Achievements Of The 19th Century:
Exploration And Discovery
Medical Science, Hygiene, And Surgery
Printing And Publishing
Read More Articles About: Achievements Of The 19th Century
( Originally Published Early 1900's )
In no direction has there been greater progress during the past Century than in education. The old-fashioned school, in which the sons of the well-to-do were taught as little learning as possible by badly educated masters, usually of the type of Squeers, is a thing of the past. And the greatest reform has been in the direction of the popularization of education. Before the beginning of the Century the children of the poor were for the most part barred from attending even such schools as there were. Charity schools of various types existed, but the state did not seem to realize that one of its greatest duties was to promote the intelligence of its citizens. With the extension of the free-school system there has been a great change in methods of teaching. College education has been improved, schools for instruction in agriculture industrial arts and the sciences have been established. The blind, and the deaf and dumb have been educated, and women have been given an opportunity to acquire as much knowledge as may be possessed by their brothers. These changes have been so gradual that their character and effect has almost escaped popular notice.
"The Nineteenth Century," says Lavasseur, "is the first which has systematized and generalized the education of the people for the value of education in itself." It is true that laws had been promulgated before the year 1800 regarding public education, but these laws, generally speaking, were inoperative, and if some nations were more advanced than others, it is still a fact that at the opening of the Century a vast majority of the people 0f the civilized world could neither read nor write.
One of the reasons for the growth of popular education has been the spread of democratic ideas and of the application of industry to science. It began to dawn upon the people how profitable it would be for each inhabitant of a country to be able to communicate with or receive communications from others through ability to read and write. This ability once gained and used, would break down the barriers which cut off a large part of the people from the influence of the current of the intellectual life of the Nation, and also in a measure would efface the inequality which is caused by the neglect to provide any kind of instruction for the masses. There were charity schools supported by the churches or other charitable organizations before the beginning of the Century, but these were few and far between. Whatever education was given was granted as a boon. To-day education is regarded as a right in a civilized country, and an enlightened government appreciates the fact that the illiterate cannot become good citizens. Mental development leads to moral development and influences physical improvement.
Since I801 the government of every civilized country has either enacted a law or taken measures for the general introduction of public education. In this work, if the United States has not always led, it has made the most progress, until, in 1897, there were 14,652,492 children enrolled in the common schools of the United States. Yet during the period between the revolution and in the early years of the Century the schools of the United States were poor and the number of people who could read or write was small. The constitution of Pennsylvania of 1790 provided that schools should be established "in such a manner that the poor may be taught gratis," but for twenty-six years the provision was disregarded and the money for education spent upon academies for the classes rather than elementary schools for the masses. Until as late as 1829 indigent parents had to publicly confess their poverty in order to secure free education for their children. The first state to establish a common school fund was Connecticut, in 1795, New York following in 1805, and Massachusetts in 1834. The growth of the idea of public education was slow and in some of the Southern states, free school systems supported by the state did not exist until after the war of secession. When once the benefits of free education became apparent the idea spread. Now the little red school house is omnipresent, although the report of the superintendent of census in 1890 said that as late as 1840 "Massachusetts was most singly conspicuous in the general maintenance of free schools." To-day in all the states education is gratuitous in primary and gram-mar schools and in some, although not all, in high schools, while there are free universities in many of the states. In-deed there is nothing in the United States so free as education. In 1867 the Department of Education, afterwards made a bureau of the Department of the Interior, was formed. While the National Government has no control over the matter of education, enormous aid has been given by the great land grants for educational purposes in the Western states.
Compulsory attendance at schools dates from 1802 in Bavaria, and, difficult as it is to justly award credit for the first general system of free schools, it would seem that Bavaria is entitled to it. Laws regarding public instruction were enacted by Holland as early as 1801, and the ordinance of 1819 in Prussia made attendance compulsory, while other German states adopted the same idea at about that time. Free school systems were created in the Swiss cantons between 1830 and 1848; Sweden's organic education law was promulgated in 1842 and Norway gave effect to a similar law in 1848. During the first half of the Nineteenth Century there were school laws in some of the Italian states, and under Louis Phillippe free schools were introduced in France.
While church schools had existed in England the progress of popular education was slow. Grants had been given to schools since 1833, but the commission under the Duke of Newcastle reported in 1861 that the existing system reached but one-eighth part of the population, and the attendance of even this number was irregular, and that even in the best schools not more than one-fourth of the scholars were successfully educated. To this investigation was due the elementary education act of 1870, by which for the first time the English Government assumed the responsibility of securing adequate accommodation in public schools for all children of school age in England and Wales. The territory was divided into school board districts, provision made for the election of boards and the local taxes made contributory to the work. Through the operations of this act in six years the school attendance was doubled. The present English system includes two distinct classes of schools, board and voluntary, the former established by boards elected by the tax-payers, and the latter chiefly church schools, but including also a small number of private undenominational schools. The increase in the number of children in attendance at the schools of Great Britain has been from 884,234 in 1860 to 5,015,845 in 1896.
