Henry David Thoreau: Transcendentalism In Public Schools In The 19th Century

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Henry David Thoreau is one of the most influential, and most brilliant people to ever walk on the face of the earth. He embodies the transcendentalist ideas that many of the most famous writers in the world share. Transcendentalism is the philosophy of looking at every person as an individual and how important and divine each soul truly is. The way that the world in the middle 1800’s, the time in which Thoreau was in his prime for writing, was that a person learned from his encounters and how that individual reacted to it. Transcendentalists believed in the spirituality of the world in order learn new things: “They rejected the widely accepted notion that man’s knowledge came primarily through the senses. To the contrary, they believed in …show more content…

Most schools consisted of one room with mostly one teacher having a larger sized classroom than today: “In the 19th and early 20th centuries, one room schoolhouses were the norm in rural areas. A single teacher taught grades one through eight together” (McCarthy). Many teachers also didn’t have to get a degree or go to college in order to become an educator. Schools were paid for by taxes paid by the citizens in the area, the problem was that there were not very many schools around and finding room for students were few and far between. Another very different thing that was common in the 19th century for schools was that school only lasted for 10 weeks out of the year. Many students would stop their schooling and education after the eighth grade so the students could begin to help out their parents by beginning to work and providing for the family: “For many, education ended after just eighth grade; in order to graduate, students would have to pass a final exam” (McCarthy). This style of teaching doesn’t do the best justice for the students. Within such a short period of time students had trouble being able to retain a lot of what they had learned, and also never reach their full learning potential and expanding their

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