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Title:Social Science, Social Cohesion, and Moral Uplift: The Historian and the Development of Modern American Secondary School History Curricula
Author(s):McAninch, Stuart Alan
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Karier, Clarence J.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Social Sciences
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This dissertation is an effort to explore the influence of the scientific, social, political, and moral beliefs prevalent among American historians on the development of modern American secondary school history curricula at the end of the nineteenth century. It traces both the origins of the American historical profession and the profession's energetic efforts to extend its influence from the colleges to the schools. It examines a variety of seminal works on historical pedagogy, journal articles, high school history textbooks, committee reports, transcripts of meetings of historians and school administrators, and school district documents.
Central to the dissertation's argument are several contentions. First, when founding the profession, historians fused elements from conventional American theology and moral philosophy with American and European conceptions of natural science, social science, and history. Second, the profession's founders believed that their discoveries regarding history's meaning provided necessary guidance for present and future political, social, and moral beliefs and actions. Their attempts to influence secondary school curricula must, therefore, be seen as part of a broader cultural effort to use history to shape Americans' understandings and values. Third, their simultaneous commitment to a scientific methodology and to cultivation of particular beliefs and actions led historians to emphasize development in high school curricula of those cognitive skills and historical insights which contributed to their objectives while omitting or de-emphasizing development of cognitive skills and historical insights which might stimulate students to critically question those objectives or arrive at divergent beliefs. Fourth, historians' ability to deeply influence secondary school curricula was largely due to an extensive range of political, social, and moral beliefs which they shared with many school officials and a perception on the part of the latter that history provided a useful bridge from the traditional classical secondary school course of study to a modern one.
Issue Date:1987
Description:403 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1987.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8803131
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1987

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