The expansion of public education and industrialization went hand in hand. After all, had not the pioneering philosopher of free-market capitalism, Adam Smith, foreseen good reasons at the outset of the industrial revolution for nations to educate their populations? “The more they are instructed, the less liable they are to the delusions of enthusiasm and superstition,” he argued. “An instructed and intelligent people, besides, are always more decent and orderly than an ignorant and stupid one” (Kandel, 1933: 51). Before the industrial age, provision of formal schooling virtually everywhere was scarce — dependent on tuition and fees, voluntarist, and usually limited to males. Education belonged to the church in feudal Europe, and with seven out of every ten workers engaged in agriculture, the slender surplus enabled only small percentages of people to earn their bread through the written word (Bloch, 1963; Cipolla, 1993). Although some states, especially in Protestant regions, required villages and towns to keep schools, such edicts were subject to the wants and resources of the localities, and often had little material effect. With the growth of industry, support for public education grew, and the result was a transformation of schooling from limited provision into widespread and hierarchical educational systems (Katz, 1987).
Precise relationships between industrialization and the rise of public education are difficult to pin down, however. If we take as our unit of analysis the long nineteenth century that stretches from the dawn of the industrial revolution to the eve of World War I, then we discern a general correspondence between the spread of industry and the rise of mass schooling. The industrial revolution sparked prolonged, rising rates of productivity, first in the British economy and then in continental Europe, the northern United States, and Upper Canada (Madrick, 2002). As educational access widened, the education of women increased, the study of the classical curriculum declined, and, by the twentieth century, the importance of schooling for both national economic development and individual mobility took on the status of an “education gospel” (Grubb & Lazerson, 2004: 1–2). Gains in income and wealth during the industrial age made possible larger public expenditures for the welfare of the general population, and all governments considered schooling in their expanded social calculus.
- Nineteenth Century
- Educational System
- Public Education
- Industrial Revolution
- Early Nineteenth Century
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.
Albisetti, J. (1996). Education. In R. Chickering (Ed.), Imperial Germany: A historiographical companion (pp. 244–271). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
Anderson, R. D. (1975). Education in France 1848–1870. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Apple, M. (1996). Cultural politics and education. New York: Teachers College Press.
Archer, M. (1979). The social origins of educational systems. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.
Aries, P. (1962). Centuries of childhood: A social history of family life. (R. Baldick, Trans.). New York: Vintage (Original work published 1960).
Artz, F. D. (1966). The development of technical education in France, 1500–1850. Cleveland, OH: Society for the History of Technology.
Aston, T. H. & Philpin, C. H. E. (Eds.) (1990). The Brenner debate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Axtell, J. (1974). The school upon a hill. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Bailey, C. (1988). Municipal government and secondary education during the early French Revolution: Did decentralization work? French History, 12, 25–42.
Barnard, H. C. (1969). Education and the French Revolution. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Berg, M. (Ed.) (1979). Technology and toil in nineteenth century Britain. CSE Books: London.
Berg, M. (1986). The age of manufactures, 1700–1820. New York: Oxford University Press.
Bills, D. (2004). The sociology of education and work. Oxford: Blackwell.
Bloch, M. (1963). Feudal society. (L. A. Manyon, Trans.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press (Original work published 1939).
Boli, J., Ramirez, F., & Meyer, J. (2000). Explaining the origins and expansion of mass education. In S. Sanderson (Ed.), Sociological worlds: Comparative and historical readings on society (pp. 346–354). Chicago, IL: Fitzroy Dearborn.
Bourdieu, P. (1996). The state nobility. (L. C. Clough, Trans.). Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press (Original work published 1989).
Bowles, S. & Gintis, H. (1976). Schooling in capitalist America. New York: Basic Books.
Brown, D. (1995). Degrees of control: A sociology of educational expansion and educational credentialism. New York: Teachers College Press.
Carl, J. (2000). Le rouge et le noir: Approaches to the origins of mass schooling. In J. Bouzakis (Ed.), Historical-Comparative Perspectives (pp. 333–347). Athens: Gutenberg Press.
Carnoy, M. (1984). The state and political theory. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Carnoy, M. (1992). Education and the state: From Adam Smith to Perestroika. In R. Arnove, P. Altbach, & G. Kelly (Eds.), Emergent issues in education: Comparative perspectives (pp. 143–159). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Cipolla, C. (1993). Before the industrial revolution: European society and economy, 1000–1700. London: Routledge.
