemented by a number of other movements of a social,
political, and economic character which in themselves materially changed
the nature and direction of our national life. The more important of these
were: (1) The rise of cities and of manufacturing, (2) the extension of
the suffrage, and (3) the rise of new class-demands for schools.
GROWTH OF CITY POPULATION AND MANUFACTURING. At the time of the
inauguration of the National Government nearly every one in America lived
on the farm or in some little village. The first forty years of the
national life were essentially an agricultural and a pioneer period. Even
as late as 1820 there were but thirteen cities of 8000 inhabitants or over
in the whole of the twenty-three States at that time comprising the Union,
and these thirteen cities contained but 4.9 per cent of the total
population of the Nation.
After about 1825 these conditions began to change. By 1820 many little
villages were springing up, and these frequently proved the nuclei for
future cities. In New England many of these places were in the vicinity of
some waterfall, where cheap power made manufacturing on a large scale
possible. Lowell, Massachusetts, which in 1820 did not exist and in 1840
had a population of over twenty thousand people, collected there largely
to work in the mills, is a good illustration. Other cities, such as
Cincinnati and Detroit, grew because of their advantageous situation as
exchange and wholesale centers. With the revival of trade and commerce
after the second war with Great Britain the cities grew rapidly both in
number and size.
The rise of the new cities and the rapid growth of the older ones
materially changed the nature of the educational problem, by producing an
entirely new set of social and educational conditions for the people of
the Central and Northern States to solve. The South, with its plantation
life, negro slavery, and absence of manufacturing was largely unaffected
by these changed conditions until well after the close of the Civil War.
In consequence the educational awakening there did not come for nearly
half a century after it came in the North. In the cities in the coast
States north of Maryland, but particularly in those of New York and New
England, manufacturing developed very rapidly. Cotton-spinning in
particular became a New England industry, as did also the weaving of wool,
while Pennsylvania became the center of the iron manufacturing industries.
The development of this new type of factory work meant the beginnings of
the breakdown of the old home and village industries, the eventual
abandonment of the age-old apprenticeship system (Rs. 200, 201), the start
of the cityward movement of the rural population, and the concentration of
manufacturing in large establishments, employing many hands to perform
continuously certain limited phases of the manufacturing process. This in
time was certain to mean a change in educational methods. It also called
for the concentration of both capital and labor. The rise of the factory
system, business on a large scale, and cheap and rapid transportation, all
combined to diminish the importance of agriculture and to change the city
from an unimportant to a very important position in our national life. The
13 cities of 1820 increased to 44 by 1840, and to 141 by 1860. There were
four times as many cities in the North, too, where manufacturing had found
a home, as in the South, which remained essentially agricultural.
NEW SOCIAL PROBLEMS IN THE CITIES. The many changes in the nature of
industry and of village and home life, effected by the development of the
factory system and the concentration of manufacturing and population in
the cities, also contributed materially in changing the character of the
old educational problem. When the cities were as yet but little villages
in size and character, homogeneous in their populations, and the many
social and moral problems incident to the congestion of peoples of mixed
character had not as yet arisen, the church and charity and private school
solution of the educational problem was reasonably satisfactory. As the
cities now increased rapidly in size, became more city-like in character,
drew to them diverse elements previously largely unknown, and were
required by state laws to extend the right of suffrage to all their
citizens, the need for a new type of educational organization began slowly
but clearly to manifest itself to an increasing number of citizens. The
church, charity, and private school system completely broke down under the
new strain. School Societies and Educational Associations, organized for
propaganda, now arose in the cities; grants of city or state funds for the
partial support of both church and society schools were demanded and
obtained; and numbers of charity organizations began to be established in
the different cities to enable them to handle better the new problems of
pauperism, intemperance, and juvenile delinquency which arose.
THE EXTENSION OF THE SUFFRAGE. The Constitution of the United States,
though framed by the ablest men of the time, was framed by men who
represented the old aristocratic conception of education and government.
The same was true of the conventions which framed practically all the
early state constitutions. The early period of the national life was thus
characterized by the rule of a class--a very well-educated and a very
capable class, to be sure--but a class elected by a ballot based on
property qualifications and belonging to the older type of political and
Notwithstanding the statements of the Declaration of Independence, the
change came but slowly. Up to 1815 but four States had granted the right
to vote to all male citizens, regardless of property holdings or other
somewhat similar restrictions. After 1815 a democratic movement, which
sought to abolish all class rule and all political inequalities, arose and
rapidly gained strength. In this the new States to the westward, with
their absence of old estates or large fortunes, and where men were judged
more on their merits than in an older society, were the leaders. As will
be seen from the map, every new State admitted east of the Mississippi
River, except Ohio (admitted in 1802), where the New England element
predominated, and Louisiana (1812), provided for full manhood suffrage at
the time of its admission to statehood. Seven additional Eastern States
had extended the same full voting privileges to their citizens by 1845,
while the old requirements had been materially modified in most of the
other Northern States. This democratic movement for the leveling of all
class distinctions between white men became very marked, after 1820; came
to a head in the election of Andrew Jackson as President, in 1828; and the
final result was full manhood suffrage in all the States. This gave the
farmer in the West and the new manufacturing classes in the cities a
preponderating influence in the affairs of government.
[Illustration: FIG. 199. DATES OF THE GRANTING OF FULL MANHOOD SUFFRAGE
Some of the older States granted almost full manhood suffrage at an
earlier date, retaining a few minor restrictions until the date given on
the map. States shaded granted full suffrage at the time of admission to
EDUCATIONAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE EXTENSION OF SUFFRAGE. The educational
significance of the extension of full manhood suffrage to all was enormous
There now took place in the United States, after about 1825, what took
place in England after the passage of the Second Reform Act (p. 642) of
1867. With the extension of the suffrage to all classes of the population,
poor as well as rich, laborer, as well as employer, there came to thinking
men, often for the first time, a realization that general education had
become a fundamental necessity for the State, and that the general
education of all in the elements of knowledge and civic virtue must now
assume that importance in the minds of the leaders of the State that the
education of a few for the service of the Church and of the many for
simple church membership had once held in the minds of ecclesiastics.
This new conception is well expressed in the preamble to the first
(optional) school law enacted in Illinois (1825), which declares:
To enjoy our rights and liberties, we must understand them; their
security and protection ought to be the first object of a free people;
and it is a well-established fact that no nation has ever continued
long in the enjoyment of civil and political freedom, which was not
both virtuous and enlightened; and believing that the advancement of
literature always has been, and ever will be the means of developing
more fully the rights of man, that the mind of every citizen in a
republic is the common property of society, and constitutes the basis
of its strength and happiness; it is therefore considered the peculiar
duty of a free government, like ours, to encourage and extend the
improvement and cultivation of the intellectual energies of the whole.
UTTERANCES OF PUBLIC MEN AND WORKINGMEN. Governors now began to recommend
to their legislatures the establishment of tax-supported schools, and
public men began to urge state action and state control. An utterance by
De Witt Clinton, for nine years governor of New York, may be taken as an
example of many. In a message to the legislature, in 1826, defending the
schools established, he said:
The first duty of government, and the surest evidence of good
government, is the encouragement of education. A general diffusion of
knowledge is a precursor and protector of republican institutions, and
in it we must confide as the conservative power that will watch over
our liberties and guard them against fraud, intrigue, corruption, and
violence. I consider the system of our common schools as the palladium
of our freedom, for no reasonable apprehension can be entertained of
its subversion as long as the great body of the people are enlightened
After about 1825 many labor unions were formed, and the representatives of
these new organizations joined in the demands for schools and education,
urging the free education of their children as a natural right. In 1829
the workingmen of Philadelphia asked each candidate for the legislature
for a formal declaration of the attitude he would assume toward the
provision of "an equal and a general system of education" for the State.
In 1830 the Workingmen's Committee of Philadelphia submitted a detailed
report (R. 315), after five months spent in investigating educational
conditions in Pennsylvania, vigorously condemning the lack of provision
for education in the State, and the utterly inadequate provision where any
was made. Seth Luther, in an address on "The Education of Workingmen,"
delivered in 1832, declared that "a large body of human beings are ruined
by a neglect of education, rendered miserable in the extreme, and
incapable of self-government." Stephen Simpson, in his _A Manual for
Workingmen_, published in 1831, declared that "it is to education,
therefore, that we must mainly look for redress of that perverted system
of society, which dooms the producer to ignorance, to toil, and to penury,
to moral degradation, physical want, and social barbarism." Many
resolutions were adopted by these organizations demanding free state-
supported schools. 
IV. ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS, AND PROPAGANDA
THE ALIGNMENT OF INTERESTS. The second quarter of the nineteenth century
may be said to have witnessed the battle for tax-supported, publicly
controlled and directed, and non-sectarian common schools. In 1825 such
schools were still the distant hope of statesmen and reformers; in 1850
they had become an actuality in almost every Northern State. The twenty-
five years intervening marked a period of public agitation and educational
propaganda; of many hard legislative fights; of a struggle to secure
desired legislation, and then to hold what had been secured; of many
bitter contests with church and private-school interests, which felt that
their "vested rights" were being taken from them; and of occasional
referenda in which the people were asked, at the next election, to advise
the legislature as to what to do. Excepting the battle for the abolition
of slavery, perhaps no question has ever been before the American people
for settlement which caused so much feeling or aroused such bitter
antagonisms. The friends of free schools were at first commonly regarded
as fanatics, dangerous to the State, and the opponents of free schools
were considered by them as old-time conservatives or as selfish members of
Naturally such a bitter discussion of a public question forced an
alignment of the people for or against publicly supported and controlled
schools, and this alignment of interests may be roughly stated to have
been about as follows:
_I. For Public Schools._
Men considered as:
1. "Citizens of the Republic."
