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That the French Revolution’s merit and service was a real one is shown by all the world, as it improves, getting rid more and more of the Middle Ages. That Napoleon’s merit and service was a real one is shown by the bad governments which succeeded him having always got rid, when they could, of his work, and by the progress of improvement, when these governments became intolerable, and are themselves got rid of, always bringing it back. Where governments were not wholly bad, and did not get rid of Napoleon’s good work, this work turns out to have the future on its side, and to be more likely to assimilate the institutions round it to its pattern than to be itself assimilated by them.

In the Italian States, the Netherlands, some of the French cantons of Switzerland, the Rhine countries, and the Danish peninsula, in particular, the rule of Napoleon, imposed by his armies, carried out by rulers of his selection, and maintained for a long enough period that the legal organization, civil order, unified government, and taste of educational opportunities of a new type which his rule brought became attractive to the people, in time proved deeply influential in their political development. [17] All these nations still show traces of the French influence in their state educational organization. We shall take the Italian States as a type, and examine briefly the influence on the development of state educational organization there which resulted from contact with the forward-looking rule of “The Great Emperor.”

DECLINE IN IMPORTANCE OF EDUCATION IN ITALY. In a preceding chapter (p. 503), we mentioned that the rule of Napoleon in northern Italy awakened the national spirit from its long lethargy, and caused Italian liberals to look forward, for the first time since the days of the Revival of Learning, to the time when the Italian States might be united into one Italian nation, with Rome as its capital. This became the work of the mid- nineteenth century (see dates, Fig. 179), though not fully completed until the World War of 1914-18. Italy stands to-day a great united nation, with a large future ahead of it, but as such it is entirely a nineteenth- century creation. From the time of its intellectual decline following the Renaissance, to the middle of the nineteenth century, Italy remained “a geographical expression” and split up into a number of little independent States; up to the time of Napoleon it was a part of the German-ruled “Holy Roman Empire.”

After the great patriotic effort of the period of the Revival of Learning (p. 264) in Italy, and the rather feeble and unsuccessful attempts at a reform of religion which followed, the intellectual development of Italy was checked and turned aside for centuries by the triumph of an unprogressive and anti-intellectual attitude on the part of the dominant Church. The persecution of Galileo (p. 388) was but a phase of the reaction in religion which had by that time set in. Education was turned over to the religious orders, such as the Jesuits and the Barnabites, and instruction was turned aside from liberal culture and the promotion of learning to the support of a religion and the stamping out of heresy. Though a number of educational foundations were made, and some important undertakings begun after the days when her universities were crowded and Florence and Venice vied with one another for the intellectual supremacy of the western world, the spirit nevertheless was gone, and both education and government settled down to a tenacious preservation of the existing order. Scholars ceased to frequent the schools of Italy; the universities changed from seats of learning to degree-conferring institutions; [18] the intellectual capitals came to be found north of the Alps; and the history of educational progress ceased to be traced in this ancient land. In the early part of the eighteenth century the schools there reached perhaps their lowest intellectual level.

THE BEGINNINGS OF REFORM IN SAVOY. The first and almost the only attempt to change this condition, before Napoleon’s armies went crashing through the valley of the Po, was made in the seventeenth century by two Dukes of Savoy. By decrees of 1729 and 1772 they took the control of the secondary (Latin) schools in their little duchy from the religious orders, and established a Council of Public Instruction to reform the university examinations, see that teachers were prepared for the Latin schools, and take over in the name of the authorities of the duchy the control of education. Though inspired by a political interest, the two dukes brought into their little kingdom the much-needed ideas of honest work, effective administration, and public spirit, and laid the foundations for the control of education by the public authorities later on. The only other attempt to improve conditions came in Lombardy, in 1774, which then was a part of the Austrian dominions and felt the short-lived reforms of Maria Theresa (p. 562; R. 276). Elsewhere in Italy conditions remained unchanged until the time of Napoleon.

NAPOLEON REVIVES THE NATIONAL SPIRIT. In 1796 Napoleon’s armies invaded Sardinia, Lombardy, and the valley of the Po, and he soon extended his control to almost all the Italian peninsula. For nearly two decades thereafter this collection of little States felt the unifying, regenerating influence of the organizing French. Monasteries and convents and religious schools were transformed into modern teaching institutions, brigandage was put down, and efficient and honest government was established. The ideas of the French Law of 1802 as to education were applied. Every town was ordered to establish a school for boys, to teach the reading and writing of Italian and the elements of French and Latin; the secondary schools were modernized; and the universities were completely reorganized. Some of the universities were reduced to _licei_ (_lycees_; secondary schools), while others were strengthened and their revenues turned to better purposes. The universities at Naples and Turin in particular were transformed into strong institutions, with a decided emphasis on scientific studies. A normal school was founded at Pisa, on the model of the one at Paris. New standards in education were set up, the study of the sciences was introduced into the secondary schools, and the study of medicine and law was regenerated.

With the fall of Napoleon his work was largely undone. The firm, just, and intelligent government which he had given Italy–something the land had not known for ages–came to an end. The little States were “handed back to the reactionary dynasts whose rule was neither benevolent nor intelligent, while the ever-ready Austrian army crushed out any local movement for liberal institutions.” The laws regarding education were repealed, and the schools the French had established were closed as revolutionary and dangerous. The normal school at Pisa ceased to exist; the university at Naples was dismantled; the one at Turin was closed; and the Jesuits were allowed to return and reorganize instruction. The result was that a common discontent with ensuing conditions made Italians conscious of their racial and historical unity, and this finally expressed itself in the revolutions of 1848. These failed at the time, and the heel of the Austrian oppressor came down harder than before. Liberty of the press practically ceased. The national leaders went into exile for safety. The prisons were filled with political offenders. The schools were closed or ceased to influence. The Pope, fearing the end of his earthly kingship approaching, united firmly with the Austrians to resist liberal movements. Finally, under the leadership of the enlightened King of Sardinia, Victor Emmanuel (1849-78) and his Prime Minister, Count of Cavour, the Austrians were driven out (1859-66) and all Italy was united (1870) under the rule of one king interested in promoting the welfare of his people.

[Illustration: FIG. 179. THE UNIFICATION OF ITALY, SINCE 1848]

SARDINIA LEADS TO NATIONAL ORGANIZATION AND CONTROL. The movement to free Italy was essentially a liberal movement. Many hoped to create a republic, but chose a liberal constitutional monarchy under Victor Emmanuel as the most feasible plan. Cavour understood the importance of public instruction, and from the first began to build up schools [19] and put them under state control. In 1844, a normal school was opened in Turin. In 1847, a Minister of Public Instruction was appointed and a Council of Public Instruction created, after the plan of France, In 1848, a General School Law was enacted, and the organization and improvement of schools was begun with a will. In 1850, a commission was sent to study the school systems of Europe, and in particular those of France and of the German States. A Supreme Council of Public Instruction was now formed for Sardinia, and the process of creating primary schools, higher-primary schools, classical and technical secondary schools, colleges, and the reorganization of the universities was begun. In 1859, when the growth of Italian unity was rapidly extending the rule of Victor Emmanuel, [20] a new law, providing a still better state organization of public instruction, was enacted. A Minister of Public Instruction appointed by the King, a Supreme Council of Public Instruction, and a Department of Public Instruction as a branch of the government, were all provided for, after the French plan.

[Illustration: FIG. 180 COUNT OF CAVOUR (1810-61)]

This Law of 1859 was later extended to cover all Italy, and has formed the basis for all subsequent legislation. It clearly established a state system of education, though the religious schools were allowed to remain. It also established control after the French plan, with a high degree of centralization and uniformity. The schools established, too, were much after the French type, though much less extensive in scope. The primary and superior primary at first were but two years each, though since extended in all the larger communities to a six-year combined course. The two-class school system was established, as in France and German lands. The secondary-school system consisted of a five-year _ginnasio_, established in many places (218 in Italy by 1865; 458 by 1916) with a three-year _liceo_ following, but found in a smaller number of places. Parallel with this a seven-year non-classical scientific and technical secondary school was also created, and these institutions have made marked headway (461 by 1916) in central and northern Italy. Pupils may pass to either of these on the completion of the ordinary four-year primary course, at the age of ten. Above the secondary schools are numerous universities. The normal-school system created prepared for teaching in the primary schools, while the university system followed the completion of the _liceo_ course. [Illustration: FIG. 181. OUTLINE OF THE MAIN FEATURES OF THE ITALIAN STATE SCHOOL SYSTEM]

The influence of French ideas in Italian educational organization is clearly evident. Before the French armies brought French governmental ideas and organization to Italy almost nothing had been done. Then, during the first six decades of the nineteenth century, the transition from the church-school idea to the conception of education as an important function of the State was made, and the resulting system is largely French in organization and form.

SUBSEQUENT PROGRESS. From this point on educational progress has been chiefly a problem of increased finances and the slow but gradual extension of educational opportunities to more and more of the children of the people. The church schools have been allowed to continue side by side with the state schools, and the problem of securing satisfactory working relations has not always been easy of solution.

In 1877 primary education was ordered made compulsory, [21] and religious instruction was dropped from the state schools, but the slow progress of the nation in extending literacy indicates that but little had been accomplished in enforcing the compulsion previous to the new compulsory law of 1904. This made more stringent provisions regarding schooling, and provided for three thousand evening and Sunday schools for illiterate adults. In 1906, an earnest effort was begun to extend educational advantages in the southern provinces, where illiteracy has always been highest. In 1911, the state aid for elementary education was materially increased. In 1912, a new and more modern plan of studies for the secondary schools was promulgated. Since 1912 many important advances have been inaugurated, such as elementary schools of agriculture, vocational schools, continuation schools, the middle-class industrial and commercial schools. The World War directed new attention to the educational needs of the nation. Italy, at last thoroughly awakened, seems destined to be a great world power politically and commercially, and we may look forward to seeing education used by the Italian State as a great constructive force for the advancement of its national interests.


1. Show how the Revolution marked out the lines of future educational evolution for France.

2. Explain why France and Italy evolved a school system so much more centralized than did other European nations.

3. Explain Napoleon’s lack of interest in primary education, in view of the needs of France in his day.

4. Show that Napoleon was right, time and circumstances considered, in placing the state emphasis on the types of education he favored.

5. Explain why middle-class education should have received such special attention in Cousin’s Report, and in the Law of 1833.

6. Was the course of instruction provided for the primary schools in 1833, times and needs considered, a liberal one, or otherwise? Why?

7. Compare the 1833 and the 1850 courses.

8. Explain why all forms of education in France should have experienced such a marked expansion and development after 1875.

9. Explain why great military disasters, for the past 150 years, have nearly always resulted in national educational reorganization.

10. Appraise the work and the permanent influence of Napoleon.

11. Explain Napoleon’s interest in establishing schools and universities, when the Austrian and Church authorities were so interested in abolishing what he had created.

