Public Education Reforms 1800-1860

Paige Lamb

Leaders and Contributions

Horace Mann

Massachusetts supervisor of education. He created the initial teachers' college which was supported by the state. Mann increased the salaries of teachers and advanced curriculum.

Noah Webster

Created the standard for spelling in the United States. He published the first American dictionary in 1806. He changed the spelling of many words (example: centre to center).

William McGuffey

Authored and published textbooks that became the foundation for moral instruction within schools. These textbooks encouraged positive behaviors (obedience, hard work, etc.)

Goals and Tactics


To have educated people in office

To protect democracy

To civilize the native population


More rigorous training for educators

Renovated, modernized schools

Extended school year

Obligatory attendance of schools by students

Textbooks for guidance

Major Achievements

The establishment of free public schools supported by taxes (State-funded education)

More children could enroll in schools

A growth in education throughout the states

Increased literacy rates

Admission of women to colleges in 1837