2. Philanthropists and humanitarians.
3. Public men of large vision.
4. City residents.
5. The intelligent workingmen in the cities.
8. "New England men."
_II. Lukewarm, or against Public Schools._
Men considered as:
1. Belonging to the old aristocratic class.
2. The conservatives of society.
3. Politicians of small vision.
4. Residents of rural districts.
5. The ignorant, narrow-minded, and penurious.
7. Lutherans, Reformed-Church, Mennonites, and Quakers.
8. Southern men.
9. Proprietors of private schools.
10. The non-English-speaking classes.
THE WORK OF PROPAGANDA. To meet the arguments of the objectors, to change
the opinions of a thinking few into the common opinion of the many, to
overcome prejudice, and to awaken the public conscience to the public need
for free and common schools in such a democratic society, was the work of
a generation. To convince the masses of the people that the scheme of
state schools was not only practicable, but also the best and most
economical means for giving their children the benefits of an education;
to convince propertied citizens that taxation for education was in the
interests of both public and private welfare; to convince legislators that
it was safe to vote for free-school bills; and to overcome the opposition
due to apathy, religious jealousies, and private interests, was the work
of years. In time, though, the desirability of common, free, tax-
supported, non-sectarian, state-controlled schools became evident to a
majority of the citizens in the different American States, and as it did
the American State School, free and equally open to all, was finally
evolved and took its place as the most important institution in the
national life working for the perpetuation of a free democracy and the
advancement of the public welfare.
For this work of propaganda hundreds of School Societies and Educational
Associations were organized; many conventions were held, and many
resolutions favoring state schools were adopted; many "Letters" and
"Addresses to the Public" were written and published; public-spirited
citizens traveled over the country, making addresses to the people
explaining the advantages of free state schools; many public-spirited men
gave the best years of their lives to the state-school propaganda; and
many governors sent communications on the subject to legislatures not yet
convinced as to the desirability of state action. At each meeting of the
legislatures for years a deluge of resolutions, memorials, and petitions
for and against free schools met the members.
The invention of the steam printing press came at about this time, and the
first modern newspapers at a cheap price now appeared. These usually
espoused progressive measures, and tremendously influenced public
sentiment. Those not closely connected with church or private-school
interests usually favored public tax-supported schools.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Explain why the development of a national consciousness was practically
necessary before an educational consciousness could be awakened.
2. Show why it was natural, suffrage conditions considered, that the early
interest should have been in advanced education.
3. Why did the Sunday-School movement prove of so much less usefulness in
America than in England?
4. Show the analogy between the earlier school societies for educational
work and other forms of modern associative effort.
5. Explain the great popularity of the Lancastrian schools over those
previously common in America.
6. What were two of the important contributions of the Infant-School idea
to American education?
7. Why are schools and education much more needed in a country
experiencing a city and manufacturing development than in a country
experiencing an agricultural development?
8. Show how the development of cities caused the old forms of education to
break down, and made evident the need for a new type of education.
9. Show how each extension of the suffrage necessitates an extension of
educational opportunities and advantages.
10. Explain the alignment of each class, for or against tax-supported
schools, on historical and on economic grounds.
In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following illustrative
selections are reproduced:
307. Fowle: The Schools of Boston about 1790-1815.
308. Rhode Island: Petition for Free Schools, 1799.
309. Providence: Rules and Regulations for the Schools in 1820.
310. Providence: A Memorial for Better Schools, 1837.
311. Bourne: Beginnings of Public Education in New York City.
312. Boston Report: Advantages of the Monitorial System.
313. Wightman: Establishment of Primary Schools in Boston.
314. Boston: The Elementary-School System in 1823.
315. Philadelphia: Report of Workingmen's Committee on Schools.
QUESTIONS ON THE READINGS
1. Just what advantages for boys and for girls existed in Boston (307 a,
b) before the creation of the reading schools?
2. What improvements and additions did the reading schools (307 c)
3. State the main features of the Rhode Island petition (308) of 1799.
4. Just what kind of schools do the Providence regulations (309) of 1820
provide for and describe?
5. Despite the many advances made in public schools since the date of the
Providence Memorial (310), have relative public and private school
expenditures materially changed?
6. Compare the New York Public School Society Address (311) with the
English charity-school organization (237, 238) as to purpose and
7. Show that a report on modern classroom organization would present
advantages over the monitorial plan, comparable with those outlined by the
Boston Report (312) comparing the monitorial and individual plans.
8. Just what does the Boston Report on Primary Schools (313) reveal as to
the character of education then provided?
9. Just what kind of elementary schools did Boston have (314) in 1823?
10. Just what kind of schools existed in the cities of Pennsylvania in
1830, judging from the Report (315) of the Workingmen's Committee? Was the
Report correct with reference to "a monopoly of talent"?
Binns, H. B. _A Century of Education, 1808-1908_.
Boese, Thos, _Public Education in the City of New York_.
Cubberley, E. P. _Public Education in the United States_.
* Fitzpatrick, E. A. _The Educational Views and Influences of De Witt
McManis, J. T. "The Public School Society of New York City," in
_Educational Review_, vol. 29, pp. 303-11. (March, 1905.)
* Palmer, A. E. _The New York Public School System_.
* Reigart, J. F. _The Lancastrian System of Instruction in the Schools
of New York City_.
* Salmon, David. _Joseph Lancaster_.
* Simcoe, A. M. _Social Forces in American History_.
THE AMERICAN BATTLE FOR FREE STATE SCHOOLS
The problem which confronted those interested in establishing state-
controlled schools was not exactly the same in any two States, though the
battle in many States possessed common elements, and hence was somewhat
similar in character. Instead of tracing the struggle in detail in each of
the different States, it will be much more profitable for our purposes to
pick out the main strategic points in the contest, and then illustrate the
conflict for these by describing conditions in one or two States where the
controversy was most severe or most typical. The seven strategic points in
the struggle for free, tax-supported, non-sectarian, state-controlled
schools in the United States were:
1. The battle for tax support.
2. The battle to eliminate the pauper-school idea.
3. The battle to make the schools entirely free.
4. The battle to establish state supervision.
5. The battle to eliminate sectarianism.
6. The battle to extend the system upward.
7. Addition of the state university to crown the system.
We shall consider each of these, briefly, in order.
I. THE BATTLE FOR TAX SUPPORT
EARLY SUPPORT AND ENDOWMENT FUNDS. In New England, land endowments, local
taxes, direct local appropriations, license taxes, and rate-bills had long
been common. Land endowments began early in the New England Colonies,
while rate-bills date back to the earliest times and long remained a
favorite means of raising money for school support. These means were
adopted in the different States after the beginning of our national
period, and to them were added a variety of license taxes, while
occupational taxes, lotteries, and bank taxes also were employed to raise
money for schools. A few examples of these may be cited:
Connecticut, in 1774, turned over all proceeds of liquor licenses to the
towns where collected, to be used for schools. New Orleans, in 1826,
licensed two theaters on condition that they each pay $3000 annually for
the support of schools in the city. New York, in 1799, authorized four
state lotteries to raise $100,000 for schools, a similar amount again in
1801, and numerous other lotteries before 1810. New Jersey (R. 246) and
most of the other States did the same. Congress passed fourteen joint
resolutions, between 1812 and 1836, authorizing lotteries to help support
the schools of the city of Washington. Bank taxes were a favorite source
of income for schools, between about 1825 and 1860, banks being chartered
on condition that they would pay over each year for schools a certain sum
or percentage of their earnings. These all represent what is known as
indirect taxation, and were valuable in accustoming the people to the idea
of public schools without appearing to tax them for their support.
The National Land Grants, begun in the case of Ohio in 1802, soon
stimulated a new interest in schools. Each State admitted after Ohio also
received the sixteenth section for the support of common schools, and two
townships of land for the endowment of a state university. The new Western
States, following the lead of Ohio (R. 260) and Indiana (R. 261),
dedicated these section lands and funds to free common schools. The
sixteen older States, however, did not share in these grants, so most of
them now set about building up a permanent school fund of their own,
though at first without any very clear idea as to how the income from the
fund was to be used. 
THE BEGINNINGS OF SCHOOL TAXATION. The early idea, which seems for a time
to have been generally entertained, that the income from land grants,
license fees, and these permanent endowment funds would in time entirely
support the necessary schools, was gradually abandoned as it was seen how
little in yearly income these funds and lands really produced, and how
rapidly the population of the States was increasing. By 1825 it may be
said to have been clearly recognized by thinking men that the only safe
reliance of a system of state schools lay in the general and direct
taxation of all property for their support. "The wealth of the State must
educate the children of the State" became a watchword, and the battle for
direct, local, county, and state taxation for education was clearly on by
1825 to 1830 in all the Northern States, except the four in New England
where the principle of taxation for education had for long been
established.  Even in these States the struggle to increase taxation
and provide better schools called for much argument and popular education
(R. 316), and occasional backward movements (Rs. 317, 318) were
[Illustration: FIG. 200. THE FIRST FREE PUBLIC SCHOOL IN DETROIT
A one-room school, opened in the Second Ward, in 1838. No action was taken
in any other ward until 1842.]