12. What did the dropping of religious instruction from the primary schools of both France and Italy, both strong Catholic countries, indicate as to national development?


In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following selections are reproduced:

282. Le Brun: Founding of the School of Arts and Trades. 283. Jourdain: Refounding of the Superior Normal School. 284. Cousin: Recommendations for Education in France. 285. Guizot: Address on the Law of 1833. 286. Guizot: Principles underlying the Law of 1833. 287. Guizot: Letter to the Primary Teachers of France. 288. Arnold: Guizot’s Work as Minister of Public Instruction. 289. Quinet: A Lay School for a Lay Society. 290. Ferry: Moral and Civic Instruction replaces the Religious.


1. Just what attitude toward education did the action of Napoleon in changing the character of the school at Compiegne (282) express?

2. What type of school (283) was the re-created Superior Normal?

3. Just what did Victor Cousin recommend (284) as to (_a_) schools to be created; (_b_) control and administration; (_c_) compulsory attendance; (_d_) schools for the middle classes; and (_e_) education and control of teachers?

4. Was Guizot’s Law of 1833 (285) in harmony with the recommendations of Cousin (284)?

5. Why have public opinion and legislative action, in France and elsewhere, so completely reversed the positions taken by Guizot and his advisers (286) in framing the Law of 1833? 6. From Guizot’s letter to the teachers of France (287), and Arnold’s description of his work (288), just what do you infer to have been the nature of his interest in advancing primary education in France?

7. Contrast the reasoning of Guizot (286) and Quinet (289) on lay instruction. Of the reasoning of the two men, which is now accepted in France and the United States?

8. Contrast the letters of Guizot (287) and Ferry (290) to the primary teachers of France.


Arnold, Matthew. _Popular Education in France_. * Arnold, Matthew. _Schools and Universities on the Continent_. * Barnard, Henry. _National Education in Europe_. Barnard, Henry. _American Journal of Education_, vol. XX. Compayre, G. _History of Pedagogy_, chapter XXI. * Farrington, Fr. E. _The Public Primary School System of France_. * Farrington, Fr. E. _French Secondary Schools_. Guizot, F. P. G. _Memoires_, Extracts from, covering work as Minister of Public Instruction, 1832-37, in Barnard’s _American Journal of Education_, vol. XI, pp. 254-81, 357-99.




ENGLISH PROGRESS A SLOW BUT PEACEFUL EVOLUTION. The beginnings of national educational organization in England were neither so simple nor so easy as in the other lands we have described. So far this was in part due to the long-established idea, on the part of the small ruling class, that education was no business of the State; in part to the deeply ingrained conception as to the religious purpose of all instruction; in part to the fact that the controlling upper classes had for long been in possession of an educational system which rendered satisfactory service in preparing leaders for both Church and State; and in part–probably in large part–to the fact that national evolution in England, since the time of the Civil War (1642-49) has been a slow and peaceful growth, though accompanied by much hard thinking and vigorous parliamentary fighting. Since the Reformation (1534-39) and the Puritan uprising led by Cromwell (1642-49), no civil strife has convulsed the land, destroyed old institutions, and forced rapid changes in old established practices. Neither has the country been in danger from foreign invasion since that memorable week in July, 1588, when Drake destroyed the Spanish Armada and made the future of England as a world power secure.

English educational evolution has in consequence been slow, and changes and progress have come only in response to much pressure, and usually as a reluctant concession to avoid more serious trouble. A strong English characteristic has been the ability to argue rather than fight out questions of national policy; to exhibit marked tolerance of the opinions of others during the discussion; and finally to recognize enough of the proponents’ point of view to be willing to make concessions sufficient to arrive at an agreement. This has resulted in a slow but a peaceful evolution, and this slow and peaceful evolution has for long been the dominant characteristic of the political, social, and educational progress of the English people. The whole history of the two centuries of evolution toward a national system of education is a splendid illustration of this essentially English characteristic.

EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY EDUCATIONAL EFFORTS. England, it will be remembered (chapter XIX, Section III), had early made marked progress in both political and religious liberty. Ahead of any other people we find there the beginnings of democratic liberty, popular enlightenment, freedom of the press, religious toleration, [1] social reform, and scientific and industrial progress. All these influences awakened in England, earlier than in any other European nation, a rather general desire to be able to read (R. 170), and by the opening of the eighteenth century we find the beginnings of a charitable and philanthropic movement on the part of the churches and the upper classes to extend a knowledge of the elements of learning to the poorer classes of the population.

As a result, as we have seen (chapter XVIII), the eighteenth century in England, educationally, was characterized by a new attitude toward the educational problem and a marked extension of educational opportunity. Even before the beginning of the century the courts had taken a new attitude toward church control of teaching, [2] and in 1700 had freed the teacher of the elementary school from control by the bishops through license. [3] In 1714 an Act of Parliament (13 Anne, c. 7) exempted elementary schools from the penalties of conformity legislation, and they were thereafter free to multiply and their teachers to teach. [4] The dame school (R. 235) now became an established English institution (p. 447). Private-adventure schools of a number of types arose (p. 451). The churches here and there began to provide elementary parish-schools for the children of their poorer members (p. 449), or training-schools for other children who were to go out to service (R. 241). Workhouse schools and “schools of industry” also were used to provide for orphans and the children of paupers (p. 453).

THE CHARITY-SCHOOL SYSTEM. Most important of all was the organization, by groups of individuals (R. 237) and by Societies (S.P.C.K.; p. 449) formed for the purpose, and maintained by subscription (R. 240), collections (R. 291), and foundation incomes, of an extensive and well-organized system of Charity-Schools (p. 449). The “Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge” dates from the year 1699, and the “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts” from 1701. The first worked at home, and the second in the overseas colonies. [5] Both did much to provide schools for poor boys and girls, furnishing them with clothing and instruction (R. 292), and training them in reading, writing, spelling, counting, cleanliness, proper behavior, sewing and knitting (girls), and in “the Rules and Principles of the Christian Religion as professed and taught in the Church of England” (R. 238 b). The Charity-School idea was in a sense an application of the joint-stock-company principle to the organization and maintenance of an extensive system of schools for the education of the children of the poor, the stock being subscribed for by humanitarian- minded people. The upper classes had for long been well provided, through tutors in the home and grammar schools and colleges, with those means for education which have for centuries produced an able succession of gentlemen, statesmen, governors, and scholars for England, and many of the commercial middle-class had, by the eighteenth century, become able to purchase similar advantages for their sons. These now united to provide, as part of a great organized charity and under carefully selected teachers (R. 238 a), for the more promising children of their poorer neighbors, the elements of that education which they themselves had enjoyed.

The movement spread rapidly over England (p. 451), and soon developed into a great national effort to raise the level of intelligence of the masses of the English people. Thousands of persons gave their services as directors, organizers, and teachers. Traveling superintendents were employed. A rudimentary form of teacher-training was begun. The preaching of a Charity Sermon each year [6] with a special collection, became a general English practice.

THE VOLUNTARY SYSTEM. The rise of the Methodist movement, [7] after 1730 (p. 489); the earthquake shocks of 1750; the rise of the popular novel and newspaper; the printing of political news, and cheap scientific pamphlets (p. 492); and the growing tendency to debate questions and to apply reason to their solution–all tended to give emphasis in England to these eighteenth-century charitable means for extending education to the children of those who could not afford to pay for it. Unlike the German States, where the State and the Church and the school had all worked together from the days of the Reformation on, the English had never known such a conception. The efforts, though, of the educated few, in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, to extend the elements of learning, order, piety, cleanliness, and proper behavior to the children of the masses, formed an important substitute for the action by the Church-State which was so characteristic a feature of Teutonic lands.

We see in these eighteenth-century efforts the origin of what became known in England as “the voluntary system” and upon this voluntary support of education–private, parochial, charitable–the English people for long relied. Of action by the State there was none during the eighteenth century, aside from an Act of 1767 (7 Geo. III, c. 39) relating to the education of pauper children. This established the important principle– unfortunately not followed up–of providing that poor parish children of London might be maintained and educated “at the cost of the rates.”

THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL MOVEMENT. One other voluntary eighteenth-century movement of importance in the history of English educational development should be mentioned here, as it formed the connecting link between the parochial-charity-school movement of the eighteenth century and the philanthropic period of the educational reformers of the early nineteenth. This was the Sunday-School movement, first tried by John Wesley in Savannah, in 1737, but not introduced into England until 1763. The idea amounted to little, though, until practically worked out anew (1780) by Robert Raikes, a printer of Gloucester, and described by him (1783) in his _Gloucester Journal_ (R. 293), after he had experimented with it for three years. [8] His printed description of the Sunday-School idea gave a national impulse to the movement, and Sunday Schools were soon established all over England to take children off the streets on Sunday and provide them with some form of secular and religious instruction. [9]

The movement coincided with new religious, social, and economic forces which were at work, and which awakened an interest not only in the education of the children of the poorer working-classes, but caused the upper and middle classes in society to feel a new sense of responsibility for social and educational reform. The cold and unemotional religion of the English Church in the early eighteenth century had created an indifference to the simple truths and duties of the Gospels. The great religious revival under Wesley and Whitefield had challenged such an attitude, and had done much to infuse a new spirit into religion and awaken a new sense of responsibility for social welfare. The rapid growth of population in the towns, following the beginnings of factory life (p. 493), had created new social and economic problems, and the neglect of children in the manufacturing towns had shocked many thinking persons. The way in which parents and children, freed from hard labor in the factories on Sundays, abandoned themselves to vice, drunkenness, and profanity caused many, among them Raikes himself (R. 293), to inquire if “something could not be done” to turn into respectable men and women “the little heathen of the neighborhood.” The Sunday School was his answer, and the answer of many all over England. [10]

In 1785 “The Society for the Support and Encouragement of Sunday Schools in the different Counties of England” was formed with a view to establishing a Sunday School in every parish in the kingdom, and the Queen headed a subscription list, following a general appeal for funds. By 1787 it was estimated that 234,000 children in England and Wales were attending a Sunday School, and by 1792 the number had increased to half a million. The Parliamentary return for 1818 showed 5463 Sunday Schools in existence, and 477,225 scholars; in 1835 the returns showed 1,548,890 scholars, half of whom attended no other school, and approximately 160,000 voluntary teachers. [11] In Manchester, then a city scourged with almost universal child-labor, the schools (1834) were in session five and a half hours on Sunday and two evenings a week. The moral and religious influence of these schools was important, and the instruction in reading and writing, meager as it was, filled a real need of the time.

