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The Common School AwakeningReligion and the Transatlantic Roots of American Public Education$
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David Komline

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190085155

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190085155.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 26 July 2021

The “Prussian System”

The “Prussian System”

Origins and Transmission

(p.102) 4 The “Prussian System”
The Common School Awakening

David Komline

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents the European inspiration for the legislative changes of the late 1830s that are now most frequently associated with the Common School Awakening in America. Beginning with the Prussian school reform that followed the Napoleonic defeats, the chapter demonstrates how news about Prussian schools traveled from Prussia, through France and then England, and eventually to America. Victor Cousin, famous in America as a French philosopher, served as the principal, if indirect, means of this transmission. His report on Prussian schools, translated in England and then published in abbreviated forms in America, helped to inspire American reforms. After closely examining the report in its several incarnations, especially focusing on its multiple appeals to religion, the chapter concludes by surveying American responses to the report to lay the groundwork for the specific ways that individual states would implement some of its suggestions.

Keywords:   Victor Cousin, Sarah Austin, François Guizot, Johann Wilhelm Süvern, Karl von Altenstein, Ludolf von Beckedorff, Theodore Dwight Jr., John Orville Taylor, Nikolaus Heinrich Julius, Prussia

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