Thursday, December 26, 2013

Horace Mann PSA

"One more suggestion will close the argument on this topic. What is the course of the wisest of governments and of men in a case closely analogous? When an exciting cause is to be tried in a civil court, does not every judge examine the jurors upon oath, to learn whether they have expressed or formed an opinion on the merits of the case, and does he not set aside as unworthy to be upon the panel, those who have formed such opinion? Every man sees and feels the reasonableness of this course. Yet this is just the reverse of what is done in regard to controverted religious doctrines, in most of our private schools, Sabbath schools, Colleges, and Theological Seminaries. Hence Truth, claiming by divine warrant to be heard, is silenced; error, worthy of annihilation, is perpetuated, and hostile sects, the scandal of the Christian religion, are increased in members and virulence."
Mann, Horace. Educational Writings of Horace Mann. 1891. Lee and Shepard Publishers. (accessed December 25, 2013).

This primary source is from a collection of Mann’s writings on the topic of public education. Horace Mann was a public education reformist in the nineteenth century and was known by some as, “The Father of Public Education.” Mann was also a politician and serve in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate, was secretary of the Massachusetts Board of Education, and later served in the US House of Representatives, making Mann a credible source on the topic of public education. Mann’s goal in this excerpt is to introduce moral and religious lessons to the public school curriculum. In the nineteenth century, teaching morals to children was an important issue because drunkenness and crime were widespread issues plaguing society and it was thought by some that the best way to stop these problems was to teach religious morals at a young age. This document has a significant bias because Mann is the leader of the reform movement so he had an agenda in writing this. It also offers no opposing opinion. Mann calls for religious education in this excerpt and emphasizes how Christian morals are important to teach. He uses the example of juries needing to be filled with people that could and would form a moral opinion of the case. This source explains why the reformists wanted reform and shows the arguments they used to achieve it.

*The second line of the citation and the entire annotation should be indented.