The last quarter of the nineteenth century saw a sweeping victory for the educational ideas associated with Horace Mann and the friends of education. Many normal schools started to train elementary teachers. Colleges and universities added education departments with graduate programs aimed at producing leaders for school systems. As early as 1874, a Michigan supreme court judge indicated the widespread adoption as one which was part of a tax-funded, compulsory, graded entity belonging to a bureaucratic system. 1
While these developments were taking place, Americans found themselves in a social crisis centered on several problems: (1) the growth of big business and urbanization versus agrarianism and rugged individualism; (2) inequalities in the distribution of wealth resulting in distinct class divisions; (3) political corruption and the apparent breakdown of moral and ethical codes--especially in the upper levels of society; and (4) the denial of political and economic fights to blacks, women, and other minority groups. 2
Slavery was legally ended, but severe racial and ethnic prejudice remained. Industrialism had brought financial rewards to a small proportion of second-generation immigrants, such as Chicago's Phillip Armour, George Pullman, and Cyrus McCormick, but overcrowded conditions in the cities were intensified by the steady flow of immigrants. In Chicago the number of immigrants skyrocketed to 200,000 a year, and by 1890, 80 percent of Chicago's population was foreign-born. The Haymarket Riot of 1886 signaled serious tensions between the capitalists and immigrant workers. The number of farms tripled between 1860 and 1910, but by 1900 farmers had a smaller share of the nation's wealth than they did in 1860.