From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia

By Peter Wallenstein | Go to book overview

14
ALL THE CHILDREN OF THE STATE

IN THE 1870s, Joseph E. Brown presided over the Atlanta Board of Education. Though the former governor's jurisdiction had shrunk, his concept of public education had grown. In 1858 Brown had called for common schools for "every free white child in the State" and had asserted, "Let there be no aristocracy there but an aristocracy of color and of conduct." In his new position, Brown declared that schools were designed for "all the children of the city, both rich and poor, white and colored."14

New currents in postwar Georgia, as elsewhere in the South, reshaped elementary schooling and higher education. After serious disruption throughout the years of war and Reconstruction, educational services expanded until, by the late 1880s, they had far outstripped their prewar dimensions, even for whites. As in the case of the welfare institutions, however, even more striking changes took place as blacks entered Georgia's schools both as students and as teachers, albeit on a segregated basis. All these changes came in the face of a serious decline in the nontax public revenue that had facilitated the prewar rise in Georgia's social spending.


The Reconstruction of Elementary Education

No smooth development of a new, biracial public school system occurred. In 1865, the system of public schools white Georgians had enjoyed at the beginning of the war lay in shambles, and whites did not anticipate that blacks would be included when schools were restored. How to provide schools even for whites was not at all clear, but economic devastation had contradictory effects. Financial support for any school system became more difficult to secure, yet many parents could no longer afford to send their children to private schools. Thus a broader base of support for public spending on education developed.

Congressional legislation declared blacks to be citizens and gave black men the vote. Traditional arguments regarding the necessity for educating voters now applied to blacks as well as whites, and the votes blacks now enjoyed gave them purchasing power in the political marketplace. Moreover, the Civil

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From Slave South to New South: Public Policy in Nineteenth-Century Georgia
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Maps, Figures, and Tables ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - Society And Politics 7
  • 2 - State Power And Tax-Free Finance 23
  • 3 - The Accommodation Of The Public 32
  • 4 - Tax Upon The Time And Labor Of Our Citizens 40
  • 5 - Creating A New Revenue System 49
  • 6 - What Disposition Shall Be Made Of The Money? 61
  • 7 - Great Objects Of The State's Charity 74
  • 8 - Depriving A Whole Race 86
  • 9 - Rich Man's War 99
  • 10 - Rich Man's Fight 110
  • 11 - Confederate Context 121
  • 12 - Power And Policy 131
  • 13 - Freed Men And Citizens 140
  • 14 - All The Children Of The State 152
  • 15 - Higher Education For A New South 160
  • 16 - Railroads, Debt, And Reconstruction 170
  • 17 - A Tax Base Without Slaves 183
  • 18 - Conscripts, Convicts, And Good Roads 196
  • Epilogue: From Eighteenth Century To Twentieth 208
  • Essay On Primary Sources 215
  • Notes 219
  • Bibliography 257
  • Index 273
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