The struggle to secure the first legislation, weak and ineffective as it
seems to us to-day, was often hard and long. "Campaigns of education" had
to be prepared for and carried through. Many thought that tax-supported
schools would be dangerous for the State, harmful to individual good, and
thoroughly undemocratic. Many did not see the need for schools at all.
Portions of a town or a city would provide a free school, while other
portions would not. Often those in favor of taxation were bitterly
assailed, and even at times threatened with personal violence. Often those
in favor of improving the school had to wait patiently for the opposition
slowly to wear itself out (R. 319) before any real progress could be made.
STATE SUPPORT FIXED THE STATE SYSTEM. With the beginnings of state aid in
any substantial sums, either from the income from permanent endowment
funds, state appropriations, or direct state taxation, the State became,
for the first time, in a position to enforce quite definite requirements
in many matters. Communities which would not meet the State's requirements
would receive no state funds.
One of the first requirements to be thus enforced was that communities or
districts receiving state aid must also levy a local tax for schools.
Commonly the requirement was a duplication of state aid. Generally
speaking, and recognizing exceptions in a few States, this represents the
beginnings of compulsory local taxation for education. As early as 1797
Vermont had required the towns to support their schools on penalty of
forfeiting their share of state aid. New York in 1812, Delaware in 1829,
and New Jersey in 1846 required a duplication of all state aid received.
Wisconsin, in its first constitution of 1848, required a local tax for
schools equal to one half the state aid received. The next step in state
control was to add still other requirements, as a prerequisite to
receiving state aid. One of the first of such was that a certain length of
school term, commonly three months, must be provided in each school
district. Another was the provision of free heat, and later on free
schoolbooks and supplies.
When the duplication-of-state-aid-received stage had been reached,
compulsory local taxation for education had been established, and the
great central battle for the creation of a state school system had been
won. The right to tax for support, and to compel local taxation, was the
key to the whole state system of education. From this point on the process
of evolving an adequate system of school support in any State has been
merely the further education of public opinion to see new educational
II. THE BATTLE TO ELIMINATE THE PAUPER-SCHOOL IDEA
THE PAUPER-SCHOOL IDEA. The pauper-school idea was a direct inheritance
from England, and its home in America was in the old Central and Southern
Colonies, where the old Anglican Church had been in control. New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia were the chief
representatives, though the idea had friends among certain classes of the
population in other of the older States. The new and democratic West would
not tolerate it. The pauper-school conception was a direct inheritance
from English rule, belonged to a society based on classes, and was wholly
out of place in a Republic founded on the doctrine that "all men are
created equal, and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable
rights." Still more, it was a very dangerous conception of education for a
democratic form of government to tolerate or to foster. Its friends were
found among the old aristocratic or conservative classes, the heavy
taxpayers, the supporters of church schools, and the proprietors of
private schools. Citizens who had caught the spirit of the new Republic,
public men of large vision, intelligent workingmen, and men of the New
England type of thinking were opposed on principle to a plan which drew
such invidious distinctions between the future citizens of the State. To
educate part of the children in church or private pay schools, they said,
and to segregate those too poor to pay tuition and educate them at public
expense in pauper schools, often with the brand of pauper made very
evident to them, was certain to create classes in society which in time
would prove a serious danger to our democratic institutions.
Large numbers of those for whom the pauper schools were intended would not
brand themselves as paupers by sending their children to the schools, and
others who accepted the advantages offered, for the sake of their
children, despised the system. 
The battle for the elimination of the pauper-school idea was fought out in
the North in the States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and the struggle
in these two States we shall now briefly describe.
THE PENNSYLVANIA LEGISLATION. In Pennsylvania we find the pauper-school
idea fully developed. The constitution of 1790 (R. 259) had provided for a
state system of pauper schools, but nothing was done to carry even this
constitutional direction into effect until 1802. A pauper-school law was
then enacted, directing the overseers of the poor to notify such parents
as they deemed sufficiently indigent that, if they would declare
themselves to be paupers, their children might be sent to some specified
private or pay school and be given free education (R. 315). The expense
for this was assessed against the education poor-fund, which was levied
and collected in the same manner as were road taxes or taxes for poor
relief. No provision was made for the establishment of public schools,
even for the children of the poor, nor was any standard set for the
education to be provided in the schools to which they were sent. No other
general provision for elementary education was made in the State until
With the growth of the cities, and the rise of their special problems,
something more than this very inadequate provision for schooling became
necessary. "The Philadelphia Society for the Establishment and Support of
Charity Schools" had long been urging a better system, and in 1814 "'The
Society for the Promotion of a Rational System of Education" was organized
in Philadelphia for the purpose of educational propaganda. Bills were
prepared and pushed, and in 1818 Philadelphia was permitted, by special
law, to organize as "the first school district" in the State of
Pennsylvania, and to provide, with its own funds, a system of Lancastrian
schools for the education of the children of its poor. 
THE LAW OF 1834. In 1827 "The Pennsylvania Society for the Promotion of
Public Schools" began an educational propaganda which did much to bring
about the Free-School Act of 1834. In an "Address to the Public" it
declared its object to be the promotion of public education throughout the
State of Pennsylvania, and the "Address" closed with these words:
This Society is at present composed of about 250 members, and a
correspondence has been commenced with 125 members, who reside in every
district in the State. It is intended to direct the continued attention of
the public to the importance of the subject; to collect and diffuse all
information which may be deemed valuable; and to persevere in their labors
until they shall be crowned with success.
Memorials were presented to the legislature year after year, governors
were interested, "Addresses to the Public" were prepared, and a vigorous
propaganda was kept up until the Free-School Law of 1834 was the result.
This law, though, was optional. It created every ward, township, and
borough in the State a school district, a total of 987 being created for
the State. Each school district was ordered to vote that autumn on the
acceptance or rejection of the law. Those accepting the law were to
organize under its provisions, while those rejecting the law were to
continue under the educational provisions of the old Pauper-School Act.
[Illustration: FIG. 201. THE PENNSYLVANIA SCHOOL ELECTIONS OF 1835
Showing the percentage of school districts in each county organizing under
and accepting the School Law of 1834. Percentage of districts accepting
indicated on the map for a few of the counties.]
The results of the school elections of 1834 are shown, by counties, on the
below map. Of the total of 987 districts created, 502, in 46 of the then
52 counties (Philadelphia County not voting), or 52 per cent of the whole
number, voted to accept the new law and organize under it; 264 districts,
in 31 counties, or 27 per cent of the whole, voted definitely to reject
the law; and 221 districts, in 46 counties, or 21 per cent of the whole,
refused to take any action either way. In 3 counties, indicated on the
map, every district accepted the law, and in 5 counties, also indicated
every district rejected or refused to act on the law. It was the
predominantly German counties, located in the east-central portion of the
State, which were strongest in their opposition to the new law. One reason
for this was that the new law provided for English schools; another was
the objection of the thrifty Germans to taxation; and another was the fear
that the new state schools might injure their German parochial schools.
The real fight for free _versus_ pauper schools, though, was yet to come.
Legislators who had voted for the law were bitterly assailed, and, though
it was but an optional law, the question of its repeal and the
reinstatement of the old Pauper-School Law became the burning issue of the
campaign in the autumn of 1834. Many legislators who had favored the law
were defeated for reelection. Others, seeing defeat, refused to run.
Petitions for the repeal of the law,  and remonstrances against its
repeal, flooded the legislature when it met. The Senate at once repealed
the law, but the House, largely under the leadership of a Vermonter by the
name of Thaddeus Stevens,  refused to reconsider, and finally forced
the Senate to accept an amended and a still stronger bill. This defeat
finally settled, in principle at least, the pauper-school question in
Pennsylvania,  though it was not until 1873 that the last district in
the State accepted the new system.
ELIMINATING THE PAUPER-SCHOOL IDEA IN NEW JERSEY. No constitutional
mention of education was made in New Jersey until 1844, and no educational
legislation was passed until 1816. In that year a permanent state school
fund was begun, and in 1820 the first permission to levy taxes "for the
education of such poor children as are paupers" was granted. In 1828 an
extensive investigation showed that one third of the children of the State
were without educational opportunities, and as a result of this
investigation the first general school law for the State was enacted, in
1829. This provided for district schools, school trustees and visitation,
licensed teachers, local taxation, and made a state appropriation of
$20,000 a year to help establish the system. The next year, however, this
law was repealed and the old pauper-school plan reestablished, largely due
to the pressure of church and private-school interests. In 1830 and 1831
the state appropriation was made divisible among private and parochial
schools, as well as the public pauper schools, and the use of all public
money was limited "to the education of the children of the poor."
