The American Whigs: An Anthology

By Daniel Walker Howe | Go to book overview

3
EDUCATION AS A MEANS OF SOCIAL CONTROL

Horace Mann


THE NECESSITY OF EDUCATION IN A REPUBLICAN GOVERNMENT

The name of Horace Mann ( 1796- 1859) will always be prominent in the annals of American education. The work that made him famous was accomplished between 1837 and 1848 when, as secretary of the newly created Massachusetts Board of Education, he completely reorganized the public school system of the state and founded the first teachers' college in America. Mann's achievement became a model for educational administrators throughout the country. But Mann was also involved in many other activities, including temperance and the movement to provide hospitalization for the insane. He fought not only against slavery but against racial segregation as well. In 1848 he was elected to the House of Representatives to fill the vacancy created by John Quincy Adams' death. Later Mann became president of Antioch, one of the first coeducational colleges.

Like the two previous selections, this one discusses the function of educational institutions in society. But while Biddle and Beecher addressed themselves to higher learning, Mann is concerned with the common schools. He gave this lecture after his first year on the Board of Education. The fascinating mixture of a conservative rationale with liberal measures is typical of Whig reform.

I venture, my friends, at this time, to solicit your attention, while I attempt to lay before you some of the relations which we bear to the cause of Education, because we are the citizens of a Republic; and thence to deduce some of the reasons, which, under our political institutions, make the proper training of the rising generation the highest earthly duty of the risen.

____________________

SOURCE. Horace Mann, "The Necessity of Education in a Republican Government" ( 1838), Life and Works of Horace Mann, ed. Mary Mann( Cambridge, Mass., 1867), II, 143-188.

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