A General Diffusion of Knowledge: Republican Efforts to Build a Public School System in Reconstruction Texas

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From the early days as a Spanish colony Texas attracted settlers with the promise of cheap fertile land. During the period of Mexican control the population of Texas increased and a desire for public education manifested among the people. Through the end of the Civil War government in Texas never provided an adequate means for educating the children of the region. Even when funds became available with the Compromise of 1850 the state only established a school fund to help offset the costs of education, but did not provide a public school system. The first truly successful attempt at mass ... continued below

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Hathcock, James A. December 2011.

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  • Hathcock, James A.

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From the early days as a Spanish colony Texas attracted settlers with the promise of cheap fertile land. During the period of Mexican control the population of Texas increased and a desire for public education manifested among the people. Through the end of the Civil War government in Texas never provided an adequate means for educating the children of the region. Even when funds became available with the Compromise of 1850 the state only established a school fund to help offset the costs of education, but did not provide a public school system. The first truly successful attempt at mass education in Texas came after the Civil War with the work of the Freedmen’s Bureau. The bureau helped the former slaves adjust to the emerging post war society through a variety of means such as education. In spite of its short existence the bureau managed to educate thousands of African Americans. By 1870 the former slaves wanted more education for their children, and Texans of all races began to see the need for a public school system. This study focuses on Republican efforts during Reconstruction to establish a public school system in Texas to meet the educational needs of its children. An analysis of data from county, state, and federal records forms the basis of this study. The data suggests that Republican efforts were hampered by the opposition of Texans to high taxes, compulsory education, racism, and animosity toward that party for emancipation and Civil War.

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  • December 2011

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  • Oct. 2, 2012, 4:18 p.m.

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  • Jan. 16, 2014, 12:20 p.m.

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Hathcock, James A. A General Diffusion of Knowledge: Republican Efforts to Build a Public School System in Reconstruction Texas, dissertation, December 2011; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc103325/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .