Ep. 13: Education in Early America

Yale in 1700sIn this month’s episode, Michael Hattem, Roy Rogers, and Mark Boonshoft discuss education in early America, including its role in the colonial period, the American Revolution, and the early republic.


From its earliest roots as an outgrowth of the church to its more secular origins in the early republic, education in early America was multi-faceted and interconnected with important cultural, social, political, and religious developments ideas. Following a boom in growth during the 1740s and 1750s, institutional education became disrupted by the outbreak of war. When the dust had settled, education in America had changed significantly, becoming more accessible and even more integral to the political landscape of a new republic.


  • What did the educational landscape look like in the first half of the eighteenth century?
  • Of what did an eighteenth-century education consist?
  • Why was there a boom in college building in the middle of the century?
  • What effect did it have on society more broadly?
  • What happened to the colleges and their students during the war?
  • How did the goals and demographics of education change after the Revolution?


Mark Boonshoft is a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University. He focuses primarily on early American political and social history. His dissertation examines the development of educational and cultural institutions in the mid-Atlantic and upper South from the First Great Awakening to the early nineteenth century. He is a member of The Junto and a repeat guest on “The JuntoCast.”


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