Between 1828 and 1838 a number of conventions of friends of free public
schools were held in the State, and much work in the nature of propaganda
was done. At a convention in 1838 a committee was appointed to prepare an
"Address to the People of New Jersey" on the educational needs of the
State (R. 320), and speakers were sent over the State to talk to the
people on the subject. The campaign against the pauper school had just
been fought to a conclusion in Pennsylvania, and the result of the appeal
in New Jersey was such a popular manifestation in favor of free schools
that the legislature of 1838 instituted a partial state school system. The
pauper-school laws were repealed, and the best features of the short-lived
Law of 1829 were reenacted. In 1844 a new state constitution limited the
income of the permanent state school fund exclusively to the support of
With the pauper-school idea eliminated from Pennsylvania and New Jersey,
the North was through with it. The wisdom of its elimination soon became
evident, and we hear little more of it among Northern people. The
democratic West never tolerated it. It continued some time longer in
Maryland, Virginia, and Georgia, and at places for a time in other
Southern States, but finally disappeared in the South as well in the
educational reorganizations which took place following the close of the
III. THE BATTLE TO MAKE THE SCHOOLS ENTIRELY FREE
THE SCHOOLS NOT YET FREE. The rate-bill, as we have previously stated, was
an old institution, also brought over from England, as the term "rate"
signifies. It was a charge levied upon the parent to supplement the school
revenues and prolong the school term, and was assessed in proportion to
the number of children sent by each parent to the school. In some States,
as for example Massachusetts and Connecticut, its use went back to
colonial times; in others it was added as the cost for education
increased, and it was seen that the income from permanent funds and
authorized taxation was not sufficient to maintain the school the
necessary length of time. The deficiency in revenue was charged against
the parents sending children to school, _pro rata_, and collected as
ordinary tax-bills (R. 321). The charge was small, but it was sufficient
to keep many poor children away from the schools.
The rising cities, with their new social problems, could not and would not
tolerate the rate-bill system, and one by one they secured special laws
from legislatures which enabled them to organize a city school system,
separate from city-council control, and under a local "board of
education." One of the provisions of these special laws nearly always was
the right to levy a city tax for schools sufficient to provide free
education for the children of the city.
[Illustration: FIG. 202. THE NEW YORK REFERENDUM OF 1850
Total vote: For free schools, 17 counties and 209,346 voters; against free
schools, 42 counties and 184,308 voters.]
THE FIGHT AGAINST THE RATE-BILL IN NEW YORK. The attempt to abolish the
rate-bill and make the schools wholly free was most vigorously contested
in New York State, and the contest there is most easily described. From
1828 to 1868, this tax on the parents produced an average annual sum of
$410,685.66, or about one half of the sum paid all the teachers of the
State for salary. While the wealthy districts were securing special
legislation and taxing themselves to provide free schools for their
children, the poorer and less populous districts were left to struggle to
maintain their schools the four months each year necessary to secure state
aid. Finally, after much agitation, and a number of appeals to the
legislature to assume the rate-bill charges in the form of general state
taxation, and thus make the schools entirely free, the legislature, in
1849, referred the matter back to the people to be voted on at the
elections that autumn. The legislature was to be thus advised by the
people as to what action it should take. The result was a state-wide
campaign for free, public, tax-supported schools, as against partially
free, rate-bill schools.
The result of the 1849 election was a vote of 249,872 in favor of making
"the property of the State educate the children of the State," and 91,952
against it. This only seemed to stir the opponents of free schools to
renewed action, and they induced the next legislature to resubmit the
question for another vote, in the autumn of 1850.
The result of the referendum of 1850 is shown on the map on page 685. The
opponents of tax-supported schools now mustered their full strength,
doubling their vote in 1849, while the majority for free schools was
materially cut down. The interesting thing shown on this map was the clear
and unmistakable voice of the cities. They would not tolerate the rate-
bill, and, despite their larger property interests, they favored tax-
supported free schools. The rural districts, on the other hand, opposed
THE RATE-BILL IN OTHER STATES. These two referenda virtually settled the
question in New York, though for a time a compromise was adopted. The
state appropriation for schools was very materially increased, the rate-
bill was retained, and the organization of "union districts" to provide
free schools by local taxation where people desired them was authorized.
Many of these "union free districts" now arose in the more progressive
communities of the State, and finally, in 1867, after rural and other
forms of opposition had largely subsided, and after almost all the older
States had abandoned the plan, the New York legislature finally abolished
the rate-bill and made the schools of New York entirely free.
The dates for the abolition of the rate-bill in the other older Northern
1834. Pennsylvania. 1867. New York.
1852. Indiana. 1868. Connecticut.
1853. Ohio. 1868. Rhode Island.
1855. Illinois. 1869. Michigan.
1864. Vermont. 1871. New Jersey.
The New York fight of 1849 and 1850 was the pivotal fight; in the other
States it was abandoned by legislative act, and without a serious contest.
In the Southern States free education came with the educational
reorganizations following the close of the Civil War.
IV. THE BATTLE TO ESTABLISH SCHOOL SUPERVISION
BEGINNINGS OF STATE CONTROL. The great battle for state schools was not
only for taxation to stimulate their development where none existed, but
was also indirectly a battle for some form of state control of the local
systems which had already grown up. The establishment of permanent state
school funds by the older States, to supplement any other aid which might
be granted, also tended toward the establishment of some form of state
supervision and control of the local school systems. The first step was
the establishment of some form of state aid; the next was the imposing of
conditions necessary to secure this state aid.
State oversight and control, however, does not exercise itself, and it
soon became evident that the States must elect or appoint some officer to
represent the State and enforce the observance of its demands. It would be
primarily his duty to see that the laws relating to schools were carried
out, that statistics as to existing conditions were collected and printed,
and that communities were properly advised as to their duties and the
legislature as to the needs of the State. We find now the creation of a
series of school officers to represent the State, the enactment of new
laws extending control, and a struggle to integrate, subordinate, and
reduce to some semblance of a state school system the hundreds of little
community school systems which had grown up.
THE FIRST STATE SCHOOL OFFICERS. The first American State to create a
state officer to exercise supervision over its schools was New York, in
1812. In enacting the new law  providing for state aid for schools the
first State Superintendent of Common Schools in the United States was
created. So far as is known this was a distinctively American creation,
uninfluenced by the practice in any other land. It was to be the duty of
this officer to look after the establishment and maintenance of the
schools throughout the State.  Maryland created the office in 1826, but
two years later abolished it and did not re-create it until 1864. Illinois
directed its Secretary of State to act, _ex officio_, as Superintendent of
Schools in 1825, as did also Vermont in 1827, Louisiana in 1833,
Pennsylvania in 1834, and Tennessee in 1835. Illinois did not create a
real State Superintendent of Schools, though, until 1854, Vermont until
1845, Louisiana until 1847, Pennsylvania until 1857, or Tennessee until
1867. The first States to create separate school officials who have been
continued to the present time were Michigan and Kentucky, both in 1837.
Often quite a legislative struggle took place to secure the establishment
of the office, and later on to prevent its abolition.
[Illustration: FIG. 203. STATUS OF SCHOOL SUPERVISION IN THE UNITED STATES
For a list of the 28 City Superintendencies established up to 1870, see
Cubberley's _Public School Administration_, p. 58. For the history of the
state educational office in each State see Cubberley and Elliott, _State
and County School Administration, Source Book_, pp. 283-87.]
By 1850 there were _ex-officio_ state school officers in nine and regular
school officers in seven of the then thirty-one States, and by 1861 there
were _ex-officio_ officers in nine and regular officers in nineteen of the
then thirty-four States, as well as one of each in two of the organized
Territories. The above map shows the growth of supervisory oversight by
1861--forty-nine years from the time the first American state school
officer was created. The map also shows the ten of the thirty-four States
which had, by 1861, also created the office of County Superintendent of
Schools, as well as the twenty-five cities which had, by 1861, created the
office of City Superintendent of Schools. Only three more cities--Albany,
Washington, and Kansas City--were added before 1870, making a total of
twenty-eight, but since that date the number of city superintendents has
increased to something like fourteen hundred to-day.
THE FIRST STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION. Another important form for state
control which was created a little later was the State Board of Education,
with an appointed Secretary, who exercised about the same functions as a
State Superintendent of Schools. This form of organization first arose in
Massachusetts, in 1837, in an effort to subordinate the district schools
and reduce them to a semblance of an organized system. In 1826 each town
(township) had been required to appoint a School Committee (School Board)
to exercise general supervision over its schools, in 1834 the state
permanent school fund was created, and in 1837 the reform movement reached
its culmination in the creation of the first real State Board of Education
in the United States. Instead of following the usual American practice of
the time, and providing for an elected State School Superintendent,
Massachusetts provided for a small appointed State Board of Education
which in turn was to select a Secretary, who was to act in the capacity of
a state school officer and report to the Board, and through it to the
legislature and the people. Neither the Board nor the Secretary were given
any powers of compulsion, their work being to investigate conditions,
report facts, expose defects, and make recommendations as to action to the
legislature. The permanence and influence of the Board thus depended very
largely on the character of the Secretary it selected.
HORACE MANN THE FIRST SECRETARY. A prominent Brown University graduate and
lawyer in the State Senate, by the name of Horace Mann (1796-1859), who as
president of the Senate had been of much assistance in securing passage of
the bill creating the State Board of Education, was finally induced by the
Governor and the Board to accept the position of Secretary. Mr. Mann now
began a most memorable work of educating public opinion, and soon became
the acknowledged leader in school organization in the United States. State
after State called upon him for advice and counsel, while his twelve
annual Reports to the State Board of Education will always remain
memorable documents. Public men of all classes--lawyers, clergymen,
college professors, literary men, teachers--were laid under tribute and
sent forth over the State explaining to the people the need for a
reawakening of educational interest in Massachusetts. Every year Mr. Mann
organized a "campaign," to explain to the people the meaning and
importance of general education. So successful was he, and so ripe was the
time for such a movement, that he not only started a great common school
revival in Massachusetts which led to the regeneration of the schools
there, but one which was felt and which influenced development in every
His twelve carefully written _Reports_ on the condition of education in
Massachusetts and elsewhere, with his intelligent discussion of the aims
and purposes of public education, occupy a commanding place in the history
of American education, while he will always be regarded as perhaps the
greatest of the "founders" of our American system of free public schools.
