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ERIC Number: EJ955124
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 26
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Making Good on a Promise: The Education of Civil War Orphans in Pennsylvania, 1863-1893
Bair, Sarah D.
History of Education Quarterly, v51 n4 p460-485 Nov 2011
During and after the American Civil War, individual state governments, faced with numerous economic demands, struggled to meet the needs of soldiers and their families. Among other pressing questions, they had to decide what to do with the massive number of dependent children orphaned by the war. In order to protect children, it became more acceptable for schools and other government agencies to step in and raise children when their parents were unwilling or unable to do so properly. Increasingly, in the nineteenth century, education and childcare became state issues as well as local ones. In this article, the author provides an historical overview of Pennsylvania's post-Civil War orphan education system and describes its challenges. Then, the author analyzes the system in connection to the nineteenth-century trends and assesses the factors that led to the "Act of 1893," a law that resulted in the creation of the Pennsylvania Soldiers' Orphans Industrial School, a school that was renamed the Scotland School for Veterans' Children in 1951 and remained open until June 2009 when its funding was cut from the Pennsylvania state budget. While scholars have long studied both nineteenth-century child welfare with respect to orphans and other destitute children and the simultaneous growth of public education, this study addresses the specific case of Civil War orphans and how their educational story intersects with broader trends. Virtually all states responded to the needs of Civil War orphans, but Pennsylvania stands alone in both the breadth of its orphan education system and the length of time in which it operated, a period that first reflected the promise of common schooling and later embraced the rise of industrial education. Its response shows the tension inherent in all debates about child welfare, about state responsibility to the children of deceased and disabled veterans, and about the role of education in ameliorating society's problems. (Contains 76 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania