Kristine Ashton


Nineteenth-century schools, patriotism, civic responsibility, moral character, schoolbooks


Nineteenth-century schools taught more than reading, writing, and arithmetic. They were expected to convey patriotism and civic responsibility and to mold moral character. While publishers designed textbooks to teach children to spell and to read, they also inculcated the books with social values through word choice and lesson plans. The printers, journalists, teachers, and ministers who wrote the schoolbooks selectively filled their pages with political, economic, social, and moral concepts that shaped children's views of their nation's past and their position within the present society.