The Rise of Nonsectarian Public Education

Steven K. Green

in The Bible, the School, and the Constitution

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199827909
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932849 | DOI:
The Rise of Nonsectarian Public Education

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This chapter traces the rise of nonsectarian education in America. It describes the original impulse for a religious-moral basis for public education and how that concept evolved through the first half of the nineteenth century. It discusses Horace Mann's contribution to nonsectarian instruction of how he refined the concept from teaching common Protestant doctrines to emphasizing more universal religious values through the use of unmediated Bible reading. The chapter also considers the initial objections of orthodox Protestants and then Catholics to unmediated Bible reading, and how Protestants gradually acceded to a less doctrinaire form of nonsectarianism. It concludes with analyses of the first court decisions upholding the religious practices.

Keywords: common schools; nonsectarian instruction; Bible reading; Horace Mann; Catholics

Chapter.  16080 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Religious Studies

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