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tion of Quakers, Baptists, and other sects was largely abandoned. In 1670 came the successful secession of the Old South Church from the original church of Boston, as the result of a quarrel concerning the compromise just mentioned, and within a decade the Baptists were permitted to build a meeting-house in Boston. By 1692 recognition had been largely granted to all Protestant beliefs, and to be a 'freeman,' or voter on all colonial questions, it was no longer necessary to be a member of a Puritan church. While every town was still required to support by tax an orthodox pastor, by 1728 the Episcopalians, Quakers, and Baptists were permitted to pay their assessments to their own ministers, and the alliance of the state with a despotic church, which had made possible the system of public education, was largely broken. Moreover, there was a decided lowering of intellectual standards upon the part of the colonists. The hard struggle to wring a living from an unpropitious soil, and the disturbances due to wars, Indian skirmishes, and the difficulties of pioneer life greatly lessened their feeling of need for a literary training. Another reason for the educational decline was the dispersion of the population in the towns, as the best land near the center was more and more taken up. The intervening hills, streams, swamps, and poor roads, together with the fear of Indians and wild animals, greatly hindered those on the outskirts in reaching the church and school of the town. As a result of these different tendencies, the towns, most of which had been eager to establish schools even before being compelled to do so, began to seek various methods of evading the school law without incurring the fine. The minister was at times made the

nominal schoolmaster, or a teacher was even employed during the session of the 'General Court' (i. e. legislature) and discharged upon adjournment. Laws were enacted against these subterfuges, greater vigilance was exercised, and the fine was increased first to £10 (1671) and then to £20 (1683), with a progressive increase where the number of families ran over one hundred (1712). Thus the fine came to be sufficient to support a schoolmaster, and it was made more and more unprofitable for a town to disobey the law.

Under these circumstances it became advantageous to many citizens, especially those at the center of a town, to have the entire support of the school come through general taxation rather than partially by means of tuition fees. But the people in the more distant portions of the town refused to vote a rate from which they themselves obtained no profit. They demanded that, in return for their taxes, the public school should be brought nearer to them. Probably they were influenced in this stand by the fact that private 'dame' schools, and possibly elementary schools, had for some time been opened in various parts of the town conveniently near their homes. Another factor that may have aided in suggesting this solution was the legal recognition of various remote settlements within the town, known as 'parishes' or 'districts,' through the grant of self-government, separate church organizations, and other privileges similar to those of the town as a whole, though on a smaller scale. At any rate, we find that, in the early part of the eighteenth century, wherever a rate was adopted as the sole means of school support, it was agreed that, instead of holding the town school for twelve months in the center

This decline into the dis

reached its lowest point in 1827.

alone, opportunities should be offered for a fraction of that period in various portions of the town. When the compromise took the form of having one town master teach in different districts through the year, the result was known as a 'moving school,' but when separate schools under different masters or mistresses came to be taught at the same time, the town school was said to be 'divided.' These divisions were allowed more and more control of their schools by the town until they practically became autonomous. Before the time of the Revolution 'divided schools' were recognized as a regular institution, and, together with other customs that had grown up during the eighteenth century, they were given legal sanction and denominated 'district schools' in the law of 1789. By 1800 the districts were not only allowed to manage their own share of the town taxes, but were authorized to make the levy themselves; in 1817 they were made corporations and empowered to hold property for educational purposes; and in 1827 they were granted the right to choose a committeeman, who should appoint the teacher and have control of the school property.


Thus, as Martin describes it, the year 1827 "marks trict system the culmination of a process which had been going on for more than a century, the high-water mark of modern democracy, and the low-water mark of the Massachusetts school system." The district system did in its earlier stages bind the families of a neighborhood into a corporation whose intent was the most vital of human needs, education, and the people came to feel the necessity of supporting it by their own generous contributions. But in the course of time the districts became 1 Evolution of the Massachusetts School System, p. 92.

the system

policy of state

the place of


involved in private and petty political interests, and had but little consideration for the public good. The choice of the committeeman, the site, and the teacher caused much unseemly wrangling, and as each received only what it paid in, the poor district obtained only a weak school and that for but a short term. The in- Moreover, the increascreasing expense of the district system had also made ing expense of it impossible for any except the larger towns to support brought into the old-time 'grammar' school, and this part of the existence the old school requirements had fallen into disuse before endowment of the close of the eighteenth century. To meet the needs academies in of secondary education, the policy of endowing 'acad- the town emies' with wild lands in Maine had gradually grown schools. up, and this custom was legalized in 1797. Seven academies,-four in Massachusetts proper and three in the province of Maine, had originally been endowed with a township apiece, and some fourteen more had been chartered by towns at an early date, and empowered by the state to hold educational funds. By the time of the educational awakening there were some fifty of these private secondary institutions subsidized by the state, although managed by a close corporation. The first public high school had been established in Boston (1821), but this type of secondary school had not begun to have any influence as yet. Into such a decadence had the teenth cenliberally supported system of public education fallen chusetts had before the rapid development in common schools began New York in and the influence of Horace Mann and other reformers 1 the progress of public was felt. Hence during the first quarter of the nine- education. teenth century public education in Massachusetts had been quite surpassed by New York, which had largely 1 See pp. 167ff.

Hence, by the

beginning of

the nine

tury, Massa

fallen behind

In Connecticut the colo

to those of


before the

Revolution a

into the dis

also began to

appear. educational


wise typical

outgrown its laissez faire attitude and was now leading all the states in the development of schools.

Similar History of Other New England States.— nial laws conThe development of common schools in Massachusetts cerning edumay be considered typical of New England in general, cation were very similar with the exception of Rhode Island. During the colonial period, Connecticut by the middle of the seventeenth setts, and just century, and Vermont before the Revolution, had very closely copied the governmental activity of Massachudecadence setts in organizing schools. The section of the Hartford trict system colony law (1650) on 'children' reminds one strongly The of the Massachusetts act of 1642, while the section on 'schools' is an almost verbatim repetition of the Massachuin Massachusetts law of 1647. Similar provisions were made in the setts was like- New Haven colony before the two were merged in the of the other colony of Connecticut in 1661. By the close of the cenNew England states, except tury Connecticut had also granted lands, gratuities, and Rhode Island. taxes for the support of its chief 'grammar' schools, and had established a fine of £5 upon any town neglecting to maintain an elementary school, and double the amount in the case of a Latin school. Likewise, by 1766 the foundations of a district system had been laid through recognizing the divisions in a certain town. In 1794 these districts were given a separate existence legally and allowed to locate their own schoolhouses and levy taxes. The results of this step constituted one of the greatest problems for Henry Barnard during the great period of educational development. Similarly, in Vermont before statehood was well under way, provision had been made for town and district schools, county 'grammar' schools, and even a state university, and some legal steps taken to see that the towns, districts, and counties lived up

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