No one did more than he to establish in the minds of the American people
the conception that education should be universal, non-sectarian, and
free, and that its aim should be social efficiency, civic virtue, and
character, rather than mere learning or the advancement of sectarian ends.
Under his practical leadership an unorganized and heterogeneous series of
community school systems was reduced to organization and welded together
into a state school system, and the people of Massachusetts were
effectively recalled to their ancient belief in and duty toward the
education of the people.
HENRY BARNARD IN CONNECTICUT AND RHODE ISLAND. Almost equally important,
though of a somewhat different character, was the work of Henry Barnard
(1811-1900) in Connecticut and Rhode Island. A graduate of Yale, and also
educated for the law, he turned aside to teach and became deeply
interested in education. The years 1835-37 he spent in Europe studying
schools, particularly the work of Pestalozzi's disciples. On his return to
America he was elected a member of the Connecticut legislature, and at
once formulated and secured passage of the Connecticut law (1839)
providing for a State Board of Commissioners for Common Schools, with a
Secretary, after the Massachusetts plan. Mr. Barnard was then elected as
its first Secretary, and reluctantly gave up the law and accepted the
position at the munificent salary of $3 a day and expenses. Until the
legislature abolished both the Board and the position, in 1842, he
rendered for Connecticut a service scarcely less important than the
better-known reforms which Horace Mann was at that time carrying on in
[Illustration: PLATE 17. TWO LEADERS IN THE EDUCATIONAL AWAKENING IN THE
HORACE MANN (1796-1859)
(From the painting at the Westfield, Massachusetts, Normal School)
HENRY BARNARD (1811-1900)]
In 1843 he was called to Rhode Island to examine and report upon the
existing schools, and from 1845 to 1849 acted as State Commissioner of
Public Schools there, where he rendered a service similar to that
previously rendered in Connecticut. In addition he organized a series of
town libraries throughout the State. For his teachers' institutes he
devised a traveling model school, to give demonstration lessons in the art
of teaching. From 1851 to 1855 he was again in Connecticut, as principal
of the newly established state normal school and _ex-officio_ Secretary of
the Connecticut State Board of Education. He now rewrote the school laws,
increased taxation for schools, checked the power of the districts, there
known as "school societies," and laid the foundations of a state system of
schools. The work of Mann and Barnard had its influence throughout all the
Northern States, and encouraged the friends of education everywhere.
Almost contemporaneous with them were leaders in other States who helped
fight through the battles of state establishment and state organization
and control, and the period of their labors has since been termed the
period of the "great awakening."
V. THE BATTLE TO ELIMINATE SECTARIANISM
THE SECULARIZATION OF AMERICAN EDUCATION. The Church, it will be
remembered, was from the earliest colonial times in possession of the
education of the young. Not only were the earliest schools controlled by
the Church and dominated by the religious motive, but the right of the
Church to dictate the teaching in the schools was clearly recognized by
the State. Still more, the State looked to the Church to provide the
necessary education, and assisted it in doing so by donations of land and
money. The minister, as a town official, naturally examined the teachers
and the instruction in the schools. After the establishment of the
National Government this relationship for a time continued.  New York
and the New England States specifically set aside lands to help both
church and school. After about 1800 these land endowments for religion
ceased, but grants of state aid for religious schools continued for nearly
a half-century longer. Then it became common for a town or city to build a
schoolhouse from city taxation, and let it out rent-free to any
responsible person who would conduct a tuition school in it, with a few
free places for selected poor children. Still later, with the rise of the
state schools, it became quite common to take over church and private
schools and aid them on the same basis as the new state schools.
In colonial times, too, and for some decades into our national period, the
warmest advocates of the establishment of schools were those who had in
view the needs of the Church. Then gradually the emphasis shifted to the
needs of the State, and a new class of advocates of public education now
arose. Still later the emphasis has been shifted to industrial and civic
and national needs, and the religious aim has been almost completely
eliminated. This change is known as the secularization of American
education. It also required many a bitter struggle, and was accomplished
in the different States but slowly. The two great factors which served to
produce this change were:
1. The conviction that the life of the Republic demanded an educated
and intelligent citizenship, and hence the general education of all in
common schools controlled by the State; and
2. The great diversity of religious beliefs among the people, which
forced tolerance and religious freedom through a consideration of the
rights of minorities.
The secularization of education must not be regarded either as a
deliberate or a wanton violation of the rights of the Church, but rather
as an unavoidable incident connected with the coming to self-consciousness
and self-government of a great people.
THE FIGHT IN MASSACHUSETTS. The educational awakening in Massachusetts,
brought on largely by the work of Horace Mann, was to many a rude
awakening. Among other things, it revealed that the old school of the
Puritans had gradually been replaced by a new and purely American type of
school, with instruction adapted to democratic and national rather than
religious ends. Mr. Mann stood strongly for such a conception of public
education, and being a Unitarian, and the new State Board of Education
being almost entirely liberal in religion, an attack was launched against
them, and for the first time in our history the cry was raised that "The
public schools are Godless schools." Those who believed in the old system
of religious instruction, those who bore the Board or its Secretary
personal ill-will, and those who desired to break down the Board's
authority and stop the development of the public schools, united their
forces in this first big attack against secular education. Horace Mann was
the first prominent educator in America to meet and answer the religious
A violent attack was opened in both the pulpit and the press. It was
claimed that the Board was trying to eliminate the Bible from the schools,
to abolish correction, and to "make the schools a counterpoise to
religious instruction at home and in Sabbath schools." The local right to
demand religious instruction was insisted upon.
Mr. Mann felt that a great public issue had been raised which should be
answered carefully and fully. In three public statements he answered the
criticisms and pointed out the errors in the argument (R. 322). The Bible,
he said, was an invaluable book for forming the character of children, and
should be read without comment in the schools, but it was not necessary to
teach it there. He showed that most of the towns had given up the teaching
of the Catechism before the establishment of the Board of Education. He
contended that any attempt to decide what creed or doctrine should be
taught would mean the ruin of the schools. The attack culminated in the
attempts of the religious forces to abolish the State Board of Education,
in the legislatures of 1840 and 1841, which failed dismally. Most of the
orthodox people of the State took Mr. Mann's side, and Governor Briggs, in
one of his messages, commended his stand by inserting the following:
Justice to a faithful public officer leads me to say that the
indefatigable and accomplished Secretary of the Board of Education has
performed services in the cause of common schools which will earn him
the lasting gratitude of the generation to which he belongs.
THE ATTEMPT TO DIVIDE THE SCHOOL FUNDS. As was stated earlier, in the
beginning it was common to aid church schools on the same basis as the
state schools, and sometimes, in the beginnings of state aid, the money
was distributed among existing schools without at first establishing any
public schools. In many Eastern cities church schools at first shared in
the public funds. In Pennsylvania church and private schools were aided
from poor-law funds up to 1834. In New Jersey the first general school law
of 1829 had been repealed a year later through the united efforts of
church and private-school interests, who unitedly fought the development
of state schools, and in 1830 and 1831 new laws had permitted all private
and parochial schools to share in the small state appropriation for
After the beginning of the forties, when the Roman Catholic influence came
in strongly with the increase in Irish immigration to the United States, a
new factor was introduced and the problem, which had previously been a
Protestant problem, took on a somewhat different aspect in the form of a
demand for a division of the school funds. Between 1825 and 1842 the fight
was especially severe in New York City. In 1825 the City Council refused
to grant public money to any religious Society,  and in 1840 the
Catholics carried the matter to the State Legislature.
The legislature deferred action until 1842, and then did the unexpected
thing. The heated discussion of the question in the city and in the
legislature had made it evident that, while it might not be desirable to
continue to give funds to a privately organized corporation, to divide
them among the quarreling and envious religious sects would be much worse.
The result was that the legislature created for the city a City Board of
Education, to establish real public schools, and stopped the debate on the
question of aid to religious schools by enacting that no portion of the
school funds was in the future to be given to any school in which "any
religious sectarian doctrine or tenet should be taught, inculcated, or
practiced." Thus the real public-school system of New York City was
evolved out of this attempt to divide the public funds among the churches.
The Public School Society continued for a time, but its work was now done,
and, in 1853, surrendered its buildings and property to the City Board of
Education and disbanded.
THE CONTEST IN OTHER STATES. As early as 1830, Lowell, Massachusetts, had
granted aid to the Irish Catholic parochial schools in the city, and in
1835 had taken over two such schools and maintained them as public
schools. In 1853 the representatives of the Roman Catholic Church made a
demand on the state legislature for a division of the school fund of the
State. To settle the question once for all a constitutional amendment was
submitted by the legislature to the people, providing that all state and
town moneys raised or appropriated for education must be expended only on
regularly organized and conducted public schools, and that no religious
sect should ever share in such funds. This measure failed of adoption at
the election of 1853 by a vote of 65,111 for and 65,512 against, but was
re-proposed and adopted in 1855. This settled the question in
Massachusetts, as Mann had tried to settle it earlier, and as New
Hampshire had settled it in its constitution of 1792, Connecticut in its
constitution of 1818, and Rhode Island in its constitution of 1842.