Cohen, P. (1999). A calculating people: The spread of numeracy in early America. New York: Routledge.
Collins, R. (2000). Comparative and historical patterns of education. In M. Hallinan & H. Kaplan, (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of education (pp. 213–240). New York: Plenum Publishers.
Cremin, L. (1970). American education: The colonial experience, 1607–1783. New York: Harper & Row.
Curtis, B. (1992). True government by choice men? Inspection, education, and state formation in Canada west. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1992.
Douglas, D. (2005). Jim Crow moves north: The battle over northern school desegregation 1965–1954. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Easton, P. & Klees, S. (1992). Conceptualizing the role of education in the economy. In R. Arnove, P. Altbach, & G. Kelly, (Eds.), Emergent issues in education: Comparative perspectives (pp. 123–142). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Finkelstein, B. (1991). Dollars and dreams: Classrooms as fictitious message systems, 1790–1930. History of Education Quarterly, 31, 462–487.
Gispen, K. (1989). New profession, old order: Engineers and German society, 1815–1914. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Goldin, C. & Katz, L. (1999). Human capital and social capital: The rise of seconday schooling in America, 1910–1940. Journal of Interdisciplinary history, 29, 683–723.
Green, A. (1990). Education and state formation: The rise of educational systems in England, France, and the USA. London: The Macmillan Press.
Green, A. (1991). The peculiarities of English education. In Department of Cultural Studies, (Eds.), Education limited: Schooling and training and the New Right since 1979 (pp. 6–30). London: Unwin Hyman.
Green, A. (1997). Education, globalization and the nation state. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Grew, R. & Harrigan, P. (1991). School, state, and society: The growth of elementary schooling in nineteenth-century France–A quantitative analysis. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.
Grubb, W. & Lazerson, M. (2004). The education gospel: The economic power of schooling. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Hansen, H. (1997). Caps and gowns: Historical reflections on the institutions that shaped learning for and at work in Germany and the United States. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Hobsbawm, E. (1990). Industry and empire: From 1750 to the present day. London: Penguin.
Honey, J. (1987). The sinews of society: The public schools as a “system.” In D. Muller, F. Ringer, & B. Simon, The rise of the modern educational system: Structural change and social reproduction, 1870– 1920 (pp. 151–162). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Jeismann, K. (1995). American observations concerning the Prussian educational system in the nineteenth century. In H. Geitz, J. Heideking, & J. Herbst (Eds.), German influences on education in the United States to 1917 (pp. 21–41). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kaestle, C. (1973). Joseph Lancaster and the monitorial school movement: A documentary history. New York: Teachers College Press.
Kaestle, C. (1976). Between the Scylla of brutal ignorance and the Charybdis of a literary education: Elite attitudes toward mass schooling in early industrial England and America. In L. Stone (Ed.), Schooling and society: Studies in the history of education (pp. 177–191). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Kaestle, C. (1983). Pillars of the republic: Common schools and American society, 1780–1860. New York: Hill and Wang.
Kaestle, C. & Vinovskis, M. (1980). Education and social change in Massachusetts. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Kandel, I. (1933). Comparative education. New York: Houghton Mifflin.
Katz, M. (1987). Reconstructing American education. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Kazamias, A. (1966). Politics, society and secondary education in England. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Kennedy, K. (2005). The persistence of religion in Germany's modernizing schools, from empire to republic. Paedagogica Historica, 41, 119–130.
Labaree, D. (1997). How to succeed in school without really learning: The credentials race in American education. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Labaree, D. (2006). Mutual subversion: A short history of the liberal and the professional in American higher education. History of Education Quarterly, 46, 1–15.
Lacqueur, T. (1976). Working-class demand and the growth of English elementary education, 1750–1850. In L. Stone (Ed.), Schooling and society: Studies in the history of education (pp. 192–205). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Lamberti, M. (1989). State, society, and the elementary school in imperial Germany. New York: Oxford University Press.
Leloudis, J. (1996). Schooling in the new South: Pedagogy, self, and society in North Carolina, 1880–1920. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
Lindert, P. (2004). Growing public: Social spending and economic growth since the eighteenth century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lowe, R. (1987). Structural change in English higher education, 1870–1920. In D. Muller, F. Ringer, & B. Simon (Eds.), The rise of the modern educational system: Structural change and social reproduction, 1870–1920 (pp. 163–178). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Madrick, J. (2002). Why economies grow: The forces that shape productivity and how we can get them working again. New York: Basic Books.
