Education in the 1800s



Education had an emphasis on many different aspects during the time prior to the Civil War. There was a certain irony that set the mode of this time making things that were said irrelevant to the actions that were taken. The paradoxes of education in Pre civil war America, are evidenced in subject matter, gender, class and race, as well as purpose.
American education developed from European intellectual traditions and institutions transplanted to the new world and modified by contact among different colonial groups and between new settlers and indigenous peoples. The English majority had the most influence on education. In New England, also including the 13 colonies, the English language, laws, and customs had become the complete basis in colonial educational practice. (Cremin313). Education for Americans had been a problem ever since its beginning. Many people agreed with James Madison that “All people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” Many people felt that school was good and necessary, but were concerned about the cost. (Wright, Fowler 187).
English Protestantism became the leading aspect for colonial education aspirations. Piety combined with devotion to vocation became the aim of education for the individual, and social perfectionism combined with an aggressive evangelism became the aim of education for the community. (Cremin 313-314). The necessity of being able to read the bible was one of the great motivations for schooling among protestant people. The key to salvation, Protestants believed, was to be found in the individuals reading of the scriptures, and in order to do this, everyone had to have enough knowledge to read the bible. (Wright 133-134)
Family, above all, was the most important institution in both socialization and education. Families of the new world had a great organization in relationships in education and scriptural readings. Fathers were responsible for educating their sons or daughters and even apprentices or indentured servants living in their homes. With the help of their wives and other relatives of the family, fathers were able to teach their children how to read, or perform other practices that would help them in their everyday lives. They also wanted to install a sense of duty, morality, example, and discipline. (Cremin 314). Well to do families hired tutors for their children and sometimes shared their services with neighbors. Less fortunate people living in the back woods regions might have to do without schooling or get what they could from itinerant school masters and circuit- riding persons. (Wright 135)
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries the family was much more than a sense of background, love and support. The family participated in many functions. Families were factories, farms helping to grow food, schools teaching their relatives about education, religious centers reading the bible and going to church, hospital, jails and almshouses. Since family shared an enormous part in education, education was mainly associated with most economic and social activities. (Cremin 314)
The first formal schools existed in the 1630’s. By 1635 The Boston Latin schools was established. The Boston Latin School was considered the first town supported school with a continuous history. (Cremin 314). The Boston Latin School is one of the most famous to this day. Citizens of Boston hired a schoolmaster to teach Latin in the school. (Wright 140) The school intended to advance literacy so that all could possess “Knowledge of the scriptures.”(Cremin 314).
Although schools during the 19th century seemed to show a separation between religion and secularism, there were Pro-Christianity communities that taught an immense amount of religion.
Church should have been just a place where families would gather together when they pleased. A place where people can pray on their own time, and feel a sense of separation between what went on in their everyday lives and what went on in their holy lives, but that is not the way it was.
According to one view, in earlier days, children needed to be justified by Christianity and the children of light were waiting for the word of god to bring them to salvation, and that it was the duty of the colonists to teach them to read the bible and learn Christian ways. (Wright 135). In 1642 the general court passed a law that all masters of apprentices