Some of the British colonies were in advance of the mother country in the matter of education: for instance, the fundamental law of public instruction in Quebec went into effect in 1841, and in Ontario in the same year. Colonies under European control, such as Algeria, Australasia, and India have given children the benefits of free education by the state. During the second half of the present Century almost all the Spanish-American Republics established school systems modelled partly on that of the United States. With the growth of occidental ideas in Japan, came the public school system, established by the Mikado in 1872.
It is not alone that education has been made free throughout the civilized world and wherever civilization is greatest there can be found the greatest educational advantages but there has been a marked improvement in the methods of instruction. Time was not long ago when the teacher, as a rule, were grossly ignorant. As late as 1820 the most rudimentary knowledge of arithmetic, together with reading, was all that was taught in the free schools of the United States, while writing was taught to but few. At that time the goose quill was the only implement known to the writing master, and he spent a large proportion of his time in preparing the pens for the use of his pupils. A few of these schoolmasters were men of great scholarship for their day, but the average pedagogue was a ponderous creature austere, dogmatic, terrible in his wrath, and depending chiefly upon the rod, not only for his authority, but for his success in imparting instruction. The covenant made between Johanness von Eckklen and the town of Flatbush, Long Island, may stand as sample of the duties required of a schoolmaster in colonial times. In addition to his regular duties in school he agreed to be chorister of the church, keep the church clean, dig graves, and toll the bell. These teachers used the birch often to cover their own deficiencies, and the disappearance of flogging from the schools has come with the improvement in pedagogy. The first normal school in the United States was founded at Lexington, Mass., in 1839; since then the number of public normal schools supported by the state or municipal governments has increased to 140, with nearly 35,000 students, and there are also private normal schools with 11,000 students. These schools have trained the teachers to make the best of their opportunities for the education 0f the young, and nowadays the important duty of teaching is not left to men who can do nothing else, as was the case not much longer than a half Century ago. These normal trained teachers have brought the best methods to their aid in their work. The methods are so numerous that we cannot go into detail here. The comfortable, well lighted school-room of to-day and the excellent school-books are among the results. It is difficult to make easily appreciable comparisons in a few words, but it may be said that the schools are more carefully graded, fewer pupils assigned to each teacher, much oral instruction, scientific study, and physical exercise introduced, so that while the school year has been shortened, holidays multiplied, and the hours of school attendance lessened, yet in the short school year of to-day more than double the ground is covered that was covered in the long school year of the olden time.
A late development of the Century is the kindergarten, although it had its germ at the beginning of the Century, and it has done much to revolutionize the old way of learning by rote. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi's ideas are to-day the foundation of all the Nineteenth Century theory of juvenile education. Pestalozzi was a quixotic Swiss, who burned with desires to benefit humanity, and believed that it could best be done by education. Illiterate, ill-dressed, a bad speaker, he was utterly unfit for the every-day business of life, and all his undertakings resulted in practical failure. But he awoke men to a sense of responsibility to childhood, aroused the admiration of the world by his ideas, and his principles are being carried out to-day, even though it is only within the last few decades that they have met with universal acceptance. Early in the Century Pestalozzi published his book, "How Gertrude Educates Her Children." It is the recognized exposition of the Pestalozzian method and sets forth that the development of human nature should be in dependence upon natural laws with which it is the business of every good education to comply ; in order to establish a good teaching method it is necessary to learn first to understand nature, its general processes in man, and its particular processes in each individual, observation, the result of which is a spontaneous perception of things is the method by which all objects of knowledge are brought home to us. This last idea contains the germ of the kindergarten system. Pestalozzi endeavored to put his theories into practice in his own day and labored to educate the ragged children of the poor. To-day those theories have gained almost universal acceptance. They have influenced the whole system of pedagogics and, developed by Froebel, they form the corner stone of the kindergarten system. The progress of the system was slow. The Ronges established the first kindergarten in Germany in 1849 and in England in 1851. In 1870 there were only five kindergartens in the United States, but since then they have be-come a part of the school system of most of the cities, and in 1897 there were 1,157. Even in Japan kindergartens now exist. As to the benefits of the kindergarten training, the strongest evidence is that out of 10,000 children of the toiling classes who received kindergarten education in one of the largest cities many years ago, only one has been arrested and he was discharged.
