Horace Mann

"The most important & beneficial leader of education reform"

Mann's Early Days

Born on May 4, 1796 Franklin, Massachusetts, Horace Mann grew up in a family who wasn't on the wealthy side of the spectrum. His father, a poor Yankee farmer, taught his son habits of self-reliance and independence. From the age of 10 through 20, Mann had no more than six weeks' schooling during any year. Wanting to strive, Mann made use of the town library. At the age of 20 he enrolled at Brown University, and graduated after three years as valedictorian of his class in 1819. He served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1834 to 1837. In 1848, after serving as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, he was appointed secretary.

Mann on The Board of Education

He was appointed secretary in 1837 of the newly created board of education of Massachusetts. He began the work which would place him in the foremost rank of American educationists. Previously, he had shown no special interest in education. He was encouraged to take the job only because it was a paid office position established by the legislature. He began as secretary of the board. On entering on his duties, he withdrew from all other professional or business engagements and from politics.

this led him to become the most prominent national spokesman for that position. He held this position, and worked with a remarkable intensity, holding teachers' conventions, delivering numerous lectures and addresses, carrying on an extensive correspondence, and introducing numerous reforms.

Mann and his Accomplishments

Mann, on Secular Nature

During early education, even under state control, had a clear religious intent. However, by the Antebellum Period, Mann's leadership in education, various developments (including a vibrant populist Protestant faith and increased religious diversity) fostered a secular school system with a religiously passive stance. Mann affirmed that "our Public Schools are not Theological Seminaries"