OTHER VOLUNTARY SCHOOLS; “RAGGED SCHOOLS.” The Charity Schools and the Sunday Schools were the two most conspicuous of the voluntary-organization type of undertakings for providing the poor children of England with the elements of secular and religious education. Many other organizations of an educational and charitable nature, aided also by many individual efforts, too numerous to mention, were formed with the same charitable and humanitarian end in view. Others, similar in type, charged a small fee, and hence were of the private-adventure type. Sunday Schools, day schools, evening schools, children’s churches, bands of hope, clothing clubs, messenger brigades, shoeblack brigades, orphans’ schools, reformatory schools, industrial schools, ragged schools–these were some of the types that arose. Only one of these–“Ragged Schools”–will be described.

[Illustration: FIG. 182. A RAGGED SCHOOL PUPIL (From a photograph of a boy on entering the school; later changed into a respectable tradesman. From Guthrie)]


[Illustration: PLATE 16. AN ENGLISH VILLAGE VOLUNTARY SCHOOL (Reproduced from an early nineteenth-century engraving, through the courtesy of William G. Bruce)]

The originator of the “Ragged Schools”–schools for the education of destitute children, waifs and strays not reached by other agencies–was a large-hearted cobbler of Portsmouth, by the name of John Pounds (1766- 1839), who divided his time between cobbling and rescue work among the poorest and most degraded children of his neighborhood. His school is shown in the picture facing this page. (Plate 15.) In his shoeshop he taught such children, free of charge, to read, write, count, cook their food, and mend their shoes. He was a schoolmaster, doctor, nurse, and playfellow to them all in one. His workshop was a room of only six by eighteen feet, yet in it he often had forty children under his instruction. His work set an example, and “Ragged Schools,” or “Schools for the Destitute,” began to be formed in many places by humanitarians. These took the form of day schools, night schools, Sunday Schools, and the so-called industrial schools (R. 294). The instruction in most of them was entirely free, [12] but some charged a small fee, in a few cases as high as a shilling a month. It was one of these schools that Crabbe described when he wrote: [13]

Poor Reuben Dixon has the noisiest school Of ragged lads, who ever bowed to rule; Low in his price–the men who heave our coals, And clean our causeways, send him boys in shoals. To see poor Reuben, with his fry beside- Their half-check’d rudeness and his half-scorned pride- Their room, the sty in which th’ assembly meet, In the close lane behind the Northgate street; T’ observe his vain attempts to keep the peace, Till tolls the bell, and strife and trouble cease, Calls for our praise; his labours praise deserves, But not our pity; Reuben has no nerves. ‘Mid noise and dirt, and stench, and play, and prate, He calmly cuts the pen or views the slate.

In 1844 “The Ragged School Union” was formed in London, and maintained there many of the types of schools mentioned above. The “Constitution and Rules of the Association for the Establishment of Ragged Industrial Schools for Destitute Children in Edinburgh” (R. 294) gives a good idea as to the nature, support, and instruction in such schools. As late as 1870, when national education was first begun in England, there were about two hundred of these Ragged Schools in London alone, with about 23,000 children in them. Upon many such forms of irregular schools England depended before the days of national organization.

OTHER EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY INFLUENCES. During the latter half of the eighteenth century French Revolutionary thought [14] and American political action began to exert some influence on public opinion in England. The small upper ruling class, alarmed at the developments in France, became confirmed in its opposition to any general popular education aside from a little reading, writing, counting, and careful religious training, while on the other hand men of more liberal outlook felt that popular enlightenment was a necessity to prevent the masses from becoming stirred by inflammatory writings and speeches. The increasing distress in the agricultural regions, due to the rapid change of England from an agricultural to a manufacturing nation; the crowding of great numbers of working people into the manufacturing towns; and the social misery and political unrest following the Napoleonic wars all alike contributed to a feeling of need for any form of philanthropic effort that gave promise of alleviating the ills of society. There now grew up a small but influential body of thinkers who favored the maintenance of a system of general and compulsory education by the State, and the separation of the school from the Church. The most notable proponents of this new theory were Adam Smith, the Reverend T. R. Malthus, and the Anglo-American Thomas Paine. The first approached the question from an economic point of view, the second from an economic and biologic, and the third from the political. In 1776 Adam Smith’s _Wealth of Nations_ appeared. This was one of the great books of all time. Among other matters he dealt with the question of education. He pointed out that English society was now becoming highly organized; that the new manufacturing life had completely changed the simple conditions of an earlier agricultural society; that in the narrow round of manufacturing duties and town life people tended to lose their inventiveness and to stagnate; and that the individual degeneracy which set in in a more highly organized type of society became a social danger of large magnitude. Hence, he argued (R. 295), it was a matter of state interest that “the inferior ranks of the people” be instructed to make them socially useful and to render them “less apt to be misled into any wanton or unnecessary opposition to measures of government.” Accordingly, he held, the State had every right, not only to take over elementary education as a state function and a public charge, but also to make it free and compulsory.

[Illustration: FIG. 183. ADAM SMITH (1723-90)]

In 1798 the Reverend T. R. Malthus’s _Essay on Population_ appeared. This was a precursor of the work of Darwin, and another of the great books of all time. He pointed out that population everywhere tended to outrun the means of subsistence, and that it was only prevented from doing so by preventive checks which involved much misery and vice and pauperism. To prevent pauperism each individual must exercise moral restraint and foresight, and to enable all to do this a widespread system of public instruction was a necessity (R. 296). The money England had spent in poor- relief he regarded as largely wasted, because it afforded no cure. In the general education of a people the real solution lay. He said:

We have lavished immense sums on the poor, which we have every reason to think have constantly tended to aggravate their misery,… It is surely a great national disgrace that the education of the lowest classes in England should be left to a few Sunday Schools, supported by a subscription from individuals, who can give to the course of instruction in them any kind of bias which they may please. (R 296.)

[Illustration: FIG. 184 REV. T. R. MALTHUS (1766-1834)]

Agreeing thoroughly with Adam Smith that a general diffusion of knowledge was a safeguard to society, he urged the teaching of the elements of political economy in the common schools to enable people to live better in the new type of competitive society. [15]

In 1791-92 Thomas Paine published his widely read _Rights of Man_. He expressed the French Revolutionary political theory, holding that government, while capable of great good were its powers only properly exercised, was, as organized, an evil. In a well-governed nation none would be permitted to go uninstructed, he held, and he would cut off poor- relief and make a state grant of L4 a year for every child under fourteen for its education, and would compel parents to send all children to school to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic.

Each of these three books had a long and a slowly cumulative influence, and a small number of young and powerful champions of the idea of popular education as a public charge began, early in the nineteenth century, to urge action and to influence public opinion.


CONDITIONS AT THE BEGINNING OF THE NINETEENTH CENTURY. This second period in the history of the organization of English education begins with the publication, in 1797, of Dr. Andrew Bell’s _An Experiment in Education_, describing his work in educating large numbers of children by means of the so-called mutual system, at the Male Asylum at Madras, India. The period properly ends with the first Parliamentary grant for education, in 1833. In its main characteristics it belongs to the eighteenth rather than to the nineteenth century, as the prominent educational movements of the eighteenth (charity-schools, Sunday Schools, schools of industry) continue strong throughout the period, and many new undertakings of a similar charitable nature (“Ragged Schools”; associations for the improvement of the condition of the poor, etc.) were begun.

The period–during and after the Napoleonic wars–was one of marked social and political unrest, and of corresponding emphasis on social and philanthropic service. The masses were discontented with their lot, and were beginning to be with their lack of political privileges. Numerous plans to quiet the unrest and improve conditions were proposed, of which schemes to increase employment (industrial schools; evening schools), to encourage thrift (savings banks; children’s brigades), and to spread an elementary and religious education (mutual schools; infant schools) that would train the poor in self-help were the most prominent. “The Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor.” founded in 1796, became a very important early-nineteenth-century institution. Branches were established all over England. Soup-kitchens, clothing-stations, savings banks, and schools were among the chief lines of activity. In particular it extended and improved Sunday Schools, encouraged the formation of charity-schools and schools of industry, and later gave much aid in establishing the new monitorial schools. Educational interest steadily strengthened during the period, though as yet along lines that were deemed relatively harmless, were inexpensive, and were largely religious in character.

The eighteenth-century conception of education as a charity, designed where given to train the poor to “an honest, upright, grateful, and industrious poverty,” still prevailed; there was as yet little thought of education as designed to train the poor to think for and help themselves. The eighteenth-century conception of the educational process, too, which regarded education as something external and determined by adult standards and needs, and to be imposed on the child from without, also continued. The purpose of the school was to manufacture the standard man, and the business of the teacher was to so organize and methodize instruction that the necessary knowledge could be acquired as economically, from a financial point of view, as possible. The Pestalozzian conception of education as a development of the individual, according to the law of his own nature, found but slow acceptance in England. Mental development, scientific instruction, the habit of thinking, the exercise of judgment, and free and enlightened opinion were ideas that found little favor there, and hence had to be handled carefully by those who had caught the new conception of the educational process.

In the political reaction following the end of Napoleon’s rule the upper and ruling classes of England, in common with those of continental lands, became exceedingly suspicious of much education for the masses. To secure contributions for schools it became necessary “to avow and plead how little it was that the schools pretended or presumed to teach.” [16] England now experienced a great development of manufacturing and commerce, a great material prosperity ensued, and the growing demand for education was met by a counter-demand that the education provided should be systematized, economical, and should not teach too much. Such a system of training was now discovered and applied, in the form of mutual or monitorial instruction, and was hailed as “a new expedient, parallel and rival to the modern inventions in the mechanical departments.”


ORIGIN OF MUTUAL OR MONITORIAL INSTRUCTION. In 1797 Dr. Andrew Bell, a clergyman in the Established Church, published the results of his experiment in the use of monitors in India. [17] The idea attracted attention, and the plan was successfully introduced into a number of charity-schools. About the same time (1798) a young Quaker schoolmaster, Joseph Lancaster by name, was led independently to a similar discovery of the advantages of using monitors, by reason of his needing assistance in his school and being too poor to pay for additional teachers. In 1803 he published an account of his plan. [18] The two plans were quite similar, attracted attention from the first, and schools formed after one or the other of the plans were soon organized all over England.

Increased attention was attracted to the new plans by a bitter church quarrel which broke out as to who was the real originator of the idea, [19] Bell being upheld by Church-of-England supporters, and Lancaster by the Dissenters. In 1808 “The Royal Lancastrian Institution” was formed, which in 1814 became “The British and Foreign School Society,” to promote Lancastrian schools. This society had the close support of King George III, the Whigs, and the _Edinburgh Review_, while such liberals as Brougham, Whitbread, and James Mill were on its board of directors. This Society sent out Lancaster to expound his “truly British” system, and by 1810 as many as ninety-five Lancastrian schools had been established in England. His model school in Borough Road, Southwark, which became a training-school for teachers, is shown on the following page. Lancaster was a poor manager; became involved in financial difficulties; and in 1818 left for the United States, where he spent the remainder of his life in organizing such schools and expounding his system. For a time this attracted wide attention, as we shall point out in the following chapter.

