Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: February 22, 2010 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412957403 | Print ISBN: 9781412956642 | Online ISBN: 9781412957403| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Old Deluder Satan Law
Patrick Michael O'Donnell
Among the forces that influenced British colonial life in America were an increased momentum for political self-determination, religious expression, and social change; and a desire to educate colonial children according to the principles of English society. To achieve the desired outcomes of these forces would require the unwavering commitment of every resident, all government officers, all church elders, and every parent. The common means to sustain colonial laws, religious precepts, and cultural mores would be assigned to the local school and the appointed teacher. Such was the rationale for an early attempt at educational reform—Massachusetts' Old Deluder School Law of 1647. Some historians regard the Old Deluder Law as an early step toward the beginning of public education in America. The colonial citizenry were intent on upholding the basic tenets of Protestantism and ensuring the local schools' capacity to reinforce colonial customs. In its different forms, the religious force focused ...