Education and American Culture

Chapter 21 Section 4

How did public education grow after the cicil war?

By the 1900's there were more than 4,000 kindergartens and 6,000 high schools all across the nation. This is because the north had passed compulsory education, laws that required children to attend school. In the south, which had no tradition of public schools, the Freedmen's Bureau built schools for both African Americans and white students. There were also parochial, or reiligious schools getting opened. After the civil war higher education also expanded. Many cities open universities that offered free or low cut education. In 1874 a Methodist minister opened a camp for bible teachers along Lake Chautauqua in new York. After that they opened the camp up for the public. In addition to receiving spiritual guidance, people at the camp enjoyed lectures about art, politics, philosophy, and other subjects. In 1903 the Chautauqua Society began to send out traveling companies. Before long Chautauquas were reaching more than 10,000 American towns each year.

How did newspapers , magazines, and dime novels reflect changes in reading habits?

As education spread newspapers became more and more popular. In the big cities people needed newspapers to stay informed. Newspapers reported on local government, business, fashion, and sports. Joseph Pulitzer created the first modern , mass-circulation newspaper. In 1883, he bought the New York World, he set out to make it lively and "truly democratic." The World splashed crimes and political scandals across its front pages. William Hearst challenged the World though. Hearts's New York Journal began to out do the World in presenting scandals, crime stories, and gossip. The two journalists coined the term yellow journalism for the sensation reporting style of the World and Journal. People also read more books and magazines. New printing methods lowered the cost of magazines. Magazines also added eye catching pictures to attract readers. Low priced paperbacks, also known as dime novels, offered thrilling adventure stories. Many told about the "wild west." Horatio Alger wrote more than 100 dime novels for children. Dime novels gave children the hope they could be what ever they wanted to be when they grow up.

Why did writers and painters turn to everyday life for subjects?

In the 1800s a new crop of American writers appeared. Americans were reading more books by American authors then by British authors for the first time. One group of writers called realists, tried to show the harsh side of life as it was. Many realists had worked as newspapers reporters, so they have seen poverty and wanted to make people aware of the costs of urbanization and industrial growth. Stephan Crane was best known for his civil war novel, but he also wrote about the shattered lives of young city slum dwellers. The most famous authors of this period was Mark Twain. Like many other writers, Twain used local color to make his stories more realistic. Local color refers to the speech and habits of a popular region. Twain captured the speech patters of southerners who lived and worked along the Mississippi River. Like writers of the period, many artists sought to capture local color and the gritty side of modern life. During the Civil War, Winlsow Homer drew scenes of brutal battles for magazines. Later, he gained fame for realistic paintings of New England coast. Henry Tanner, an African American student of Eakins, won fame for pictures of black sharecroppers.