Lancaster’s work stimulated the Church of England into activity, and in 1811 “The National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church throughout England and Wales” was formed by prominent S.P.C.K. (p. 449) members and Churchmen, with the Archbishop of Canterbury as president. This Society was supported by the Tories, the Established Church, and the _Quarterly Review_, and was formed to promote the Bell system, [20] “which made religious instruction an essential and necessary part of the plan.” Within a month L15,000 had been subscribed to establish schools. Among many other contributions were L500 each from the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. A training-school for teachers was organized; district societies were formed over England to establish schools; and a system of organized aid was extended for both buildings and maintenance. By 1831 there were 900,412 children receiving instruction in the monitorial schools of the National Society alone.

This shows 365 pupils, seated for writing. The room was 40 x 90 feet in size and contained 20 desks, each 25 feet long. The boys of each row were divided into two “drafts” of from eight to ten, each in charge of a monitor. Around the wall were 31 “stations,” indicated by the semicircles on the floor.]

The mutual-instruction idea spread to other lands–France, Belgium, Holland, Denmark–and seems to have been tried even in German lands. In France and Belgium it was experimented with for a time because of its cheapness, but was soon discarded because of its defects. In Teutonic lands, where the much better Pestalozzian ideas had become established, the monitorial system made practically no headway. It was in the United States, of all countries outside of England, that the idea met with most ready acceptance.

[Illustration: FIG. 187. MONITORS TEACHING READING AT “STATIONS” Three “drafts” of ten each, with their toes to the semicircles painted on the floor, are being taught by monitors from lessons suspended on the wall.]

THE SYSTEM OF MUTUAL OR MONITORIAL INSTRUCTION. The great merit, aside from being cheap, of the mutual or monitorial system of instruction lay in that it represented a marked advance in school organization over the older individual method of instruction, with its accompanying waste of time and schoolroom disorder. Under the individual method only a small number of pupils could be placed under the control of one teacher, and the expense for such instruction made general education almost prohibitive. Pestalozzi, to be sure, had worked out in Switzerland the modern class- system of instruction, and following developmental lines in teaching, but of this the English were not only ignorant, but it called for a degree of pedagogical skill which their teachers did not then possess. Bell and Lancaster now evolved a plan whereby one teacher, assisted by a number of the brighter pupils whom they designated as monitors, could teach from two hundred to a thousand pupils in one school (R. 297). The picture of Lancaster’s London school (Figure 186) shows 365 pupils seated. [21] The pupils were sorted into rows, and to each row was assigned a clever boy (monitor) to act as an assistant teacher. A common number for each monitor to look after was ten. The teacher first taught these monitors a lesson from a printed card, and then each monitor took his row to a “station” about the wall and proceeded to teach the other boys what he had just learned. At first used only for teaching reading and the Catechism, the plan was soon extended to the teaching of writing, arithmetic, and spelling, and later on to instruction in higher branches. The system was very popular from about 1810 to 1830, but by 1840 its popularity had waned.

[Illustration: FIG. 188. PROPER MONITORIAL-SCHOOL POSITIONS (From an engraved plate of 30 positions, in a Manual of the British and Foreign School Society, London, 1831)]

Such schools were naturally highly organized, the organization being largely mechanical (R. 298). Lancaster, in particular, was an organizing genius. The _Manuals of Instruction_ gave complete directions for the organization and management of monitorial schools, the details of recitation work, use of apparatus, order, position of pupils at their work, and classification being minutely laid down. By carefully studying and following these directions any reasonably intelligent person could soon learn to become a successful teacher in a monitorial school.

The schools, mechanical as they now seem, marked a great improvement over the individual method upon which schoolmasters for centuries had wasted so much of their own and their pupils’ time. In place of earlier idleness, inattention, and disorder, Bell and Lancaster introduced activity, emulation, order, and a kind of military discipline which was of much value to the type of children attending these schools. Lancaster’s biographer, Salmon, has written of the system that so thoroughly was the instruction worked out that the teacher had only to organize, oversee, reward, punish, and inspire:

When a child was admitted a monitor assigned him his class; while he remained, a monitor taught him (with nine other pupils); when he was absent, one monitor ascertained the fact, and another found out the reason; a monitor examined him periodically, and, when he made progress, a monitor promoted him; a monitor ruled the writing paper; a monitor had charge of slates and books; and a monitor-general looked after all the other monitors. Every monitor wore a leather ticket, gilded and lettered, “Monitor of the First Class,” “Reading Monitor of the Second Class,” etc.

VALUE OF THE SYSTEM IN AWAKENING INTEREST. The monitorial system of instruction, coming at the time it did, exerted a very important influence in awakening interest in and a sentiment for schools. It increased the number of people who possessed the elements of an education; made schools much more talked about; and aroused thought and provoked discussion on the question of education. It did much toward making people see the advantages of a certain amount of schooling, and be willing to contribute to its support. Under the plans previously in use education had been a slow and an expensive process, because it had to be carried on by the individual method of instruction, and in quite small groups. Under this new plan it was now possible for one teacher to instruct 300, 400, 500, or more pupils in a single room, and to do it with much better results in both learning and discipline than the old type of schoolmaster had achieved.

All at once, comparatively, a new system had been introduced which not only improved and popularized, but tremendously cheapened education. [22] Lancaster, in his _Improvements in Education_, gave the annual cost of schooling under his system as only seven shillings sixpence ($1.80) per pupil, and this was later decreased to four shillings fivepence ($1.06) as the school was increased to accommodate a thousand pupils. Under the Bell system the yearly cost per pupil, in a school of five hundred, was only four shillings twopence ($1.00), in 1814. In the United States, Lancastrian schools cost from $1.22 per pupil in New York, in 1822, up to $3.00 and $4.00 later on. At first begun as free schools, [23] the expansion of effort was more rapid than the income from contributions, and a small tuition fee was in time charged. Pupils were admitted at about the age of seven, and might remain until thirteen or fourteen, though an attendance of two years was considered “abundantly sufficient for any boy.” To prepare skilled masters and mistresses for the schools, girls were provided for in many places–training or model schools were organized by both the national societies, and these represent the beginnings of normal-school training in England.

INFANT SCHOOLS. Another type of school which became of much importance in England, and spread to other lands, was the Infant School. This owed its origin to Robert Owen, proprietor of the cotton mills at New Lanark, Scotland. Being of a philanthropic turn of mind, and believing that man was entirely the product of circumstance and environment, he held that it was not possible to begin too early in implanting right habits and forming character. Poverty and crime, he believed, were results of errors in the various systems of education and government. So plastic was child nature, that society would be able to mould itself “into the very image of rational wishes and desires.” That “the infants of any one class in the world may be readily formed into men of any other class,” was a fundamental belief of his.

[Illustration: FIG. 189 ROBERT OWEN (1771-1858)]

When he took charge of the mills at New Lanark (1799) he found the usual wretched social conditions of the time. Children of five, six, and seven years were bound out to the factory as apprentices (R. 242) for a period of nine years. They worked as apprentices and helpers in the factories twelve to thirteen hours a day, and at early manhood were turned free to join the ignorant mass of the population. Owen sought to remedy this condition. He accordingly opened schools which children might enter at three years of age, receiving them into the schools almost as soon as they were able to walk, and caring for them while their parents were at work. Children under ten he forbade to work in the mills, and for these he provided schools. The instruction for the children younger than six was to be “whatever might be supposed useful that they could understand,” and much was made of singing, dancing, and play. Moral instruction was made a prominent feature. By 1814 his work and his schools had become famous. In 1817 he published a plan for the organization of such industrial communities as he conducted. In 1818 he visited Switzerland, and saw Pestalozzi and Fellenberg.

In 1818 a number of Liberals–Brougham, James Mill, and others–combined to establish an Infant School in London, importing a teacher from New Lanark. The idea took root, was popularized, and the Infant School was soon adopted as an integral part of their schools by both the British and Foreign School Society (Lancastrians) and the National Society (Bell). In 1836 the “Home and Colonial Infant School Society” was formed to train teachers for and to establish Infant Schools. One of the organizers of this society was Charles Mayo who had worked with Pestalozzi at Yverdon (R. 270), and through his influence much of the bookishness which had crept in was removed and the better Pestalozzian procedure put in its place.

Unlike the monitorial schools, the Infant Schools were based on the idea of small-group work, and were usually conducted in harmony with the new psychological conceptions of instruction which had been worked out by Pestalozzi, and had by that time begun to be introduced into England. The Infant-School idea came at an opportune time, as the defects of the mechanical Lancastrian instruction were becoming evident and its popularity was waning. It gave a new and a somewhat deeper philosophical interpretation of the educational process, created a stronger demand than had before been known for trained teachers, established a preference for women teachers for primary work, and tended to give a new dignity to teaching and school work by revealing something of a psychological basis for the instruction of little children. It also contributed its share toward awakening a sentiment for national action.

WORK OF THE EDUCATIONAL SOCIETIES. The work of the voluntary and philanthropic educational societies in establishing schools and providing teachers and instruction before the days of national schools was enormous. [24] Though the State did nothing before 1833, and little before 1870, the work of the educational societies was large and important. What was done by the church societies alone may be seen from the following table:


The National
or British
Church and For- Indepen- Other Total num- of eign dents, or Wesleyan Roman rel- ber of England Schools Congrega- Method-Cathol- Bapt- gious Date schools schools Society tionalists ists ics ists bodies

Before 1801 766 709 16 8 7 10 1801-1811 410 350 28 9 4 10 1811-1821 879 756 77 12 17 14 1821-1831 1,021 897 45 21 17 28 1831-1841 2,417 2,002 191 95 62 69 1841-1851 4,604 3,448 449 269 239 166 Not stated 498 409 46 17 17 14 131 331 Totals 10,595 8,571 852 431 363 311 131 331

After about 1820-25 the rising interest in elementary education expressed itself in the formation of a number of additional societies, the more important of which were:

1824. “London Infant School Society” founded by Brougham. 1826. “Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge” founded by Brougham. The _Journal of Education_ begun. 1836. “Central Society of Education” founded. 1836. “Home and Colonial Infant Society” founded. Beginning of a Pestalozzian Training College.
1837. “Educational Committee of the Wesleyan Conference” established. 1843. “Congregational Board of Education” formed. 1844. “Ragged School Union” founded.
1845. “Catholic Institute.”
1847. The “Catholic Poor-School Committee.” 1847. “Lancashire Public School Association” formed. 1850. The “National Public School Association.” 1867. “Birmingham Education Aid Society.” 1868. The Manchester Conference.
1869. Formation of “The League.”

Some of these were formed to found and support schools, and some engaged primarily in the work of propaganda in an effort to secure some national action.


