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Example research essay topic: Ralph Waldo Emerson Public School System - 2,262 words

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From about 1825 until the outbreak of the civil war in 1861, the atmosphere in the nation was one of reform (Boardman, 122). There were five major reform movements present in 19 th century America. There was the Utopianism/Communitarian Movement, which established an ideal society away from present politics. Educational reforms were important in the fact of creating taxes to support the public school system, higher education for adults, and mandatory education and attendance. The Temperance Movement preached of abstinence from alcohol and the Womans Rights Movement was to improve the life of women politically, socially, and economically. It also included the strive for womens suffrage rights.

Humanitarianism was improving the lives of those less fortunate. This movement also included and was closely related to the Abolition Movement. A great deal of the spirit to reform could be credited to the Enlightenment period of the 18 th century, which was still influential in America. More recent though, was the period of Romanticism, which emphasized the goodness of nature and human kind. To all this was added the democratic spirit of equality and the goal of Utilitarianism: the achievement of the greatest happiness for the greatest number (Boardman, 123).

Secular communities arose in the mid 1800 s. The goal of these communities was to establish a new social order in society. They were religious and secular colonies where the entire population of the community shared property and work. They used idealistic's as their model rather than radical doctrines. The Harmony Society was originally established in 1805 in the county Butler, Pennsylvania. Later, in 1814, the society moved to Indiana, and then moved again to Economy, Pennsylvania in 1825.

Robert Owen founded the Society of New New Harmony, Indiana in 1825. This colony was to be a self-sufficient community, which was to exist without any currency. Other similar non-religious societies were Nashoba, Tennessee (1825) and the Zoar Community, which was founded in 1817 and lasted until 1898. The majority of these communal societies were religiously affiliated. John Humphrey Noyes founded the Perfectionists in 1839 in Vermont. They later moved to Onieda, New York where they were most prosperous in the business of steel and silverware.

The Hopedale Community was founded in Massachusetts in 1842 and lasted until 1932. Bishop Hill Colony in Illinois dates from 1848 - 1862. The Mormon Community, which was the most successful of the religious communal societies has a long history starting with Joseph Smith and his unearthing of the gold tablets. He used these tablets to write the Book of Mormon in 1827, and later in 1830 he founded a church in Kirtland, Ohio. Shortly after they relocated to Independence, Missouri where they met hostile feelings causing them to move once more to Nauvoo, Illinois.

By 1844, Nauvoo was the largest city and most prosperous in Illinois. But feelings of distrust surfaced once again and in June of 1844, Joseph Smith and his brother were arrested after they proclaimed the doctrine of polygamy as part of the Mormon order a year before. A mob broke out and Smith and his brother were lynched. Brigham Young took control of the Mormon society after their deaths and began to move his people to Great Salt Lake, Utah. By the fall of 1847, 1, 800 people had arrived in their new location. When Congress created the Utah territory shortly after in 1850, they named Young the presiding governor there.

During the mid- 1800 s the European theorist Charles Fourier was inspiring America. He was a French social philosopher. He believed in organizing people in to economic units called phalanxes with an agricultural basis. Albert Brisbane, who studied under Fourier for some time, founded the community of Red Bank, New Jersey.

This was a society where the members chose their salaries according to the repulsiveness of the occupation. This meant that a privy cleaner would earn more than a schoolteacher. But the most famous of the Fourieristic Societies was Brook Farm founded by George Ripley, which lasted from 1841 - 1847 in West Roxbury, Massachusetts. Brook Farm was transcendentalist in orientation and it rejected society standards and enlightenment thought.

The individual and the mystery of nature were important in the society and it was modeled around the thoughts of famous thinkers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville. Nathaniel Hawthorne was once a member of the experiment for a short time and he used his experience for a novel he later wrote, The Blithedale Romance (1852). In 1844, Albert Brisbane convinced Ripley to turn his experiment into a phalanx. The building for the Brook Farm community was underway when in 1846 it burned to the ground. A year later the Brook Farm Community ended. Very few of these communal societies lasted throughout the 1850 s.

Those that did were prosperous and well governed. The communal societies in the early 19 th century based their colonies on the utopian and socialist ideas that had emerged earlier in Europe. The quarter century ending in 1850 was a significant one in the field of education. Many changes took place, and in education the groundwork was laid for a complete system of free education (Boardman, 140). The struggle for free public schools, the abolition of tuition, and the passing of state laws for tax-supporting public schools were in effect as of the mid- 1800 s. It was absolutely crucial to set up educational systems in all states to keep up with the growing population.

Many obstacles though, prevented such reformers to achieve their goals for some time. Obstacles such as the control of the government and their overwhelming power; the opposition that property owners had for paying taxes for schools they were not attending; the disagreement of prominent public figures; and the competition with private schools. Nevertheless, the long hull would have to continue. As labor groups demanded for a public school system, the pressure being exerted by governmental, cultural, educational leaders, and humanitarians grew, and the progress of education in Europe was being reported, progress in education in America was inevitable. The North had a public elementary school system already, but only New England had a tax-supporting school system. The Middle States had charity schools set up for the poor.

The developing West school system was very inadequate. All the money that was to be used for improving the schools was mismanaged. Those families in the West that did chose to send their children to school were often discriminated for such book learning. Labor unions fought against the charity schools in the Middle States because they saw them as defective for learning. Wishing to reform them, they pushed for tax-supporting schools. Which is where another problem arose.

