19th Century Education
The Common School Movement of the 1840’s, led by Henry Barnard and Horace Mann, was the beginning of an organized school system in America. Their goal was to create more opportunities for children by establishing a free elementary education through the use of public funds. By the early 1900’s, there were compulsory school attendance laws for elementary age children.
In 1841, the McGuffey readers were published and widely used as a public education textbook for young students. It was very moralistic in tone and taught within its lessons goodness, honesty and kindness. Wrttien by Rev. William Holmes McGuffey, these readers are a vital part of the history of American education.
There was tremendous growth in the number of American colleges by the end of the 19th century and the early twentieth century. Dozens of colleges such as Stanford University, Vanderbilt and Duke University were newly established by endowments from wealthy philanthropists. This led to the availability of a college education to many more young adults.
Many 19th century magazine articles have been written about the public education system. Journal articles are plentiful about college fraternities and sororities, and collegiate athletic events.
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