History 4321/Children’s Studies 401

Children’s Issues in the 19th Century

September 7, 2005



I. Antebellum Reform

1.                           Interpreting the Jacksonian Era (first American party organization and “Washington System”; “government at a distance and out of sight”; Jacksonian transformations—popular politics, economic populism; drawbacks—race, Southern dominance, inconsistent view of government)


2.                           American Whigs (federalism and formation of party; broadened conception of politics—grassroots activists, role of establishment, regional basis, 2nd Great Awakening; emergence of Conscience Whigs; key issues: abolitionism—Garrison, suffrage—Anthony, anti-imperialism—Collamer, temperance; political and ideological weaknesses of Whigs)


3.                           Republicans (partisan realignment and role of Know-Nothings—changing American demographics; emergence of Republicans; free soil, free labor, free men; tensions within Republican coalition; role of federal government)


4.                           Common Elements (cult of constitutionalism; role of religion; respect for local customs; tensions within coalition)




II. Education

1.      Public Education (state roles and regional differences; state movements and question of compulsion; reform coalition—role of anti-Catholicism and Know-Nothings; role of Mann; broad agenda—length of school year, teacher training, libraries, financial support; nature of public education, role of religion)


2.      Federal Legislature (Civil War Congress and GOP agenda; Morrill Act and land-grant colleges; understanding of universities in mid-19th century America; role of religion and government)




III. Gilded Age

1.      Legacy of Civil War (Skocpol thesis; expansion of federal government; role of party politics; decline of idealism; changing American demographics; expansion compulsory public education; changing nature of American higher education)


2.      Issues of the Day (civil service reform and government professionalism; tariff and question of governmental revenue; federalism and question of governmental power; Jim Crow and question of race)