THE PARLIAMENTARY STRUGGLE. During the whole of the eighteenth century Parliament had enacted no legislation relating to elementary education, aside from the one Act of 1767 for the education of pauper children in London, and the freeing of elementary schools, Dissenters, and Catholics, from inhibitions as to teaching. In the nineteenth century this attitude was to be changed, though slowly, and after three quarters of a century of struggle the beginnings of national education were finally to be made for England, as they had by then for every other great nation. In 1870 the “no-business-of-the-State” attitude toward the education of the people, which had persisted from the days of the great Elizabeth, was finally and permanently changed. The legislative battle began with the first Factory Act [25] of 1802, Whitbread’s Parochial Schools Bill [26] of 1807, and Brougham’s first Parliamentary Committee of Inquiry of 1816 (R. 291); it finally culminated with the reform of the old endowed Grammar Schools by the Act of 1869, the enactment of the Elementary Education Act of 1870 (R. 304), and the Act of 1871 freeing instruction in the universities from religious restrictions (R. 305). The first of these enactments declared clearly the right of the State to inquire into, reorganize, and redirect the age-old educational foundations for secondary education; the second made the definite though tardy beginnings of a national system of elementary education for England; and the third opened up a university career to the whole nation. The agitation and conflict of ideas was long drawn out, and need not be traced in detail. The following tabulated summary will give the main outlines of the struggle, and the selection on “The Educational Traditions of England” (R. 306) gives a good brief history of the long conflict.


Dates Proposals, Reports, etc., and Results

1802 First Factory Act for regulating employment of children. Adopted.
1807 Whitbread’s Parochial Schools’ Bill introduced. Rejected by the House of Lords
1816 Brougham secured a Parliamentary Committee to enquire into the state of education of the lower classes in London, Westminster, and Southwark.
Report–130,000 children without school accommodations [1818]. (R. 291.)
1818 Brougham secured a Committee of Inquiry on Educational Charities.
No report until 1837.
1820 Bill introduced proposing a tax for schools and the granting of Government aid in building schoolhouses. Opposed by Dissenters and Catholics. Withdrawn. Brougham’s first Educational Bill.
1833 Government aid for building schoolhouses re-proposed. L20,000 a year granted. (R. 299.) Distributed through the two great Educational Societies
1834 Committee of Inquiry appointed. No result beyond statistics.
1835 | Brougham introduced bills to organize a system of elementary 1837 | education. Bills failed of passage. Educational Inquiry Committee appointed [1837].
1838 Committee report: the deplorable conditions existing Bill of 1839. Education Department created. 1839 Bill to increase the government grant to L30,000 and to allow all Societies to share. Inspectors to be appointed. Committee of Privy Council on Education established. Bitter opposition. Carried. Much discussion as to “undenominational education.”
1841 Annual grant to establish schools of design in manufacturing districts.
1843 Sir Jas. Graham’s Factory Bill. Opposed by the Dissenters and defeated. 1843 Address to the Crown on condition of the working classes. No parliamentary action.
1846 Yearly grant extended to the maintenance of schools. Gradual increase in the yearly grants. 1846 Minute and Regulations on annual grants and pupil teachers. Foundations of a system laid.
Pupil-teacher system definitely established. Certificates to teach. Annual grant extended to maintenance. 1847 Government proposals for nationalizing education. Carried despite violent religious opposition. 1850 Fox’s Bill to make education free and compulsory. Defeated.
1853 The Government proposed a small local rate in aid of schools. Bill dropped after the first reading. 1853 Department of Science and Art created, and National Art Training Schools established.
Promotion of elementary education in art and science, particularly after 1859.
1855 Three educational Bills introduced. Local rate proposed. Failure to agree. All withdrawn.
1856 Commons asked to declare in favor of rate aid and local Boards. Two Educational Bills introduced. First bill tabled. Second bill withdrawn. Education Department formed.
1858 A Royal Commission to inquire into the state of popular education in England asked for.
The Duke of Newcastle’s Commission created. Its Report published in 1861. (R. 303.)
1861 No acceptable scheme reported. Code of 1861 proposed. No advance. “Payment by results” began [1862]. Code adopted. 1864 Schools Inquiry Commission appointed on endowed schools. Report of the Schools Inquiry Commission in 1867. 1866 Report of a Select Committee of the House of Commons on Education.
1867 The Government introduced proposals as to education. Voted down.
1868 Government Bill proposing changes in distribution and larger grants.
Parliament adjourned without action. 1869 Endowed Schools’ Act passed.
1869 Two Educational Bills introduced. Withdrawn at the request of the Government. 1870 The Elementary Education Act of 1870 introduced. Much amended and passed. (R. 304.) Beginning of a National system of education.
1871 Religious Tests at universities withdrawn (R. 305).

THE LEADERS IN THE CONFLICT. The main leader in the parliamentary struggle to establish national education, from the death of Whitbread, in 1815, to about 1835, was Henry, afterwards Lord Brougham. He was aided by such men as Blackstone, and Bentham and his followers, and, after about 1837, by such men as Dickens, Carlyle, Macaulay, and John Stuart Mill. Dickens, by his descriptions, helped materially to create a sentiment favorable to education, as a right of the people rather than a charity. He stood strongly for a compulsory and non-sectarian state system of education that would transform the children of his day into generous, self-respecting, and intelligent men and women. Carlyle saw in education a cure for social evils, and held that one of the first functions of government was to impart the gift of thinking to its future citizens. Writing, in 1840, he said:

Who would suppose that education were a thing which had to be advocated on the ground of local expediency, or any ground? As if it stood not on the basis of everlasting duty as a prime necessity of man.

Brougham was untiring in his efforts for popular education, and some idea as to the interest he awakened may be inferred from the fact that his _Observations on the Education of the People_, published in 1825, went through twenty editions the first year. He introduced bills, secured committees of inquiry, made addresses, [27] and used his pen in behalf of the education of the people. His belief in the power of education to improve a people was very large. Warning the “Lawgivers of England” to take heed, he once said:

Let the soldier be abroad, if he will; he can do nothing in this age. There is another personage abroad, a person less imposing–in the eye of some insignificant. The Schoolmaster is abroad, and I trust him, armed with his primer, against the soldier in full uniform array.

The conqueror stalks onward with the “pride, pomp, and circumstance of war,” banners flying, shouts rending the air, guns thundering, and martial music pealing, to drown the shrieks of the wounded and the lamentations for the slain. Not thus the schoolmaster in his peaceful vocation. He meditates and prepares in secret the plans which are to bless mankind; he slowly gathers around him those who are to further their execution; he quietly, though firmly, advances in his humble path laboring steadily, but calmly, till he has opened to the light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the roots the weeds of vice. His is a progress not to be compared with anything like a march; but it leads to a far more brilliant triumph, and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of his species, the scourge of the world, ever won.

[Illustration: FIG. 190 LORD BROUGHAM (1778-1868)]

[Illustration: FIG. 191. AN ENGLISH VILLAGE SCHOOL IN 1840 (After a drawing by Hablot K. Browne, and printed in Charles Dickens’s “Master Humphrey’s Clock”)]

Parallel with the agitation for some state action for education was an agitation for social and political reform. The basis for the election of members to the House of Commons was still mediaeval. Boroughs no longer inhabited still returned members, and sparsely settled regions returned members out of all proportion to the newly created city populations. Few, too, could vote. Only about 160,000 persons in a population of 10,000,000 had, early in the century, the right of the franchise. The city populations were practically disfranchised in favor of rural landlords, the nobility, and the clergy. In 1828 Protestant Non-Conformists were relieved of their political disability, and in 1829 a similar enfranchisement was extended to Catholics. In 1832 came the first real voting reform in the passage of the so-called _Third Reform Bill_ [28] after a most bitter parliamentary struggle. This reapportioned the membership of the House on a more equitable basis, and enfranchised those who owned or leased lands or buildings of a value of L10 a year. The result of this was to enfranchise the middle class of the population; increase the number of voters (1836) from about 175,000 to about 839,500 out of 6,023,000 adult males; and effectively break the power of the House of Lords to elect the House of Commons. Progressive legislation now became much easier to secure, and in 1833 a Bill making a grant of L20,000 a year to aid in building schoolhouses for elementary schools–the first government aid for elementary education ever voted in England–became a law (R. 299). During the few years following the passage of the Reform Bill many progressive measures were enacted, among which should be mentioned the abolition of slavery in the colonies; the beginnings of legislation looking to a scientific treatment of poverty and non- employment; the Municipal Reform Act (1835); the institution of the penny post (1839); and the abolition of the Corn Laws (1846); while after 1837 education began to take a prominent place in the programs of the new working-class movement.

PROGRESS AFTER 1833. The Law of 1833, though, made but the merest beginnings, and up to 1840 the money granted was given to the two great national school societies, and without regulation. Beginning in 1840, and continuing up to the beginnings of national education, in 1870, the grants were state-controlled and distributed through the different educational societies. The total of these grants, by years, and the proportional share of the different educational societies are well shown in the chart (Fig. 192.) In 1846 the grants were extended to maintenance as well, and in 1847 Catholic and Wesleyan societies were admitted to share in the grants. Soon thereafter we note a sharp upward turn of the curve, though the Church-of- England schools obtained the greater proportion of the increased funds. Proposals to add local taxation, in 1853 and 1856, were dropped almost as soon as made. The commercial and manufacturing interests, though, secured separate aid for art and science instruction (1841, 1853), and the creation of national art training-schools (1853). Training-schools for teachers also were begun, and aided by grants. In 1845 the English “pupil- teacher” system [29] also was begun in an effort to supply teachers of some little training. A State Department of Education was created, in 1856, though without much power, and the various “Minutes” which were now adopted were organized into a system and presented to Parliament as a _School Code_, in 1861, and finally approved.

New Educational Commissions were created to inquire into educational conditions and needs in 1858 and 1864, and these reported in 1861 and 1867, but without important results. The most notable of these was the Duke of Newcastle’s Commission, appointed in 1858 to review conditions, progress, and needs, and to make recommendations for the future. This Commission reported in 1861. It stated that one in every eight of the population was then in some kind of school; gave statistics as to conditions (R. 303 a); and held that the plan of leaving popular education to the voluntary initiative of communities had been justified by the results. The report presented no plan for national organization, but recommended a number of minor changes in conditions. In particular it recommended the introduction of the system of “payment by results”–that is, of making money grants to schools on the basis of the number of pupils passing set examinations in reading, writing, and arithmetic (R. 303 b). This plan was begun in 1862, and the consequent drop in money grants for a few years thereafter is shown in the curves of the chart. The other Commission, appointed, known as the Taunton Schools Inquiry Commission (1864-67), dealt with the old endowed schools, and in particular called attention to the lack of secondary-school facilities, especially in the cities, and recommended an extension of secondary-school facilities and a democratization of the whole system of secondary education. The important legislation of this period was the freeing of the old universities from Church-of-England control (R. 305) and making them national in spirit.

