kitchen table math, the sequel: Massachusetts School Law of 1789

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Massachusetts School Law of 1789

From Terrence Moore's The Story-Killers:
Whereas the Constitution of this Commonwealth hath declared it to be the duty of the General Court, to provide for the education of youth: and whereas a general dissemination of knowledge and virtue is necessary to the prosperity of every State, and the very existence of a Commonwealth:

     Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives, in General Court assembled . . . That every town or district within this Commonwealth . . . shall be provided with a School-Master or School-Masters, of good morals, to teach children to read and write, and to instruct them in the English language, as well as in arithmetic, orthography, and decent behavior . . . And every town or district containing two hundred families, or householders, shall be provided with a grammar School-Master, of good morals, well instructed in the Latin, Greek, and English languages . . .

     Section 4. Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid, That it shall be and it is hereby made the duty of the President, Professors and Tutors of the University at Cambridge [Harvard], Preceptors and Teachers of Academies, and all other instructors of youth, to take diligent care, and to exert their best endeavors, to impress on the minds of children and youth, committed to their career and instruction, the principles of piety, justice, and a sacred regard to truth, love to their country, humanity, and universal benevolence, sobriety, industry and frugality, chastity, moderation and temperance, and those other virtues which are the ornament of human society, and the basis upon which the Republican Constitution is structured. And it shall be the duty of such instructors, to endeavor to lead those under their care (as their ages and capacities will admit) into a particular understanding of the tendency of the before mentioned virtues, to preserve and perfect a Republican Constitution, and to secure the blessings of liberty, as well as to promote their future happiness; and the tendency of the opposite vices to slavery and ruin.
Virtues are the ornament of human society and the basis upon which the Republican Constitution is structured.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Not every immigrant group to the US had these folkways.