Other States now faced similar demands, but no demand for a share in or a
division of the public-school funds, after 1840, was successful. The
demand everywhere met with intense opposition, and with the coming of
enormous numbers of Irish Catholics after 1846, and German Lutherans after
1848, the question of the preservation of the schools just established as
unified state school systems now became a burning one. Petitions for a
division of the funds deluged the legislatures (R. 323), and these were
met by counter-petitions (R. 324). Mass meetings on both sides of the
question were held. Candidates for office were forced to declare
themselves. Anti-Catholic riots occurred in a number of cities. The
Native-American Party was formed, in 1841, "to prevent the union of Church
and State," and to "keep the Bible in the schools." In 1841 the Whig
Party, in New York, inserted a plank in its platform against sectarian
schools. In 1855 the national council of the Know-Nothing Party, meeting
in Philadelphia, in its platform favored public schools and the use of the
Bible therein, but opposed sectarian schools. This party carried the
elections that year in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode
Island, Maryland, and Kentucky.
To settle the question in a final manner legislatures now began to propose
constitutional amendments to the people of their several States which
forbade a division or a diversion of the funds, and these were almost
uniformly adopted at the first election after being proposed. No State
admitted to the Union after 1858, except West Virginia, failed to insert
such a provision in its first state constitution. 
THE BATTLE TO ESTABLISH THE AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL
The elementary or common schools which had been established in the
different States, by 1850, supplied an elementary or common school
education to the children of the masses of the people, and the primary
schools which were added, after about 1820, carried this education
downward to the needs of the beginners. In the rural schools the American
school of the 3 Rs provided for all the children, from the little ones up,
so long as they could advantageously partake of its instruction. Education
in advance of this common school training was in semi-private
institutions--the academies and colleges--in which a tuition fee was
charged. The next struggle came in the attempt to extend the system upward
so as to provide to pupils, free of charge, a more complete education than
the common schools afforded.
[Illustration: FIG. 204. A TYPICAL NEW ENGLAND ACADEMY
Pittsfield Academy, New Hampshire.]
THE TRANSITION ACADEMY. About the middle of the eighteenth century a
tendency manifested itself, in Europe as well as in America, to establish
higher schools offering a more practical curriculum than the old Latin
schools had provided. In America it became particularly evident, after the
coming of nationality, that the old Latin grammar-school type of
instruction, with its limited curriculum and exclusively college-
preparatory ends, was wholly inadequate for the needs of the youth of the
land. The result was the gradual dying-out of the Latin school and the
evolution of the tuition Academy, previously referred to briefly on page
The academy movement spread rapidly during the first half of the
nineteenth century. By 1800 there were 17 academies in Massachusetts, 36
by 1820, and 403 by 1850. By 1830 there were, according to Hinsdale, 950
incorporated academies in the United States, and many unincorporated ones,
and by 1850, according to Inglis, there were, of all kinds, 1007 academies
in New England, 1636 in the Middle Atlantic States, 2640 in the Southern
States, 753 in the Upper Mississippi Valley States, and a total reported
for the entire United States of 6085, with 12,260 teachers employed and
263,096 pupils enrolled. 
The greatest period of their development was from 1820 to 1830, though
they continued to dominate secondary education until 1850, and were very
prominent until after the Civil War.
CHARACTERISTIC FEATURES. The most characteristic features of these
academies were their semi-public control (R. 325), their broadened
curriculum and religious purpose, and the extension of their instruction
to girls. The Latin Grammar School was essentially a town free school,
maintained by the towns for the higher education of certain of their male
children. It was aristocratic in type, and belonged to the early period of
class education. With the decline in zeal for education, after 1750, these
tax-supported higher schools largely died out, and in their place private
energy and benevolence came to be depended upon to supply the needed
One of the main purposes expressed in the endowment or creation of the
academies was the establishment of courses which should cover a number of
subjects having value aside from mere preparation for college,
particularly subjects of a modern nature, useful in preparing youths for
the changed conditions of society and government and business. The study
of real things rather than words about things, and useful things rather
than subjects merely preparatory to college, became prominent features of
the new courses of study. Among the most commonly found new subjects were
algebra, astronomy, botany, chemistry, general history, United States
history, English literature, surveying, intellectual philosophy,
declamation, and debating. 
Not being bound up with the colleges, as the earlier Latin grammar schools
had largely been, the academies became primarily independent institutions,
taking pupils who had completed the English education of the common school
and giving them an advanced education in modern languages, the sciences,
mathematics, history, and the more useful subjects of the time, with a
view to "rounding out" their studies and preparing them for business life
and the rising professions. They thus built upon instead of running
parallel to the common school course, as the old Latin grammar school had
done (see Figure 198, p. 666) and hence clearly mark a transition from the
aristocratic and somewhat exclusive college-preparatory Latin grammar
school of colonial times to the more democratic high school of to-day. The
academies also served a very useful purpose in supplying to the lower
schools the best-educated teachers of the time.
The old Latin grammar school, too, had been maintained exclusively for
boys. Girls had been excluded as "Improper & inconsistent w'th such a
Grammar Schoole as ye law injoines, and is ye Designe of this Settlem't."
The new academies soon reversed this situation. Almost from the first they
began to be established for girls as well as boys, and in time many became
co-educational. In New York State alone 32 academies were incorporated
between 1819 and 1853 with the prefix "Female" to their title. In this
respect, also, these institutions formed a transition to the modern co-
educational high school. The higher education of women in the United
States clearly dates from the establishment of the academies. Troy (New
York) Seminary, founded by Emma Willard, in 1821, and Mt. Holyoke
(Massachusetts) Seminary, founded by Mary Lyon, in 1836, though not the
first institutions for girls, were nevertheless important pioneers in the
higher education of women.
THE DEMAND FOR HIGHER SCHOOLS. The different movements tending toward the
building-up of free public-school systems in the cities and States, which
we have described in this and the preceding chapter, and which became
clearly defined in the Northern States after 1825, came just at the time
when the Academy had reached its maximum development. The settlement of
the question of general taxation for education, the elimination of the
rate-bill by the cities and later by the States, the establishment of the
American common school as the result of a long native evolution, and the
complete establishment of public control over the entire elementary-school
system, all tended to bring the semi-private tuition academy into
question. Many asked why not extend the public-school system upward to
provide the necessary higher education for all in one common state-
supported school. 
The demand for an upward extension of the public school, which would
provide academy instruction for the poor as well as the rich, and in one
common public higher school, now made itself felt. As the colonial Latin
grammar school had represented the educational needs of a society based on
classes, and the academies had represented a transition period and marked
the growth of a middle class, so the rising democracy of the second
quarter of the nineteenth century now demanded and obtained the democratic
high school, supported by the public and equally open to all, to meet the
educational needs of a new society built on the basis of a new and
aggressive democracy. Where, too, the academy had represented in a way a
missionary effort--that of a few providing something for the good of the
people (Rs. 319, 325)--the high school on the other hand represented a
cooeperative effort on the part of the people to provide something for
[Illustration: FIG. 205. THE DEVELOPMENT OF SECONDARY SCHOOLS IN THE
The transitional character of the Academy is well shown in this diagram.]
THE FIRST AMERICAN HIGH SCHOOL. The first high school in the United States
was established in Boston, in 1821 (R. 326). For three years it was known
as the "English Classical School" (R. 327), but in 1824 the school
appears in the records as the "English High School." In 1826 Boston also
opened the first high school for girls, but abolished it in 1828, due to
its great popularity, and instead extended the course of study for girls
in the elementary schools.
[Illustration: FIG. 206 THE FIRST HIGH SCHOOL IN THE UNITED STATES
Established at Boston in 1821.]
THE MASSACHUSETTS LAW OF 1827. Though Portland, Maine, established a high
school in 1821, Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1824, and New Bedford,
Haverhill, and Salem, Massachusetts, in 1827, copying the Boston idea, the
real beginning of the American high school as a distinct institution dates
from the Massachusetts Law of 1827 (R. 328), enacted through the influence
of James G. Carter. This law formed the basis of all subsequent
legislation in Massachusetts, and deeply influenced development in other
States. The law is significant in that it required a high school in every
town having 500 families or over, in which should be taught United States
history, bookkeeping, algebra, geometry, and surveying, while in every
town having 4000 inhabitants or over, instruction in Greek, Latin,
history, rhetoric, and logic must be added. A heavy penalty was attached
for failure to comply with the law. In 1835 the law was amended so as to
permit any smaller town to form a high school as well.
This Boston and Massachusetts legislation clearly initiated the public
high-school movement in the United States. It was there that the new type
of higher school was founded, there that its curriculum was outlined,
there that its standards were established, and there that it developed
earliest and best.
