Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412939584 | Print ISBN: 9780761930877 | Online ISBN: 9781412939584| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Horace Mann (1796–1859) is widely known as the Father of the Common Schools. Throughout his long and distinguished career, he viewed common knowledge as the sine qua non of a civilized society. As such, only a system of public education, specifically common schools attached to normal teacher training schools, could ensure social and economic progress as well as sustain democracy. To Mann, education and democracy were correlatives; neither could exist without the other. However, what separated Mann from other educational leaders, before and at least since John Dewey, was his ability to be both philosopher and the political activist on behalf of public education. Like many educated men of his day, Mann turned to teaching as a way to support his own studies. He attended Brown University and enrolled in one of the most prestigious law schools of his day, Litchfield, in Connecticut. A year after he earned his law ...