Higher education was more greatly developed at the beginning of the Century than was primary education. While high schools were lacking there were academies in the civilized countries and many of the colleges are centuries old. But there has been a great improvement in college education. The standard for admission has been gradually raised and the course is more thorough. The student in the college is able to receive the results of the ripest scholarship of the world, from men who have aided in its progress and thus new generations of scientists and thinkers are being constantly trained to aid in the development of mankind. The improvements cannot here be traced in detail, but in the United States, which will do as a type of those of the world, there has been an increasing freedom in elective studies enabling the student to follow his bent and specialize his studies, laboratory methods of instruction, lecture instruction, researches in and a growing conviction that the university is primarily a place for instruction and not for the formation of moral or religious character.
The growth in the number of colleges and universities in the United States has been phenomenal. There were about thirty in the United States in 1801, and they probably did not have more than three thousand students, who studied for the most part such courses as are now pursued at academies. In 1897 there were 472, with 155,091 en-rolled students in all their departments. Not only have the number of colleges enormously increased, but the magnificent endowments and public grants have placed funds at their disposal which have vastly increased their usefulness.
A feature of the universities has been what is known as university extension. The purpose of the movement, which was originated by the University of Cambridge, England, in 1872, is to extend the advantages of university instruction by lectures and classes to those who are en-gaged in the regular occupations of life. Its success in England led the University of Pennsylvania to institute a similar plan in the United States at Philadelphia, and its success in Philadelphia led to its gradual dissemination throughout the country.
Another development of the Century has been the establishment of agricultural, commercial, scientific, and industrial schools. The first agricultural school was that established by Count Fellenberg at Hofwyl in Switzerland in 1799. The idea then sown has borne fruit, until now agricultural schools exist in all of the civilized nations.
Germany and Switzerland led in the establishment of technical schools, which owed their origin to the endeavor to train men to compete with those trained in British work-shops. Little technical training could be had in a university in those days, although scientific schools are a part of nearly every such institution. Among the earliest developments of the Century are the polytechnic schools at Zurich, Munich, Vienna, Stuttgart, Hanover, Dresden, Berlin, and Moscow. The first of them all was the Ecole Polytechnique of Paris, but that was intended primarily to train men for the artillery and engineering corps of the French army.
Civil engineers had to go abroad to study before the Rennselaer Polytechnic Institute was established at Troy, N. Y., in 1824, with no dead or foreign language in its curriculum. In 1826, twenty-five students were registered, while now more than 20,000 are attending the courses. The Sheffield Scientific School of Yale University was established in 1847, the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard in 1848, and the Chandler Scientific School of Dartmouth in 1852. The land grants of 1862 by Congress encouraged this system of education and scientific courses were added to the state universities, while Columbia organized its School of Mines, Washington University of St. Louis its School of Engineering, and in 1861 the Massachusetts Institute of Technology opened its doors. In 1871 the Stevens Institute of Technology was founded at Hoboken, and the Green School of Science was established as a branch of Princeton College. The growth from that day has been steady until now, in practical scientific education, the United States ranks with the best in the world.
Trade schools, designed to develope trained craftsmen, are new, and in these Germany and Switzerland also led. In Germany there are now schools to teach every trade; there are building schools, weaving schools, metal working schools, schools for designers, wood-carvers, molders, founders, turners, pressers, engravers, etchers, gilders, etc., etc. The industrial arts have been developed to achieve wonderful results. France, Austria, Belgium, and Holland have also excellent industrial schools. In Great Britain the first school of design was opened at Somerset House in 1837, and since then many scientific and technical schools for industrial education have been established. Trade schools in the United States began with the New York trade schools, founded by Robert T. Auchmutty in 1881, which were commenced simply as night schools. Since then about a dozen similar schools like the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, the Textile School, and the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia, and the Armour Institute in Chicago, have been established, while many of the scientific schools supply to some degree the desire for a technical training for those who wish to gain knowledge for application in trades.
Commercial education by the state has not been developed to as great extent in the United States as in Germany and elsewhere on the European Continent. Yet many good business schools have been established in the larger cities where young men and women are taught the rudiments of commercial education.
Manual training in the schools owes its introduction largely to the success of the ideas of Froebel. The laboratory method of instruction was first applied to the mechanic arts in the Imperial Technical School at Moscow under its director, Victor della Vos, in 1868. But manual training or slojd, as we know it to-day, was first completely worked out in Sweden, commencing in 1876. There are now over 700 schools where slojd is taught, and from Sweden the idea has gone to all countries. Wood-work is taught the boys and needle-work and cooking to the girls. The first instruction of sewing in free schools was given in those of France in 1867.