[Illustration: FIG. 192. EXPENDITURE FROM THE EDUCATION GRANTS, 1839-70 Between 1833 and 1839 no Government regulation of grants. The above figures do not include administration expenses, or grants made to Scotland (about the same in amount as the Br. & F. S. Soc.) or to the Parochial Schools Union (very small). The drop in the curve between 1862 and 1867 was due to the introduction of the “payment by results” plan.]

[Illustration: FIG. 193 LORD MACAULAY (1800-59)]

DIFFICULTIES ENCOUNTERED. In the meantime liberal leaders, Schools Inquiry Commissions, official reports, and educational propagandists continued to pile up evidence as to the inadequacy of the old voluntary system. A few examples, out of hundreds that might be cited, will be mentioned here. Lord Macaulay, in an address made in Parliament, in 1847 (R. 300), defending a “Minute” of the “Committee of Privy Council on Education” (created in 1839) proposing the nationalization of education, held it to be “the right and duty of the State to provide for the education of the common people,” as an exercise of self-protection, and warned the Commons of dangers to come if the progressive tendencies of the time were not listened to. The Census Returns of 1851, as well as the abundance of data published by the Schools Inquiry Commissions, were effectively used to reveal the inadequate provisions for the education of the masses. The Reports of the school inspectors, too, revealed conditions in need of being remedied in all phases of educational effort. The Report on the Apprenticing of Pauper Children (R. 301) is selected as typical of many similar reports.


Items 1833 1851

(1) Population of England and Wales 14,400,000 17,927,609 (2) Middle and upper classes population 2,000,000 2,489,945 (3) Laboring class populations 12,400,000 15,437,664 (4) Population 3-12 years of age of (2) 420,000 522,888 (5) Population 3-12 years of age of (3) 2,604,000 3,241,919 (6) Number of schools for children of (2) 14,807 16,324 (7) Number of schools for children of (3) 24,074 29,718 (8) Pupils of class (2) in schools 481,728 546,396 (9) Pupils of class (3) in schools 705,219 1,597,982 (10) Percentage of children of class (2) at school 114.6 104.4 (11) Percentage of children of class (3) at school 30.5 49.2

So deeply ingrained, though, was the English conception of education as a private and voluntary and religious affair and no business of the State; so self-contained were the English as a people; and so little did they know or heed the progress made in other lands, that the arguments for national action encountered tremendous opposition from the Conservative elements, and often were opposed even by Liberals. The reasoning of Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth (R. 302), Secretary of the Committee of Council on Education and one of the clearest heads in England in his day, who held that a fee for instruction had a moral value and vindicated personal freedom, and who resented the interference of the State in the matter of a parent’s relation to his child, was typical of thousands of others. Edward Baines (1774-1848), proprietor of the _Leeds Mercury_, the chief Liberal organ in northern England, bitterly opposed any action looking toward nationalizing education. He expressed the feeling of many when he wrote:

Civil government is no fit agency for the training of families or of souls…. Throw the people on their own resources in education, as you did in industry; and be assured, that, in a nation so full of intelligence and spirit, Freedom and Competition will give the same stimulus to improvement in our schools, as they have done in our manufactures, our husbandry, our shipping, and our commerce.

THE BEGINNINGS OF NATIONAL ORGANIZATION. By 1865 it had become evident to a majority that the voluntary system, whatever its merits, would never succeed in educating the nation, and from this time forth the demand for some acceptable scheme for the organization of national education became a part of a still more general movement for political and social reform. Once more, as in 1832-33, an education law was enacted following the passage of a bill for electoral reform and the extension of the suffrage.

Though the Liberal Party was in power, it was well satisfied with the Reform Act of 1832 because through it the middle classes of the population, which the Liberal Party represented, had gained control of the government. The country, though, was not–the working-classes in particular demanding a share in the government. Finally the demand became too strong to be resisted, and the Second Reform Act, of 1867, became a law. This abolished a number of the remaining smaller boroughs, and greatly extended the right to vote. In the country the amount of property to be owned to vote was reduced from L10 to L5, and the leasehold value from L50 to L12. In the cities and towns the vote was now given to all householders, and to all lodgers who paid a yearly rental of L10. This legislation gave the vote to a vastly increased number of people, particularly city workers, [30] and was a political revolution for England of great magnitude.

From the passage of this new Reform Act to 1870, the organization of national education only awaited the formulation of some acceptable scheme. “We must educate our new masters,” now became a common expression. The main question was how to create schools to do what the voluntary schools had shown themselves able to do for a part, but were unable to do for all, without at the same time destroying the vast denominational system [31] that, in spite of its defects, had “done the great service of rearing a race of teachers, spreading schools, setting up a standard of education, and generally making the introduction of a national system possible.” The way in which these “vested interests” were cared for was typically English, and characteristic of the strong sense of obligation of the English people. In 1870 a compromise law was proposed and carried. Mr. Gladstone, then Prime Minister, stated the attitude of the Government in framing the new law, when he said: [32]

It was with us an absolute necessity–a necessity of honour and a necessity of policy–to respect and to favour the educational establishments and machinery we found existing in the country. It was impossible for us to join in the language or to adopt the tone which was conscientiously and consistently taken up by some members of the House, who look upon these voluntary schools, having generally a denominational character, as admirable passing expedients, fit, indeed, to be tolerated for a time, deserving all credit on account of the motives which led to their foundation, but wholly unsatisfactory as to their main purpose, and therefore to be supplanted by something they think better…. That has never been the theory of the Government…. When we are approaching this great work, which we desire to make complete, we ought to have a sentiment of thankfulness that so much has been done for us.

London taken as a type. Note the deficiency in school accommodation in 1838, that the voluntary schools made no appreciable gain on this deficiency up to 1870, the attempt to cope with the situation between 1871 and 1874, and the long pull of the new Board schools necessary to provide sufficient schools and seats.]

Accordingly the Elementary Education Bill of 1870 (R. 304) preserved the existing Voluntary Schools; divided the country up into school districts; gave the denominations a short period in which to provide schools, with aid for buildings; [33] and thereafter, in any place where a deficiency in school accommodations could be shown to exist; School Boards were to be elected, and they should have power to levy taxes and maintain elementary schools. Existing Voluntary Schools might be transferred to the School Boards, whose schools were to be known as Board Schools. The schools were not ordered made free, but the fees of necessitous children were to be provided for by the School Boards, and they might compel the attendance of all children between the ages of five and twelve. Inspection and grants were limited to secular subjects, though religious teaching was not forbidden. The central government was to be secular and neutral; the local boards might decide as they saw fit. Such were the beginnings of national education in England. That the new Board Schools met a real need, especially in the cities, is shown by the chart on the preceding page, giving the results in London.


PROGRESS UNDER THE LAW OF 1870. Beginning in 1871 the Board Schools had, by 1893, come to enroll 41 per cent of the pupils in elementary schools in England, as against 44 per cent in Voluntary Schools, and by 1903 the proportions were 49 per cent to 39 per cent. By 1902 the government grants for maintenance had reached, for all schools, L8,000,000 a year, and the Board Schools were rapidly outrunning the Voluntary Schools both in numbers and in per-capita expenditures. The Board Schools had made their greatest headway in the cities. In 1895 there were still some 11,000 small parishes which had no Board Schools, and in consequence paid no direct taxes for schools. Of these, 8000 had only Church-of-England Voluntary Schools.

In 1880 elementary education had been made fully compulsory, and in 1891 largely free. In 1893 the age for exemption from attendance was fixed at eleven, and in 1899 this was raised to twelve. In 1888 county and borough councils had been created, better to enforce the Act and to extend supervision. The _Annual Codes_, from 1870 to 1902, gradually extended governmental control through more and more detailed instructions as to inspection, the addition of new subjects, and better compulsion to attend. In 1899 a Central Board of Education, under a President and a Parliamentary Secretary, was created, to consolidate in one body the work formerly done by:

a. The Committee of Council on Education (established 1839), which administered the grants for elementary education.

b. The Department of Science and Art (established 1853), which administered the grants for special and evening instruction in science and art.

c. The Charity Commissioners, to which had been given (1874) supervision of the old educational trusts and endowments for education.

d. The educational functions of the Board of Agriculture.

This new Board unified the administration of elementary and secondary education for the first time in English history.

By about 1895 the strain on the Voluntary Schools had become hard to bear. The Church resented the encroachments of the State on its ancient privilege of training the young, and the larger resources which the Board Schools could command. In 1895 the Conservative party won the parliamentary elections, and remained in power for some years. This was the opportunity of the Voluntary Schools, and in 1897 a special national- aid grant of five shillings per pupil in average daily attendance was made to the Voluntary Schools. This simply increased the general dissatisfaction, and there was soon a general demand for new legislation that would reconcile the whole question of national education. The Law of 1902 was the ultimate result.

THE ANNEXATION LAW OF 1902. The Balfour Education Act of 1902 marks the beginning of a new period in English education. For the first time in English history education of all grades–elementary, secondary, and higher; voluntary and state–was brought under the control of one single local authority, and Voluntary Schools were taken over and made a charge on the “rates” equally with the Board Schools. New local Educational Committees and Councils replaced the old School Boards, and all secular instruction in state-aided schools of all types was now placed under their control. Religious instruction could continue where desired. In addition, one third of the property of England, which had heretofore escaped all direct taxation for education, was now compelled to pay its proper share. The foundation principle that “the wealth of the. State must educate the children of the State” was now applied, for the first time.

The State now abandoned the old policy of merely supervising and assisting voluntary associations to maintain schools, in competition with state- provided schools, and assumed the whole responsibility for the secular instruction of the people. Though the law awakened intense opposition from those who felt that it “riveted the hand of the cleric on the schools of the land,” it nevertheless equalized and unified educational provisions; paved the way for much future progress; made the general provision of secondary education possible; and represented an important new step in the process of creating a national system of education for the people. Under this Law much has been done by the new Central Board of Education, and subsequent supplementary legislation, to increase materially the efficiency of the education provided.

Since 1902 the cost for education per pupil has been increased more than one half. The local authorities, to whom were given large powers of control, have levied taxes liberally, and the State has also increased its grants. Since 1902 also there has been a continual agitation for a resettlement of the educational question along broad national lines. Bills have been introduced, and important committees have considered the matter, but no affirmative action was taken. By the time of the opening of the World War it may be said that English opinion had about agreed upon the principle of public control of all schools, absolute religious freedom for teachers, local option as to religious instruction, large local liberty in management and control, well-trained and well-paid teachers, and the fusing of all types of schools into a democratic and truly national school system, strong in its unity and national elements, but free from centralized bureaucratic control. It was left for the World War to give emphasis to this national need and to permit the final creation of such an educational organization.