THE STRUGGLE TO ESTABLISH AND MAINTAIN HIGH SCHOOLS. The development of
the American high school, even in its home, was slow. Up to 1840 not much
more than a dozen high schools had been established in Massachusetts, and
not more than an equal number in the other States. The Academy was the
dominant institution, the cost of maintenance was a factor, and the same
opposition to an extension of taxation to include high schools was
manifested as was earlier shown toward the establishment of common
schools. The early state legislation, as had been the case with the common
schools, was nearly always permissive and not mandatory. Massachusetts
forms a notable exception in this regard. The support for the schools had
to come practically entirely from increased local taxation, and this made
the struggle to establish and maintain high schools in any State for a
long time a series of local struggles. Years of propaganda and patient
effort were required, and, after the establishment of a high school in a
community, constant watchfulness was necessary to prevent its abandonment
[Illustration: FIG. 207. HIGH SCHOOLS IN THE UNITED STATES BY 1860
Based on the table given in the _Report of the United States Commissioner
of Education_, 1904, vol. II, pp. 1782-1989. This table is only
approximately correct, as exact information is difficult to obtain. This
table gives 321 high schools by 1860, and all but 35 of these were in the
States shown on the above map. There were two schools in California and
three in Texas, and the remainder not shown were in the Southern States.
Of the 321 high schools reported, over half (167) were in the three States
of Massachusetts (78), New York (41), and Ohio (48).]
In many States, legislation providing for the establishment of high
schools was attacked in the courts. One of the clearest cases of this came
in Michigan, in a test case appealed from the city of Kalamazoo, and
commonly known as the Kalamazoo case. The opinion of the Supreme Court of
the State (R. 330) was so favorable and so positive that this decision
deeply influenced development in almost all of the Upper Mississippi
Valley States. The struggle to establish and maintain high schools in
Massachusetts and New York preceded the development in most other States,
because there the common school had been established earlier. In
consequence, the struggle to extend and complete the public-school system
came there earlier also. The development was likewise more peaceful there,
and came more rapidly. In Massachusetts this was in large part a result of
the educational awakening started by James G. Carter and Horace Mann. In
New York it was due to the early support of Governor De Witt Clinton, and
the later encouragement and state aid which came from the Regents of the
University of the State of New York. Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire
were like Massachusetts in spirit, and followed closely its example. In
Rhode Island and New Jersey, due to old conditions, and in Connecticut,
due to the great decline in education there after 1800, the high school
developed much more slowly, and it was not until after 1865 that any
marked development took place in these States. The democratic West soon
adopted the idea, and established high schools as soon as cities developed
and the needs of the population warranted. In the South the main high-
school development dates from relatively recent times.
Gradually the high school has been accepted as a part of the state common-
school system by all the American States, and the funds and taxation
originally provided for the common schools have been extended to cover the
high school as well. The new States of the West have based their
legislation largely on what the Eastern and Central States earlier fought
VII. THE STATE UNIVERSITY CROWNS THE SYSTEM
THE COLONIAL COLLEGES. The earlier colleges--Harvard, William and Mary,
Yale--had been created by the religious-state governments of the earlier
colonial period, and continued to retain some state connections for a time
after the coming of nationality. As it early became evident that a
democracy demands intelligence on the part of its citizens, that the
leaders of democracy are not likely to be too highly educated, and that
the character of collegiate instruction must ultimately influence national
development, efforts were accordingly made to change the old colleges or
create new ones, the final outcome of which was the creation of state
universities in all the new and in most of the older States. The evolution
of the state university, as the crowning head of the free public school
system of the State, represents the last phase which we shall trace of the
struggle of democracy to create a system of schools suited to its peculiar
The close of the colonial period found the Colonies possessed of nine
colleges. These, with the dates of their foundation, the Colony founding
them, and the religious denomination they chiefly represented were:
1636. Harvard College Massachusetts Puritan
1693. William and Mary Virginia Anglican
1701. Yale College Connecticut Congregational
1746. Princeton New Jersey Presbyterian
1753-55 Academy and College Pennsylvania Non-denominational
1754. King's College (Columbia) New York Anglican
1764. Brown Rhode Island Baptist
1765. Rutgers New Jersey Reformed Dutch
1769. Dartmouth New Hampshire Congregational
The religious purpose had been dominant in the founding of each
institution, though there was a gradual shading-off in strict
denominational control and insistence upon religious conformity in the
foundations after 1750. Still the prime purpose in the founding of each
was to train up a learned and godly body of ministers, the earlier
congregations at least "dreading to leave an illiterate ministry to the
churches when our present ministers shall lie in the dust." In a pamphlet,
published in 1754, President Clap of Yale declared that "Colleges are
_Societies of Ministers_, for training up Persons for the Work of the
_Ministry_" and that "The great design of founding this School (Yale), was
to Educate Ministers in our _own Way_." In the advertisement published in
the New York papers announcing the opening of King's College, in 1754, it
was stated that:
IV. The chief Thing that is aimed at in this College, is, to teach and
engage the Children _to know God in Jesus Christ_, and to love
and serve him in all _Sobriety, Godliness_, and _Richness of
Life_, with a perfect Heart and a Willing Mind: and to train them
up in all Virtuous Habits, and all such useful Knowledge as may render
them creditable to their Families and Friends, Ornaments to their
Country, and useful to the Public Weal in their generation.
These colonial institutions were all small. For the first fifty years of
Harvard's history the attendance at the college seldom exceeded twenty,
and the President did all the teaching. The first assistant teacher
(tutor) was not appointed until 1699, and the first professor not until
1721, when a professorship of divinity was endowed. By 1800 the
instruction was conducted by the President and three professors--divinity,
mathematics, and "Oriental languages"--assisted by a few tutors who
received only class fees, and the graduating classes seldom exceeded
forty. The course was four years in length, and all students studied the
same subjects. The first three years were given largely to the so-called
"Oriental languages" Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. In addition, Freshmen
studied arithmetic; Sophomores, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry; and
Juniors, natural (book) science; and all were given much training in
oratory, and some general history was added. The Senior year was given
mainly to ethics, philosophy, and Christian evidences.  The
instruction in the eight other older colleges, before 1800, was not
[Illustration: FIG. 208. COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES ESTABLISHED BY 1860
Compiled from data given in the _Reports of the United States Commissioner
of Education_. Of the 246 colleges shown on the map, but 17 were state
institutions, and but two or three others had any state connections.]
GROWTH OF COLLEGES BY 1860. Fifteen additional colleges were founded
before 1800, and it has been estimated that by that date the two dozen
American colleges then existing did not have all told over one hundred
professors and instructors, not less than one thousand nor more than two
thousand students, or property worth over one million dollars. Their
graduating classes were small. No one of the twenty-four admitted women
in any way to its privileges. After 1820, with the firmer establishment
of the Nation, the awakening of a new national consciousness, the
development of larger national wealth, and a court decision which
safeguarded the endowments, interest in the founding of new colleges
perceptibly quickened, as may be seen from the adjoining table, and
between 1820 and 1880 came the great period of denominational effort. The
map shows the colleges established by 1860, from which it will be seen how
large a part the denominational colleges played in the early history of
higher education in the United States. Up to about 1870 the provision of
higher education, as had been the case earlier with the provision of
secondary education by the academies, had been left largely to private
effort. There were, to be sure, a few state universities before 1870,
though usually these were not better than the denominational colleges
around them, and often they maintained a non-denominational character only
by preserving a proper balance between the different denominations in the
employment of their faculties. Speaking generally, higher education in the
United States before 1870 was provided very largely in the tuitional
colleges of the different religious denominations, rather than by the
State. Of the 246 colleges founded by the close of the year 1860, as shown
on the map, but 17 were state institutions, and but two or three others
had any state connections.
COLLEGES FOUNDED UP TO 1900
Before 1780 10
(After a table by Dexter corrected by U.S. Comr. Educ. data. Only
THE NEW NATIONAL ATTITUDE TOWARD THE COLLEGES. After the coming of
nationality there gradually grew up a widespread dissatisfaction with the
colleges as then conducted, because they were aristocratic in tendency,
because they devoted themselves so exclusively to the needs of a class,
and because they failed to answer the needs of the States in the matter of
higher education. Due to their religious origin, and the common
requirement that the president and trustees must be members of some
particular denomination, they were naturally regarded as representing the
interests of some one sect or faction within the State rather than the
interests of the State itself. With the rise of the new democratic spirit
after about 1820 there came a demand, felt least in New England and most
in the South and the new States in the West, for institutions of higher
learning which should represent the State. It was argued that colleges
were important instrumentalities for moulding the future, that the kind of
education given in them must ultimately influence the welfare of the
State, and that higher education cannot be regarded as a private matter.
The type of education given in these higher institutions, it was argued,
"will appear on the bench, at the bar, in the pulpit, and in the senate,
and will unavoidably affect our civil and religious principles." For these
reasons, as well as to crown our state school system and to provide higher
educational advantages for its leaders, it was argued that the State
should exercise control over the colleges.
This new national spirit manifested itself in a number of ways. In New
York we see it in the reorganization of King's College, the rechristening
of the institution as Columbia, and the placing of it under at least the
nominal supervision of the governing educational body of the State. In
Pennsylvania an attempt was made to bring the university into closer
connection with the State, but this failed. In New Hampshire the
legislature tried, in 1816, to transform Dartmouth College into a state
institution. This act was contested in the courts, and the case was
finally carried to the Supreme Court of the United States. There it was
decided, in 1819, that the charter of a college was a contract, the
obligation of which a legislature could not impair.
EFFECT OF THE DARTMOUTH COLLEGE DECISION. The effect of this decision
manifested itself in two different ways. On the one hand it guaranteed the
perpetuity of endowments, and the great period of private and
denominational effort (see table) now followed. On the other hand, since
the States could not change charters and transform old establishments,
they began to turn to the creation of new state universities of their own.
