February 23, 2004

New Interpretation of American common school movement

I am working on a popular history of the beginnings of the common school movement in the U.S. Most of my research is done and my tentative conclusions differ from most of the interpretations that I have read to date. My findings are probably closest to Carl Kaestle (Pillars of the Republic). I extend his focus from Protestant ideology to examine the importance of Calvinist beliefs, since most of the key leaders of the movement in the Ohio valley from 1815-1855 were Presbyterian.

My findings differ in four ways. My narrative is more western - the population center of the U.S. was dramatically moving west in the period. It is more rural -urban, industrial America was relatively small in comparison to rural, agrarian America, even at the end of the period I study. And the common school movement that I have studied is far more religiously-motivated than some of secular reasons posited to explain the first free public schools. The fourth reason is that I have "mapped" the political balance of power in several key states onto the passage of key legislation in those states and found a good
correlation between the two. It appears that a dedicated, small minority of evangelical Christians were able to push through enabling legislation at times when their political power gave them the most leverage. When their power waned too much, educational legislation was reversed.

While my work is intended for a popular history audience, I would like the opportunity to receive comments, criticism, suggestions from scholars who work in this area. At present, I am working up proposals for papers at the History of Education Society meeting and the Midwest History of Education Society meeting. If any one has any suggestions, please let me know, either on or off the list. thomas_hagedorn@excite.com

Posted by Thomas_Hagedorn at 03:16 PM

February 05, 2004


I've noticed a number of searches of the site in the last few days. I'm glad this has stoked interest! But since there are right now only 17 entries, after less than a week of going public, I suspect there have to be more people submitting information and fewer trying to retrieve information to get the right long-term balance. At the moment, you're more likely to hit entries from my personal weblog than from the History of Education and Childhood collective web log/resource site. You're all welcome to browse my blog, but I suspect that's not what the searches are looking for.

The left-hand strip does list recent entries by category, and clicking on the category label will load the page with all entries from that category.

Posted by sdorn at 04:13 PM

February 02, 2004

Anthology on colonial children and youth

James Marten, Marquette University, is soliciting contributions for an anthology on children in colonial North America, which is to initiate a new series, Children and Youth in America, to be published by NYU Press. Essays will examine the unique experiences of European, African, and Native American children and youth in North America between the early 16th and mid-18th centuries. Proposals will be considered on topics related to the British colonies as well as to the Spanish colonies in Florida and the Southwest and to the French colonies in Canada and the Great Lakes region.

Acceptable topics will include but will not be limited to: raising, educating, and caring for children; children as slaves and as workers; the intersection of racial and ethnic cultures; differences and similarities in the experiences of girls and boys; and coming of age. Whenever possible and appropriate, the points of view of children and youth should be presented. Although interdisciplinary approaches are welcomed and, indeed, encouraged, the essays need to be framed with a historical sensibility. Final essays will run an estimated 6-8000 words, including notes.

The deadline for proposals is March 31, 2004. Interested scholars should email their one-page proposals, along with brief c.v.'s, directly to Marten, who is editor of both the series and the proposed anthology. His email address is james.marten@marquette.edu. Final versions of the essays chosen for the anthology will be due on October 1, 2004.

Please contact the editor directly with questions.

Posted by Jim at 03:10 PM