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ERIC Number: EJ813345
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-May
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Confining the Poor to Ignorance? Eighteenth-Century American Experiments with Charity Education
Sundue, Sharon Braslaw
History of Education Quarterly, v47 n2 p123-148 May 2007
In 1738, the English evangelist George Whitefield traveled to the new colony of Georgia intending to establish "a house for fatherless children." Inspired by both August Hermann Francke, the German Pietist who had great success educating and maintaining poor orphans in Halle, and by charity schools established in Great Britain, Whitefield's orphan house and charity school, named Bethesda, opened its doors early in 1740. For years, Whitefield devoted himself tirelessly to ensuring the success of the Bethesda school, preaching throughout Britain and North America on its behalf. Whitefield's preaching tour on behalf of his beloved Bethesda is well known for its role in catalyzing the religious revivals known collectively as the Great Awakening. The tour also marked an important shift in the history of education in America. News of the establishment of the orphanage at Bethesda coincided with new efforts to school the poor throughout the colonies. Drawing on both the British and German models of charity schooling that were highly influential for Whitefield, eighteenth-century Americans began or increased commitments to charity schooling for poor children. In order to explore the broader influence of the British and German models of charity education for the poor in eighteenth-century America, this article focuses on two cities where Whitefield's visits coincided with an especially dramatic expansion in charity schooling, but with very different consequences: Philadelphia and Charleston. The contrast is indicative of the ways in which class, race, and ethnicity intersected in the provision of schooling, contingent on local social conditions. Comparison of these two cities in particular offers another advantage: good records of schools for poor children are available for both. (Contains 2 figures, 1 table and 108 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Georgia; Pennsylvania; South Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A