Maynes, M. J. (1985). Schooling for the people: Comparative local studies of schooling history in France and Germany, 1750–1850. New York: Holmes & Meier.
Melton, J. (1988). Absolutism and the eighteenth century origins of compulsory schooling in Prussia and Austria. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Melton, J. (2001). Pietism, politics, and the public sphere in Germany. In J. Bradley & D. Van Kley (Eds.), Religion and politics in enlightenment Europe (pp. 294–333). South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press.
Mokyr, J. (2002). The gifts of Athena: Historical origins of the knowledge economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Muller, D., Ringer, F., & Simon, B. (Eds.) (1987). The rise of the modern educational system: Structural change and social reproduction, 1870–1920. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Muller, D. (1987). The process of systematization: The case of German secondary education. In D. Muller, F. Ringer, & B. Simon (Eds.), The rise of the modern educational system: Structural change and social reproduction, 1870–1920 (pp. 15–52). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Nash, M. (2005). Women's education in the United States, 1780–1840. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Nóvoa, A. (2000). Europe and education: Historical and comparative approaches. In J. Bouzakis (Ed.), Historical-comparative perspectives (pp. 47–69). Athens: Gutenberg Press.
Pollard, S. (1988). Peaceful conquest: The industrialization of Europe 1760–1970. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Provasnik, S. (2001, October). Seeing the rise of universal schooling in the making of modern western society: A synthesis of scholarship. Paper presented at the History of Education Society Annual Meeting, New Haven, CN.
Ramirez, F. & Boli, J. (1987, January). The political construction of mass schooling: European origins and worldwide institutionalization. Sociology of Education, 60, 2–17.
Reese, W. (1995). The origins of the American high school. New Haven, CN: Yale University Press.
Reese, W. (2005). America's public schools: From the common school to “No child left behind”. Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Ringer, F. (1979). Education and society in modern Europe. Bloomington, IA: Indiana University Press.
Ringer, F. (2000). Towards a social history of knowledge: Collected essays. New York: Berghahn Books.
Rubenstein, W. D. (1993). Capitalism, culture, and decline in Britain, 1750–1990. London: Routledge.
Rury, J. (2005). Education and social change: Themes in the history of American Schooling. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Schama, S. (1989). Citizens: A chronicle of the French Revolution. New York: Knopf.
Sellers, C. (1991). The market revolution: Jacksonian America, 1815–1846. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Silver, H. (1975). English education and the radicals 1780–1850. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Simon, B. (1960). Studies in the history of education, 1780–1870. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
Simon, B. (1965). Education and the labor movement, 1870–1920. London: Lawrence & Wishart.
Stephens, W. B. (1998). Education in Britain, 1750–1914. New York: St. Martin's Press.
Terzian, S. & Beadie, N. (2002). “Let the people remember it”: Academies and the rise of the public high schools, 1865–1890. In N. Beadie & K. Tolley (Eds.), Chartered schools: Two hundred years of independent academies in the United States, 1727–1925 (pp. 251–283). New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
Thelin, J. (2004). A history of American higher education. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Tyack, D. (2003). Seeking common ground: Public schools in a diverse society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wardle, D. (1976). English popular education 1780–1975. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Weber, E. (1976). Peasants into Frenchmen: The modernization of rural France, 1870–1914. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
West, E. (1975). Education and the industrial revolution. New York: Barnes & Noble.
Williams, H. (2005). Self-taught: African American education in slavery and freedom. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.
Wong, T. (2002). Hegemonies compared: State formation and Chinese school politics in postwar Singapore and Hong Kong. London: RoutledgeFalmer.
Editors and Affiliations
Rights and permissions
© 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Carl, J. (2009). Industrialization and Public Education: Social Cohesion and Social Stratification. In: Cowen, R., Kazamias, A.M. (eds) International Handbook of Comparative Education. Springer International Handbooks of Education, vol 22. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6403-6_32
Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht
Print ISBN: 978-1-4020-6402-9
Online ISBN: 978-1-4020-6403-6
eBook Packages: Humanities, Social Sciences and LawEducation (R0)