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Education in the Colonial Period: A Great Divide

Napoleon, from George Orwell’s satirical novel entitled “Animal Farm” provided an additional rule to the farm’s original seven commandments regarding animal equality. The rule indirectly stated that the pigs were superior to all the animals in the farm and were thus, entitled to several privileges. This rule was the mindset of the people during the Colonial period on education. Education for the youth of that period varied depending on their economic status, place of residence, race, ethnicity and gender.

The citizens of the north for instance, were generally more educated than those from the south due to the proliferation of public schools in the former which was highly difficult to achieve in the latter. Also, the North was greatly influenced by the Puritans who “put heavy emphasis on education, specifically so that young and old would be able to read the Scriptures” (Grenet 1). Aside from geography, gender and economic status also played major parts. Boys surpassed girls during that period with respect to education.

Education for women was limited to skills needed for the home such as cooking, embroidering and knitting socks. For the boys with moneyed families, private tutors were hired, whereas, those from lower classes were either taught at home or in public or dame schools. Ethnicity and race as well divided the haves from the have-nots. The children, from both colonies, were programmed to think that humans were ranked according to race. Consequently, “A child influenced by this ongoing indoctrination would not expect the black race to take an equal place in American civilization (Cheek 1)”.

Blacks were believed to be incompetent and inept; hence, there was no reason to further educate them in any way. Throughout the years, the education system has changed rapidly. Education, now, is available to the majority regardless of their background. A new day has dawned.

Works Cited

Cheek,Karen. ”Education in the Southern Colonies. ”5 April 2008< http://www. nd. edu/ > Grenet, Phyllis. ” American Life: A Comparison of Colonial Life to Today’s Life. ” Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute. 5 April 2008< http://www. yale. edu/ >

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