THE INCORPORATION OF SECONDARY EDUCATION INTO THE NATIONAL SYSTEM. For centuries the education of the small ruling class has been conducted by the private tutor and the endowed secondary school, and had been completed by a few years at Oxford or Cambridge. The Reform Bill of 1832 had raised the middle commercial and industrial classes to power, and had created new demands for secondary and higher education for the sons of this class. The old endowed schools were now no longer sufficient in numbers, and the result was the founding of many private and joint-stock-company secondary schools to minister to the new educational needs. The Second Reform Bill of 1867 enfranchised a very much greater number of citizens, and the increasing wealth and the increasing demands for educational advantages led to an insistence for a further extension along secondary and higher lines. The result was seen in the investigation of the nine “Great Public Schools” of England, [34] by the Lord Clarendon Commission (1861-64); and the appointment of the British Schools Inquiry Commission of 1864-67, to inquire into the 820 other endowed schools and the 122 proprietary or joint-stock-company schools of the land. The Report of the first led to the Public Schools Act of 1868, reforming abuses and regulating the use of their old endowments. The second pointed out the great deficiency then existing in secondary education, [35] and led to the enactment of the Endowed Schools Act of 1869, placing all endowed schools under centralized supervision. We see here the beginnings of state supervision and control of the age-old endowments for Latin grammar schools and other types of schools for secondary training. The repeal of the old Religious-Tests-for- Degrees legislation, at the old universities (R. 305), in 1871, transformed these from Church-of-England into national institutions, and opened up the whole range of education to all who could meet the standards and pay the fees.

Under the Act of 1870 many local school boards, especially in the manufacturing cities, began to satisfy the new needs by the organization of Higher Grade Schools, or High Schools, to supplement the work of the elementary schools and to extend upward, in a truly democratic fashion, the educational ladder. In this movement the manufacturing cities of Sheffield, Birmingham, and Manchester were the leaders. In these three cities also, as well as in four others (Bristol, Leeds, Liverpool, and London) [36] new modern-type universities were created. The Department of Science and Art (created in 1853) also began, in 1872, to give large grants to the cities for the establishment of a three-years’ course in science, for the encouragement of scientific training. These new secondary-type schools, providing for the direct passage of children from the elementary to the secondary schools, with many free places for capable students, served to increase the friction between rate-aided schools on the one hand, and voluntary and endowed and proprietary schools on the other. Carrying out, as they did, Huxley’s idea of a broad educational ladder, [37] they also represented a very democratic innovation in English educational procedure.

In 1894 a Commission–a favorite English method for considering vexatious questions–was appointed, under the chairmanship of Mr. James (afterwards Lord) Bryce, “to consider the best methods of establishing a well- organized system of secondary education in England.” The Report was important and influential. It recommended the creation of a general Board of Education under a responsible government Minister, with a permanent Secretary and a Consultative Educational Council (as was done in 1899); the establishment of local county and borough boards to provide adequate secondary-school accommodations, with aid from the “rates”; the inspection of secondary schools by the Central Board of Education; the professional training of secondary-school teachers; and a great extension of the free- scholarship plan to children from the elementary schools. On this last point the Report said: [38]

We have to consider the means whereby the children of the less well- to-do classes of our population may be enabled to obtain such secondary education as may be suitable and needful for them. As we have not recommended that secondary education shall be provided free of cost to the whole community, we deem it all the more needful that ample provision be made by every local authority for enabling selected children of poorer parents to climb the educational ladder…. The assistance we have contemplated should be given by means of a carefully graduated system of scholarships, varying in value in the age at which they are awarded and the class of school or institution at which they are tenable.

The Act of 1902 unified control of both elementary and secondary education. Any private or endowed secondary school was left free to accept or reject government aid and inspection, but, if the aid were accepted, inspection and the following of government plans were required. Secondary education must provide for scholars up to or beyond the age of sixteen. No attempt was made to unify the work and character of the secondary schools, it being clearly recognized that, in England at least, these must be suited to the different requirements of the scholars, the means of the parents, the age at which schooling will stop, and the probable place in the social organism of England which the pupils will occupy. By 1910, out of 841 secondary schools in England receiving grants of state aid, 325 were supported by local authorities and were the creations of the preceding four decades. Most of the others represented old Latin grammar- school foundations, thus incorporated into the national system, and without that violence and destruction of endowments which characterized the transformations in France and Italy.

[Illustration: FIG. 195. THE ENGLISH EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM AS FINALLY EVOLVED The years, for the divisions of English education, are only approximate, as English education is more flexible than that found in most other lands.]

A NATIONAL SYSTEM AT LAST EVOLVED. It is a little more than two centuries from the founding of the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (1699) to the very important Fisher Education Act [39] of August, 1918. The first marked the beginnings of the voluntary system; the second “the first real attempt in England to lay broad and deep the foundations of a scheme of education which would be truly national.” This Act, passed by Parliament in the midst of a war which called upon the English people for heavy sacrifices, completed the evolution of two centuries and organized the educational resources–elementary, secondary, evening, adult, technical, and higher–into one national system, animated by a national purpose, and aimed at the accomplishment for the nation of twentieth- century ends on the most democratic basis of any school system in Europe. In so doing Huxley’s educational ladder has not only been changed into a broad highway, but the educational traditions of England (R. 306) have been preserved and moulded anew.

The central national supervisory authority has been still further strengthened; the compulsion to attend greatly extended; and the voice of the State has been uttered in a firmer tone than ever before in English educational history. Taxes have been increased; the scope of the school system extended; all elements of the system better integrated; laggard local educational authorities subjected to firmer control; the training of teachers looked after more carefully than ever before; and the foundations for unlimited improvement and progress in education laid down. Still, in doing all this, the deep English devotion to local liberties has been clearly revealed. The dangers of a centralized French-type educational bureaucracy have been avoided; necessary, and relatively high, minimum standards have been set up, but without sacrificing that variety which has always been one of the strong points of English educational effort; and the legitimate claims of the State have been satisfied without destroying local initiative and independence. In this story of two centuries and more of struggle to create a really national system of education for the people we see strongly revealed those prominent characteristics of English national progress–careful consideration of new ideas, keen sensitiveness to vested rights, strong sense of local liberties and responsibilities, large dependence on local effort and good sense, progress by compromise, and a slow grafting-on of the best elements of what is new without sacrificing the best elements of what is old.


1. Show that the English method of slow progress and after long discussion would naturally result in a plan bearing evidence of many compromises.

2. What does the extensive Charity-School movement in eighteenth-century England indicate as to the comparative general interest in learning in England and the other lands we have previously studied?

3. Show how the Sunday-School instruction, meager as it was, was very important in England in paving the way for further educational progress.

4. What do all the different late eighteenth-century voluntary educational movements indicate as to comparative popular interest in education in England and Prussia? England and France?

5. Can you explain the much greater percentage of city poor in England in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries than in French or German lands?

6. Can you explain why periods of prolonged warfare are usually followed by periods of social and political unrest?

7. Can you explain why Pestalozzian ideas found such slow acceptance in England?

8. Explain, on the basis of the English adult manufacturing conception of education, why monitorial instruction was hailed as “a new expedient, parallel and rival to the modern inventions in the mechanical departments.”

9. To what extent do we now accept Robert Owen’s conception of the influence of education on children?

10. Show how the many philanthropic societies for the education of the children of the poor came in as a natural transition from church to state education.

11. Show the importance of the School Societies in accustoming people to the idea of free and general education.

12. Show how the Lancastrian system formed a natural bridge between private philanthropy in education and tax-supported state schools.

13. Why were the highly mechanical features of the Lancastrian organization so advantageous in its day, whereas we of to-day would regard them as such a disadvantage?

14. Explain how the Lancastrian schools dignified the work of the teacher by revealing the need for teacher-training.

15. Assuming that there may be some validity to the arguments of Kay- Shuttleworth, what are the limitations to such reasoning?

16. What theory as to education would naturally lie behind a “payment-by- results” plan of distributing state aid?

17. Show how English educational development during the nineteenth century has been deeply modified by the progress of democracy.

18. Show how the English have attained to minimum standards without imposing uniform requirements that destroy individuality and initiative.


In the accompanying _Book of Readings_ the following illustrative selections are reproduced:

291. Parliamentary Report: Charity-School Education described. 292. S.P.C.K.: Cost and Support of Charity-Schools. 293. Raikes: Description of the Gloucester Sunday Schools. 294. Guthrie: Organization, Support, and Work of a Ragged School. 295. Smith, A.: On the Education of the Common People. 296. Malthus: On National Education.
297. Smith, S.: The School of Lancaster described. 298. Philanthropist: Automatic Character of the Monitorial Schools. 299. Montmorency, de: The First Parliamentary Grant for Education. 300. Macaulay: On the Duty of the State to Provide Education. 301. Mosely: Evils of Apprenticing the Children of Paupers. 302. Kay-Shuttleworth: Typical Reasoning in Opposition to Free Schools. 303. Macnamera: The Duke of Newcastle Commission Report. 304. Statute: Elementary Education Act of 1870. 305. Statute: Abolition of Religious Tests at the Universities. 306. Times: The Educational Traditions of England.


1. Characterize the type of education described by the witness (291).

2. Considering equipment provided and comparative money values, then and now, about how much of an effort did support (292) involve?

3. What class of children did Raikes (293) make provision for?

4. Characterize the type of education provided (294) in the Ragged Schools.

5. Would Adam Smith’s reasoning (295) still hold true?

6. Would that of Malthus (296)?

7. Indicate the improvements Lancaster had made (297, 298) in organization and teaching efficiency.

8. Was the first English parliamentary grant (299) expressive of deep national interest?

9. Would Macaulay’s reasoning (300) still be true?

10. Is it probable that the apprenticing of paupers had always given such (301) results?

11. How sound was Kay-Shuttleworth’s reasoning (302)?

12. What merit was there to the “payment-by-results” recommendation of the Duke of Newcastle Commission (303)?

13. Just what kind of schools did the Act of 1870 (304) make provision for?

14. Have we ever had such religious requirements as those so long maintained (305) at the English universities?


Allen, W. O. B. and McClure, E. _Two Hundred Years; History of S.P.C.K. 1698-1898_.
Adams, Francis. _History of the Elementary School Contest in England_.
* Binns, H. B. _A Century of Education, 1808-1908, History of the British and Foreign School Society_.
* Birchenough, C. _History of Elementary Education in England and Wales since 1800_.
Escott, T. H. S. _Social Transformations of the Victorian Era_. Harris, J. H. _Robert Raikes; the Man and his Work_. * Holman, H. _English National Education_. * Montmorency, J. E. G. de. _The Progress of Education in England_. * Montmorency, J. E. G. de. _State Intervention in English Education to 1833_.
* Salmon, David. _Joseph Lancaster_.




