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I        The Puritan Doctrine .

                   1.1. Puritanism vs. Presbyterianism ..

                   1.2. Calvinism – as a form of Puritan theology ..

II       Nathaniel Howthorne’s Puritan World ……………

                   2.1. The Scarlet Letter ………………………………….

                   2.2. The Fall of Puritanism – The House of the Seven 

                                                                     Gables (1858) …………

III      The Rise of Transcendentalism ……………………

                   3.1. Philosophical development and applications ……

                   3.2. Religious beliefs …………………………………

IV      The Birth of  “Reason” ………………………………

                   4.1. Ralph Waldo Emerson’s  “Self-Reliance” ………..

                   4.2. Henry Thorean’s “Walden”………………………..

CONCLUSIONS…………………………………..… iii


BIBLIOGRAPHY ………………………………….…vi

APPENDIX  …………………………………..…….….vii

                        1. THE FORMAL SYSTEM OF E[K3] [K4] DUCATION

      Americans have shown a great concern for education since early colonial times. The first settlers, in fact, included an unusually high proportion of educated people. In the Massachusetts Bay colony in the early 1600s, as the British historian Rose has pointed out, ''there was an average of one university man to every 40 or 50 families-much higher than in Old England''. Some of these men, many of them graduates of Cambridge, came together and in 1636 founded Harvard College, 140 years before American independence. Other early institutions of higher learning were the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, established in 1693, and Yale, funded in 1701.Before the Revolution in 1776, nine colleges had already been opened in the colonies, most of them later becoming universities.

      From the 1640s on, Massachusetts required all towns with more than 50 families to provide a schoolmaster at public expense. In doing so, it established the world's first universal and compulsory free schools. Other colonies also made provisions for free public schools. In the course of the 17th century, for instance, free schools have been established in a number of places such as New Heaven, Hartford, New London, and Fairfield. Many academies (schools offering a classical education as more as practical training) opened throughout the next century, including the one established by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia in 1751.

       The importance of education in American life was also reflected in the Northwest Ordinance of 1785 which set guidelines for organizing the new lands to the west. The movement for free public schools gained in greatest momentum in the 1830s. By 1850, every state had provided for a system of free public schools open to all and paid for by public taxes. By the same year, state supported colleges and universities had already been established in many states.

       Most historians agree that a great deal of the economic, political, scientific, and cultural progress America has made in its relatively short history is due to its commitment to the ideal of equal opportunity. This is the ideal of educating as many Americans as possible, to the best of their abilities. From the early times on, especially in the northern and western states, the public policy was to produce an educated people. In these states, the large majority of adults were literate at a time when an education was still denied to most Europeans. There can be little doubt that American education, in its aim to provide equality of opportunity as well as excellence, has raised the overall level of education of Americans. It has encouraged more Americans than ever before to study for advanced degrees and to become involved in specialized research. The belief that the future of society depends on the quantity and quality of its educated citizens is widely held. It explains why a great many Americans are still willing to give more money to education, even during times of economic difficulty.

            1.1 Development of National Sy[K5] stems of Education

      In the 19th century, governments in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, and other Europeans countries organized national systems of public education. The United States, Canada, Argentina, Uruguay, and other countries in North and South America also established national education systems based largely on European models.

       The national system of formal education in the United States developed in the 19th century. It differed from the education system of other Western societies in three fundamental respects. First, Americans were more inclined to regard education as a solution to various social problems second, because they had this confidence in the power of education, Americans provided more years of schooling for a larger percentage of the population than other countries. Third, educational institutions were primarily governed by local authorities rather than by federal ones.

       The age of Enlightenment in the 18th century produced important changes in education and educational theory. During the Enlightenment, also called the ''Age of Reason'', educators believed that people could improve their lives and society by using their reason, their power of critical thinking. The Enlightenment's ideas had a significant impact on the American Revolution (1775-1783) an early educational policy in the United States. In particular, American philosopher and scientist Benjamin Franklin emphasized the value of utilitarian and scientific education in American schools. Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, stressed the importance of civic education to the citizens of a democratic nation. The Enlightenment principles that considered education as an instrument of social reform and improvement remain fundamental characteristics of American education policy. After the American Revolution, the founders of the United States argued that education was essential for the prosperity and survival of the new nation.

        Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of the Independence, proposed that Americans give a high priority to a ''crusade against ignorance''. Jefferson was the first American leader to suggest creating a system of free schools for all persons that would publicly supported through taxes. In 1779, he proposed an education plan that would have supported free schooling for all children in the state of Virginia for three years. The best students from this group would continue in school at public expense through adolescence. The most advanced of these students would go on the publicly funded colleges. Jefferson's proposal was never enacted and his idea of selecting the best and brightest students for special advantage failed to gain widespread support. However, Jefferson's plans for universal education and for publicly funded schools formed the basis of education systems developed in the 19th century. Until the 1840s American education was not a system at all, but a disjointed collection of local, regional, and usually private institutions. The extent of schooling and the type of education available depended on the resources and values of the particular town or city, on the activities of religious groups seeking to further their ends through schools and colleges, and on many other private groups-such as philanthropic associations and trade organizations-that created different types of schools for different reasons. Most institutions only provided educational opportunities for boys from wealthy families. Public governing bodies were rarely involved in the financing and control of schools.

              1.2 Elementary Education and the Common School   

  The American school system originated in the 1830s and 1840s, when a new generation of education reformers attacked the tradition of disjointed and localized education. Prominent American educators, such as Horace Mann in Massachusetts and Henry Bernard in Connecticut, sought to increase educational opportunity for all children by creating the common school movement.

        When Jefferson died in 1862, the nation stood on threshold of stupendous transformation. During the ensuing quarter century it expanded enormously in space and population. Old cities grew larger and new ones more numerous. The era saw the coming of the steamboat and the railroad. Commerce flourished and so did agriculture. The age witnessed the rise of the common man with the right to vote and hold office. It was a time of overflowing optimism, of dreams of perpetual progress, moral uplift and social betterment. Open freely to every child and upheld by public funds, the common school was to be a lay institution under the sovereignty of the state, the archetype of the present-day American public school. Bringing the common school into being was not easy. Against it bulked the doctrine that any education which excluded religious instruction was godless. Nor had there been any great recession of the contention that education was not a proper governmental function and for a state to engage therein was an intrusion into parental privilege. Still more distasteful was the fact that public schooling occasion a rise in taxes.

        The term ''common'' meant several things to the reformer. Their reform efforts focused on elementary education, on the idea that all young children should be schooled, and on the notion that the content of education should be the same for everyone. The common school reformers optimistically argued that education could transform all youth into virtuous, literate citizens. They suggested that education could build a distinctive new nation that would be better equipped to compete with other countries, and appealed to people's fears about growing economic and religious tensions in the United States as immigration of various ethnic groups increased. The reformers believed that common schooling could create common bonds among an increasingly diverse population. It could also preserve social stability and prevent crime and poverty. Common school advocates contended that free elementary education should be available to everyone, that it should be financed by public funds, and it should be conducted in schools accountable not only to local school boards but also to state governments. They also argued for the establishment of compulsory school attendance laws for children of elementary school age.


                                                            One-room Schoolhouse

One-room schoolhouse are usually associated with earlier eras in U.S. history. A few, however, like the one at Living Farm, are still in use. This farm aims to reconstruct pioneer life in Iowa.

        The common school also mustered some formidable support, and finally, in 1837, liberal Massachusetts lawmakers successfully carried through a campaign for a state board of education. It is especially to Horace Mann, the board's first secretary, that Massachusetts credits its educational regeneration. To gather data on educational conditions in Massachusetts, Mann revoked the entire commonwealth. He lectured and wrote reports, depicting his dire findings with unsparing candor. There were outcries against him, but when he resigned, after 12 years, he could take pride in an extraordinary achievement. During his incumbency, school appropriations almost doubled. Teachers were awarded larger wages; in return they were to render better service. To help them Massachusetts established three state normal schools, the first in America. Supervision was made professional, the school year was extended and public high schools were augmented. Finally, the common school, under the authority of the state, though still beset by difficulties, slowly became the rule.

       What Horace Mann accomplished in Massachusetts, Henry Bernard, achieved in Connecticut and Rhode Island. More reserved than Mann, Henry Bernard has come down the ages as the ''scholar of the educational awakening''. He became the first president of the ''Association for the Advancement of Education'' and editor of its ''American journal of Education'', in whose 30 volumes he discussed virtually every important pedagogical idea of the 19th century. He led the common school movement during the late 1800s.

        By the end of the 19th century the reformers had largely achieved their objective. Free public education at the elementary level was available for all American children. Massachusetts passed the first compulsory school attendance laws in 1852, followed by New York in 1853. By 1918, all states had passed laws requiring children to attend elementary school. Not everyone accepted publicly funded and controlled schools as the only way to provide education. The most significant opposition came from members of the Roman Catholic Church who believed that the moral values taught in public schools biased toward Protestantism. Arguing that proper education could not separate intellectual development from moral development, Catholics created their own separate school system. In 1925, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in  Pierce v. Society of Sisters  that states could not compel children to attend public schools, and that children could attend private school instead. In 1994, 11 percent of American students in elementary and secondary schools attended private institutions, and most of this attended Catholic schools.


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