Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780-1860

Title: Pillars of the Republic: Common Schools and American Society, 1780-1860

Author: Carl F. Kaestle

Publisher: Hill and Wang Publishers

Call No.: LA215 .K33 1983

From the publisher:

Pillars of the Republic is a pioneering study of common-school development in the years before the Civil War. Public acceptance of state school systems, Kaestle argues, was encouraged by the people’s commitment to republican government, by their trust in Protestant values, and by the development of capitalism. The author also examines the opposition to the Founding Fathers’ educational ideas and shows what effects these had on our school system.

About the author:

Carl F. Kaestle is University Professor of Education, History, and Public Policy at Brown University. He is the author of numerous books on the history of education, including, Literacy in the United States: Readers and Reading Since 1880.


“An eloquent and thoughtful essay, one of those glances back in time which shows us where we are. Kaestle leads us to understand why uniform, centralized public-school systems evolved out of haphazard educational alternatives, yet he also reflects on what has been lost, in variety, responsivenes, individual choice, and local control, as this nation has pressed on with an educational ‘modernity’ ever more centralized and vapid. A very wise and compassionate book.”–Kenneth A. Lockridge, University of Michigan