This chapter uses as a case study an incident from 1824 in which the New York Tract Society convinced John Van Ness Yates, New York’s acting superintendent of common schools, to encourage the use of its literature in schools under his oversight. This incident highlights the significance of growing educational bureaucracy in this era and how it might be used for distinctly religious aims. This educational bureaucracy emerged as part of what this book calls the “Common School Awakening,” a transatlantic, transdenominational movement that introduced systematized, professionalized schools to America in the first half of the nineteenth century. Previous historical scholarship on education in this era, notably the very different work of Ellwood Cubberley and Michael Katz, has ignored the strongly religious roots of the movement for common schools that has found its representative figure in the person of Horace Mann.
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