Virginia created its state university the same year as the Dartmouth case
decision. The University of North Carolina, which had been established in
1789, and which began to give instruction in 1795, but which had never
been under direct state control, was taken over by the State in 1821. The
University of Vermont, originally chartered in 1791, was rechartered as a
state university in 1838. The University of Indiana was established in
1820. Alabama provided for a state university in its first constitution,
in 1819, and the institution opened for instruction in 1831. Michigan, in
framing its first constitution preparatory to entering the Union, in 1835,
made careful provisions for the safeguarding of the state university and
for establishing it as an integral part of its state school system, as
Indiana had done in 1816. Wisconsin provided for the creation of a state
university in 1836, and embodied the idea in its first constitution when
it entered the Union in 1848, and Missouri provided for a state university
in 1839, Mississippi in 1844, Iowa in 1847, and Florida in 1856. The state
university is today found in every "new" State and in some of the
"original" States, and practically every new Western and Southern State
followed the patterns set by Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin and made
careful provision for the establishment and maintenance of a state
university in its first state constitution.
There was thus quietly added another new section to the American
educational ladder, and the free public-school system was extended farther
upward. Though the great period of state university foundation came after
1860, and the great period of state university expansion after 1885, the
beginnings were clearly marked early in our national history. Of the
sixteen States having state universities by 1860 (see Figure 208), all
except Florida had established them before 1850. For a long time small,
poorly supported by the States, much like the church colleges about them
in character and often inferior in quality, one by one the state
universities have freed themselves alike from denominational restrictions
on the one hand and political control on the other, and have set about
rendering the service to the State which a state university ought to
render. Michigan, the first of our state universities to free itself, take
its proper place, and set an example for others to follow, opened in 1841
with two professors and six students. In 1844 it was a little institution
of three professors, one tutor, one assistant, and one visiting lecturer,
had but fifty-three students, and offered but a single course of study,
consisting chiefly of Greek, Latin, mathematics, and intellectual and
moral science (R. 331). As late as 1852 it had but seventy-two students,
but by 1860, when it had largely freed itself from the incubus of Baptist
Latin, Congregational Greek, Methodist intellectual philosophy,
Presbyterian astronomy, and Whig mathematics, and its remarkable growth as
a state university had begun, it enrolled five hundred and nineteen.
THE AMERICAN FREE PUBLIC-SCHOOL SYSTEM NOW ESTABLISHED. By the close of
the second quarter of the nineteenth century, certainly by 1860, we find
the American public-school system fully established, in principle at
least, in all our Northern States (R. 332). Much yet remained to be done
to carry into full effect what had been established in principle, but
everywhere democracy had won its fight, and the American public school,
supported by general taxation, freed from the pauper-school taint, free
and equally open to all, under the direction of representatives of the
people, free from sectarian control, and complete from the primary school
through the high school, and in the Western States through the university
as well, was established permanently in American public policy. It was a
real democratic educational ladder that had been created, and not the
typical two-class school system of continental European States. The
establishment of the free public high school and the state university
represent the crowning achievements of those who struggled to found a
state-supported educational system fitted to the needs of great democratic
States. Probably no other influences have done more to unify the American
People, reconcile diverse points of view, eliminate state jealousies, set
ideals for the people, and train leaders for the service of the States and
of the Nation than the academies, high schools, and colleges scattered
over the land. They have educated but a small percentage of the people, to
be sure, but they have trained most of the leaders who have guided the
American democracy since its birth.
[Illustration: FIG. 209. THE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL LADDER
Compare this with the figure on page 577, and the democratic nature of the
American school system will be apparent.]
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Explain the theory of "vested rights" as applied to private and
2. Does every great advance in provisions for human welfare require a
period of education and propaganda? Illustrate.
3. Explain just what is meant by "the wealth of the State must educate the
children of the State."
4. Show how the retention of the pauper-school idea would have been
dangerous to the life of the Republic.
5. Why were the cities more anxious to escape from the operation of the
pauper-school law than were the towns and rural districts?
6. Why were the pauper-school and the rate-bill so hard to eliminate?
7. Explain why, in America, schools naturally developed from the community
8. State your explanation for the older States beginning to establish
permanent school funds, often before they had established a state system
9. Show the gradual transition from church control of education, through
state aid of church schools, to secularized state schools.
10. Show why secularized state schools were the only possible solution for
the United States.
11. Show that secularization would naturally take place in the textbooks
and the instruction, before manifesting itself in the laws.
12. Show how the American academy was a natural development in the
13. Show how the American high school was a natural development after the
14. Show why the high school could be opposed by men who had accepted tax-
supported elementary schools. Why has such reasoning been abandoned now?
15. Explain the difference, and illustrate from the history of American
educational development, between establishing a thing in principle and
carrying it into full effect.
16. Was the early argument as to the influence of higher education on the
State a true argument? Why?
17. What would have been the probable results had the Dartmouth College
case been decided the other way?
18. Show how the opening of collegiate instruction to women was a phase of
the new democratic movement.
19. Show how college education has been a unifying force in the national
In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following illustrative
selections are reproduced:
316. Mann: The Ground of the Free-School System.
317. Governor Cleveland: Repeal of the Connecticut School Law.
318. Mann: On the Repeal of the Connecticut School Law.
319. Gulliver: The Struggle for Free Schools in Norwich.
320. Address: The State and Education.
321. Michigan: A Rate-Bill, and a Warrant for Collection.
322. Mann: On Religious Instruction in the Schools.
323. Michigan: Petition for a Division of the School Fund.
324. Michigan: Counter-Petition against a Division.
325. Connecticut: Act of Incorporation of Norwich Free Academy,
326. Boston: Establishment of the First American High School.
327. Boston: The Secondary-School System in 1823.
328. Massachusetts: The High School Law of 1827.
329. Gulliver: An Example of the Opposition to High Schools.
330. Michigan: The Kalamazoo Decision.
331. Michigan: Program of Studies at University, 1843.
332. Tappan: The Michigan State System of Public Instruction.
QUESTIONS ON THE READINGS
1. Do Mann's three propositions (316) hold equally true to-day?
2. Of what type of person is the reasoning of Governor Cleveland (317)
3. Assuming Mann's description of Connecticut progress (318) to be
correct, how do you account for the legislature following Governor
Cleveland's recommendations so readily?
4. Did the leaders in Norwich (319) use good diplomacy?
5. Point out the essential soundness of the reasoning of the New Jersey
6. Explain the willingness of people seventy-five years ago to conduct the
school business on such a small basis (321) as the rate-bill indicates.
7. Show that, as Mr. Mann points out (322), sectarian schools and a State
Church are near together.
8. Point out the weakness in the argument in the Michigan petition (323).
9. State the purpose and nature of the first American high school (326),
and contrast it with the earlier academy.
10. Contrast the English Classical School (High School) of Boston of 1823,
with the older Latin School (327), as to purpose and instruction.
11. Just what did the Massachusetts Law of 1827 (328) require?
12. Has such opposition as that described in 329 completely died out even
13. State the line of reasoning and the conclusions of the Court in the
Kalamazoo Case (330). Point out how this decision might influence
14. Compare the University of Michigan of 1843 (331) with a present-day
15. Show that Michigan (332) had perfected an American educational ladder.
* Brown, E. E. _The Making of our Middle Schools_.
* Brown, S. W. _The Secularization of American Education_.
Cubberley, E. P. _Public Education in the United States_.
Dexter, E. G. _A History of Education in the United States_.
* Hinsdale, B. A. _Horace Mann, and the Common School Revival in the
* Inglis, A. J. _The Rise of the High School in Massachusetts_.
Martin, George H. _The Evolution of the Massachusetts Public School
* Mead, A. R. _The Development of Free Schools in the United States, as
Illustrated by Connecticut and Michigan_.
Taylor, James M. _Before Vassar Opened_.
* Thwing, Charles F. _A History of Higher Education in America_.
EDUCATION BECOMES A NATIONAL TOOL
I. SPREAD OF THE STATE-CONTROL IDEA
THE FIVE TYPE NATIONS. We have now traced, in some detail, the struggles
of forward-looking men to establish national systems of education in five
great world nations. In each we have described the steps by means of which
the State gradually superseded the Church in the control of education, and
the motives and impulses which finally led the State to take over the
school as a function of the State. The steps and impelling motives and
rate of transfer were not the same in any two nations, but in each of the
five the political necessities of the State in time made the transfer seem
desirable. Time everywhere was required to effect the change. The movement
began earliest and was concluded earliest in the German States, and was
concluded last in England. In the German States, France, and Italy the
change came rapidly and as a result of legislative acts or imperial
decrees. In England and the United States the transfer took place, as we
have seen, only in response to the slow development of public opinion.
This change in control and extension of educational advantages was
essentially a nineteenth-century movement, and a resultant of the new
political philosophy and the democratic revolutions of the later
eighteenth century, combined with the industrial revolution of the
nineteenth century. A new political impulse now replaced the earlier
religious motive as the incentive for education, and education for
literacy and citizenship became, during the nineteenth century, a new
political ideal that has, in time, spread to progressive nations all over
The five great nations whose educational evolution has been described in
the preceding chapters may be regarded as having formed types which have
since been copied, in more or less detail, by the more progressive nations