THE AMERICAN PROBLEM. The beginnings of state educational organization in the United States present quite a different history from that traced for Prussia, France, Italy, or England. While the parochial school existed in the Central Colonies, and in time had to be subordinated to state ends; and while the idea of education as a charity had been introduced into all the Anglican Colonies, and later had to be stamped out; the problem of educational organization in America was not, as in Europe, one of bringing church schools and old educational foundations into harmonious working relations with the new state school systems set up. Instead the old educational foundations were easily transformed to adapt them to the new conditions, while only in the Central Colonies did the religious-charity conception of education give any particular trouble. The American educational problem was essentially that of first awakening, in a new land, a consciousness of need for general education; and second, that of developing a willingness to pay for what it finally came to be deemed desirable to provide.

By the middle of the eighteenth century, as we have pointed out (p. 438), the earlier religious interests in America had clearly begun to wane. In the New England Colonies the school of the civil town had largely replaced the earlier religious school. In the Middle Colonies many of the parochial schools had died out. In the Southern Colonies, where the classes in society and negro slavery made common schools impossible, and the lack of city life and manufacturing made them seem largely unnecessary, the common school had tended to disappear. Even in New England, where the Calvinistic conception of the importance of education had most firmly established the idea of school support, the eighteenth century witnessed a constant struggle to prevent the dying-out of that which an earlier generation had deemed it important to create.

EFFECT OF THE WAR ON EDUCATION. The effect of the American War for Independence, on all types of schools, was disastrous. The growing troubles with the mother country had, for more than a decade previous to the opening of hostilities, tended to concentrate attention on other matters than schooling. Political discussion and agitation had largely monopolized the thinking of the time.

With the outbreak of the war education everywhere suffered seriously. Most of the rural and parochial schools closed, or continued a more or less intermittent existence. In New York City, then the second largest city in the country, practically all schools closed with British occupancy and remained closed until after the end of the war. The Latin grammar schools and academies often closed from lack of pupils, while the colleges were almost deserted. Harvard and Kings, in particular, suffered grievously, and sacrificed much for the cause of liberty. The war engrossed the energies and the resources of the peoples of the different Colonies, and schools, never very securely placed in the affections of the people, outside of New England, were allowed to fall into decay or entirely disappear. The period of the Revolution and the period of reorganization which followed, up to the beginning of the national government (1775-89), were together a time of rapid decline in educational advantages and increasing illiteracy among the people. Meager as had been the opportunities for schooling before 1775, the opportunities by 1790, except in a few cities and in the New England districts, had shrunk almost to the vanishing point. For Boston (R. 307), Providence (Rs. 309, 310), and a number of other places we have good pictures preserved of the schools which actually did exist.

The close of the war found the country both impoverished and exhausted. All the Colonies had made heavy sacrifices, many had been overrun by hostile armies, and the debt of the Union and of the States was so great that many thought it could never be paid. The thirteen States, individually and collectively, with only 3,380,000 people, had incurred an indebtedness of $75,000,000 for the prosecution of the conflict. Commerce was dead, the Government of the Confederation was impotent, petty insurrections were common, the States were quarreling continually with one another over all kinds of trivial matters, England still remained more or less hostile, and foreign complications began to appear. That during such a crucial period, and for some years following, but little or no attention was anywhere given to the question of education was only natural.

NO REAL EDUCATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS BEFORE ABOUT 1820. Regardless of the national land grants for education made to the new States (p. 523), the provisions of the different state constitutions (R. 259), the beginnings made here and there in the few cities of the time, and the early state laws (R. 262), it can hardly be said that the American people had developed an educational consciousness, outside of New England and New York, before about 1820, and in some of the States, especially in the South, a state educational consciousness was not awakened until very much later. Even in New England there was a steady decline in education during the first fifty years of the national history.

There were many reasons in the national life for this lack of interest in education among the masses of the people. The simple agricultural life of the time, the homogeneity of the people, the absence of cities, the isolation and independence of the villages, the lack of full manhood suffrage in a number of the States, the want of any economic demand for education, and the fact that no important political question calling for settlement at the polls had as yet arisen, made the need for schools and learning seem a relatively minor one. The country, too, was still very poor. The Revolutionary War debt still hung in part over the Nation, and the demand for money and labor for all kinds of internal improvements was very large. The country had few industries, and its foreign trade was badly hampered by European nations. Ways and means of strengthening the existing Government and holding the Union together, [1] rather than plans which could bear fruit only in the future, occupied the attention of the leaders of the time.

When the people had finally settled their political and commercial future by the War of 1812-14, and had built up a national consciousness on a democratic basis in the years immediately following, and the Nation at last possessed the energy, the money, and the interest for doing so, they finally turned their energies toward the creation of a democratic system of public schools. In the meantime, education, outside of New England, and in part even there, was left largely to private individuals, churches, incorporated school societies, and such state schools for the children of the poor as might have been provided by private or state funds, or the two combined.

THE REAL INTEREST IN ADVANCED EDUCATION. In so far as the American people may be said to have possessed a real interest in education during the first half-century of the national existence, it was manifested in the establishment and endowment of academies and colleges rather than in the creation of schools for the people. The colonial Latin grammar school had been almost entirely an English institution, and never well suited to American needs. As democratic consciousness began to arise, the demand came for a more practical institution, less exclusive and less aristocratic in character, and better adapted in its instruction to the needs of a frontier society. Arising about the middle of the eighteenth century, a number of so-called Academies had been founded before the new National Government took shape. While essentially private institutions, arising from a church foundation, or more commonly a local subscription or endowment, it became customary for towns, counties, and States to assist in their maintenance, thus making them semi-public institutions. Their management, though, usually remained in private hands, or under boards or associations. [2]

Beside offering a fair type of higher training [3] before the days of high schools, the academies also became training-schools for teachers, and before the rise of the normal schools were the chief source of supply for the better grade of elementary teachers. These institutions rendered an important service during the first half of the nineteenth century, but were in time displaced by the publicly supported and publicly controlled American high school, the first of which dates from 1821. This evolution we shall describe more in detail a little later on.

THE COLLEGES OF THE TIME. Some interest also was taken in college education during this early national period. College attendance, however, was small, as the country was still new and the people were poor. As late as 1815, Harvard graduated a class of but 66; Yale of 69; Princeton of 40; Williams of 40; Pennsylvania of 15; and the University of South Carolina of 37. After the organization of the Union the nine old colonial colleges were reorganized, and an attempt was made to bring them into closer harmony with the ideas and needs of the people and the governments of the States. Dartmouth, Kings (now rechristened Columbia), and Pennsylvania were for a time changed into state institutions, and an unsuccessful attempt was made to make a state university for Virginia out of William and Mary. Fifteen additional colleges were organized by 1800, and fourteen more by 1820. Between 1790 and 1825 there was much discussion as to the desirability of founding a national university at the seat of government, and Washington in his will (1799) left, for that time, a considerable sum to the Nation to inaugurate the new undertaking. Nothing ever came of it, however. Before 1825 six States–Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Indiana, and Michigan–had laid the foundations of future state universities. The National Government had also granted to each new Western State two entire townships of land to help endow a university in each–a stimulus which eventually led to the establishment of a state university in every Western State.

A HALF-CENTURY OF TRANSITION. The first half-century of the national life may be regarded as a period of transition from the church-control idea of education over to the idea of education under the control of and supported by the State. Though many of the early States had provided for state school systems in their constitutions (R. 259), the schools had not been set up, or set up only here and there. It required time to make this change in thinking. Up to the period of the beginnings of our national development education had almost everywhere been regarded as an affair of the Church, somewhat akin to baptism, marriage, the administration of the sacraments, and the burial of the dead. Even in New England, which formed an exception, the evolution of the civic school from the church school was not yet complete.

The church charity-school had become, as we have seen (p. 449), a familiar institution before the Revolution. The English “Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts” (p. 449), which maintained schools in connection with the Anglican churches in the Anglican Colonies and provided an excellent grade of charity-school master, withdrew at the close of the Revolutionary War from work in this country. The different churches after the war continued their efforts to maintain their church charity-schools, though there was for a time a decrease in both their numbers and their effectiveness.

In the meantime the demand for education grew rather rapidly, and the task soon became too big for the churches to handle. For long the churches made an effort to keep up, as they were loath to relinquish in any way their former hold on the training of the young. The churches, however, were not interested in the problem except in the old way, and this was not what the new democracy wanted. The result was that, with the coming of nationality and the slow but gradual growth of a national consciousness, national pride, national needs, and the gradual development of national resources in the shape of taxable property–all alike combined to make secular instead of religious schools seem both desirable and possible to a constantly increasing number of citizens.


Between about 1810 and 1830 a number of new forces–philanthropic, political, social, economic–combined to change the earlier attitude by producing conditions which made state rather than church control and support of education seem both desirable and feasible. The change, too, was markedly facilitated by the work of a number of semi-private philanthropic agencies which now began the work of founding schools and building up an interest in education, the most important of which were: (1) the Sunday-School movement; (2) the City School Societies; (3) the Lancastrian movement; and (4) the Infant-School Societies. These will be described briefly, and their influence in awakening an educational consciousness pointed out.

THE SUNDAY-SCHOOL MOVEMENT. The Sunday School, as a means of providing the merest rudiments of secular and religious learning, had been made, through the initiative of Raikes of Gloucester (p. 617), a very important English institution for providing the beginnings of instruction for the children of the city poor. Raikes’s idea was soon carried to the United States. In 1786 a Sunday School after the Raikes plan was organized in Hanover County, Virginia. In 1787 a Sunday School for African children was organized at Charleston, South Carolina. In 1791 “The First Day, or Sunday School Society,” was organized at Philadelphia, for the establishment of Sunday Schools in that city. In 1793 Katy Ferguson’s “School for the Poor” was opened in New York, and this was followed by an organization of New York women for the extension of secular instruction among the poor. In 1797 Samuel Slater’s Factory School was opened at Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Though there had been some Sunday instruction earlier at a few places in New England, the introduction of the Sunday School from England, in 1786, marked the real beginning of the religious Sunday School in America. After the churches had once caught the idea of a common religious school on Sundays for the instruction of any one, a number of societies were formed to carry on and extend the work. The most important of these were:

1808. The Evangelical Society of Philadelphia. 1816. The Female Union for the Promotion of Sabbath Schools (New York).
1816. The New York Sunday School Union. 1816. The Boston Society for the Moral and Religious Instruction of the Poor.
1817. The Philadelphia Sunday and Adult School Union. 1824. The American Sunday School Union.

These different types of American Sunday Schools, being open to all instead of only to the poor and lowly, had a small but an increasing influence in leveling class distinctions and in making a common day school seem possible. The movement for secular instruction on Sundays, though, soon met in America with the opposition of the churches, and before long they took over the idea, superseded private initiative and control, and changed the character of the instruction from a day of secular work to an hour or so of religious teaching. The Sunday School, in consequence, never exercised the influence in educational development in America that it did in England.

THE CITY SCHOOL SOCIETIES. These were patterned after the English charity- school subscription societies, and were formed in a number of American cities during the first quarter of the nineteenth century for the purpose