Wealthy landowners, most that sent their children to private schools, didnt want to pay taxes to public schools that they werent patronizing. But in 1832, New York set up a public elementary school system that lessened the taint of charity. Horace Mann and James Gordon Carter (both from Massachusetts), Henry Barnard (Connecticut), John D. Pierce (Michigan), and Calvin H Wiley (North Carolina) were some of the many men who campaigned for free education.

The efforts of people like this date back even to the beginning of the century. The Free (later the Public) School Society of New York City offered free educational opportunities from 1805 until it merged with the citys Board of Education in 1852. In 1827, a society was founded for the Promotion of Public Schools of Philadelphia. That same year, the Massachusetts Law of 1827 was passed.

It stated that local taxes would be paid for local public schools, but only for those districts that had 500 families or more. Those schools that didnt receive local taxes found other sources of revenue. Sometimes lotteries would take place, which were short lived since the moral attitudes of citizens changed frequently. Other sources were license fees, direct state appropriations, fines, and the sale of public lands.

In private schools, the number of children that were attending that school at one time determined the tuition. In Elementary private school systems, the monitorial system was in effect. This is when older students teach the younger students. The monitorial system helped keep tuition at one dollar per year. In 1860, the first English speaking Kindergarten was opened by Elizabeth Palmer Peabody modeled after that of the German speaking Kindergarten opened shortly before. High Schools were first introduced to Boston in 1821.

They were called the English Classical School but later renamed English High School in 1824. These high schools started supplementing the academies and they became an important part of the public school curriculum. High schools soon were the favorite form of secondary education. The Lyceum Movement originated in 1821 with Josiah Holbroke as the leader. These lyceums promoted adult education through lectures and forums. The first Lyceum was founded in Millbury, Massachusetts, 1826.

In 1839, the National American Lyceum Organization was formed in 1831 and by 1834, there were over 3, 000 lyceums which existed mostly in the north. School such as these provided an excellent education for literary reformists, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. State Universities developed greatly in the mid 1800 s, and by 1830, an elective curriculum had developed. This change allowed for students to choose other courses than the core curriculum. Specialty (graduate) schools began to emerge as an effect. The American Medical Association was founded in 1847.

Science became the important course in colleges. New Schools were founded specializing in the sciences: Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution in Troy, New York (1824), U. S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland (1845), The Sheffield Scientific School at Yale University and The Lawrence Scientific School at Harvard University (both founded in 1847), and The Chandler School at Dartmouth University (1851). As a result of the Supreme Court case of Dartmouth in 1819, 516 small colleges sprang up before 1860.

Although they were inferior to the state universities, they provided an integrated education, which was important in disciplining the American character and establishing a respect for education. By 1821, the Womens Educational Movement was underway. The first all female college, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, was established in 1832 by Mary Lyon. Other female colleges were founded in the years to follow: Elmira Female College in 1855 and Vassar Female College in 1865 both located in New York. Co-ed colleges began with Oberlin Collegiate Institute, Ohio in 1833, Antioch College, Ohio in 1853, State University of Utah in 1850, State University of Iowa in 1855, and the State University of Washington in 1861. It can be said that the most influential man in the period of educational reform is Horace Mann.

Along with James Gordon Carter, Horace Mann was on the State Board of Education in Massachusetts and was the secretary in 1837 for about 12 years. During his time on the board, he extended school facilities, secularized the curriculum, raised teachers salaries, suggested in-service training of teachers, and made their training more practical. In 1839, he founded the state-supported school in Massachusetts for teacher training. Horace Mann also believed that religion should not be taught in public schools and that the bible should only be read without comment, which created controversy with the clergy. Horace Mann was the most influential man of the century and affected education nationwide.

Henry Barnard, also was a very important man for the states of Connecticut and Rhode Island by following in the footsteps of Mann. By the year of 1833, there were 1 million citizens between the ages of 5 and 15 they were not going to school. In 1852 Massachusetts was the first state to make attendance compulsory. And by the year of 1860, compulsory education was present in every state. In fact, the population was so overwhelming that they werent enough schools for everyone who wanted an education.

In 1850, there were about 1 million white adult illiterates in the U. S. This started the Common School revival where thousands of new schools opened. Alcoholism in the 1800 s was seen as a major social problem. The word temperance means moderation. Used with alcohol, the Temperance Movements goal was to preach about the moderation of liquors.

Societies first wanted to gain personal pledges from people for moderation, they then pushed for abstinence, and eventually prohibition by law. The movement at first was only for the moderation of distilled spirits but after 1836, it included all alcohol. The Temperance Movement also turned into a prohibition movement, as states wanted legislation to stop the sale of alcohol entirely. Mostly women who suffered the effects of their drunken husbands led this movement, but factory owners who suffered huge absentee lists on Mondays also supported it. The church also participated in the movement because they felt that drinking on Sundays was a violation of the Sabbath. Billy J.

Clark, a physician, founded the first temperance Society in Moreau, Saratoga County, New York in 1808. On February 13, 1826, the American Society for the Promotion of Temperance was founded in Boston. It was the first of National Temperance Organizations. Founded by 16 men, it included a body of clergy and laymen.

The American Society for the Promotion of Temperance became nationwide. Their duty was to preach about abstinence of all strong liquors. After 1826, 11 journals were printed containing sermons on temperance and abstinence. By 1835, through books, sermons, and conventions, there were one million members in the organization.

The annual convention of the American Temperance Union was held in 1836 and was sponsored by the American Temperance S...


Free research essays on topics related to: horace mann, 19 th century, board of education, public school system, ralph waldo emerson

Research essay sample on Ralph Waldo Emerson Public School System

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