In the United States manual training is now not only taught in the industrial schools, but children in the gram-mar grades of the larger cities are given lessons. They make little things that they are allowed to take home. The idea is not to fit them for a trade, but to train the hand as well as the brain, and the work is small work, without any division of labor, as there would be in the actual prosecution of the trades for pecuniary profit.
Professional schools are also a development of the Century. There was no school for the training of the physician or surgeon in the early days of the Century, and the lawyer read law in an office. The increase of knowledge has made greater application necessary for its mastery, and this has made the professional schools indispensable.
In no direction has there been greater progress than in that of the education of women. The report of the English Royal Commission of 1864 declared that the best education for the female mind was then believed to be steady application to vocal and instrumental music and to the subject of ladylike manners and deportment. Instead of gymnastics or games, instruments of torture for modeling the figure were used. In 1849 Bedford College was founded in England chiefly through the influence of Mrs. Reid. Women were not admitted to university examinations in England until 1867, when the doors of the University of London were thrown open and, in 1871, Miss Clouch opened a house for women students in Cambridge, which in 1875 became Newnham College. Women were formally admitted to Cambridge in 1881 and somewhat similar privileges were given at Oxford in 1884. The two earliest women's colleges in the United States are generally reported to be Mount Holyoke, which dates from 1836, and was organized by Mary Lynn, but it had for its curriculum merely an academic course, and this is true of the Georgia Female College, opened at Macon, Ga., in 1839. The first institution in the world designed to give women a full collegiate course was founded at Poughkeepsie, N. Y., in 1861 by Matthew Vassar and it was opened in 1865. The first co-educational institutions were Antioch and Oberlin Colleges, but during the last generation co-education has met with growing favor, until now more than half the colleges of the United States admit women as well as men. Having gained a collegiate education the women sought admission to the professional schools, which they have gradually secured, until now women lawyers and physicians are quite common in the larger cities. The growth of the higher education of women abroad has been slower, but gradually the idea is extending, until within another generation women everywhere are likely to have the same educational advantages as men.
The Nineteenth Century educator has turned his attention to the education of the defective classes, the blind and the deaf and dumb. Remarkable progress has been made in this direction. Systematic attempts to educate the deaf and dumb has been made as early as 1570 by Pedro de Ponce, a Benedictine monk, yet little headway was made until near the close of the Eighteenth Century, when the schools at Paris and Edinburgh were opened. The first institution for the education of the deaf and dumb in America was opened under Dr. T. H. Gallaudet at Hartford, Conn., April 15, 1817. A church for the deaf and dumb was opened in London in 1870, and in 1876 Rev. Henry W. Syle, the first deaf and dumb person to be ordained to the ministry, was given orders in the Episcopal Church at Philadelphia. The adoption of what is known as the visible speech method, by which the deaf are taught to read the words of speakers by the movements of the lips, owes its suggestion to Alexander Melville Bell, who explained his ideas before the London Society of Arts, March 14, 1866.
The first public school for the blind was established at Paris in 1784 by Valentine Hauy, and he began printing for the blind in raised characters in 1786. The whole Bible in raised characters was first printed in 1848 at Glasgow. Education for the blind has so developed that the sightless may be taught to do many things that seem almost incredible. Not only can they study almost any-thing that other human beings do, but they are able to play tag and shinny with all the energy of youth. Books for them are not now printed in characters like those used by those who can see. By the Braille system, which now is used almost universally, arbitrary characters are employed which are more readily detected by the fingers than are the Roman characters. Instruction is given by utilizing the sense of touch to the utmost, and this has been capable of some almost miraculous developments. The most remarkable known case of the education of the blind, deaf, and dumb is that of Helen Keller, whose story seems almost incredible. Miss Keller, blind and deaf, having never heard human language, has learned to speak and write French and German as well as a native of France or Germany. Her English, too, is perfection. She has read all the great authors, can recite Shakespeare, Goethe, and Hugo, writes good poetry herself and knows a good deal of Greek and Latin. To accomplish this marvelous result years of infinite toil and patience were spent by her and her interpreter and friend, Miss Sullivan, who, before undertaking the instruction of Helen, was a pupil teacher in a deaf-mute institution. The teacher began by establishing a sort of telegraph code between herself and her pupil in the form of finger taps on the palm of the little girl. Helen learned to give utterance to language by placing her fingers on Miss Sullivan's lips, face and throat, and then imitating the motions made by her teacher with the same muscles. She rides a bicycle and is going to Radcliffe College, the annex of Harvard, the preliminary entrance examinations for which she has already taken.