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Who Is Horace Mann?


Horace Mann (May 4, 1796 – August 2, 1859) is an American education reformer, and a member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives from 1827 to 1833. He served in the Massachusetts Senate from 1834 to 1837. In 1848, after serving as Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education since its creation, he was elected to the US House of Representatives. Mann was a brother-in-law to author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Arguing that universal public education was the best way to turn the nation's unruly children into disciplined, judicious republican citizens, Mann won widespread approval from modernizers, especially in his Whig Party, for building public schools. Most states adopted one version or another of the system he established in Massachusetts, especially the program for "normal schools" to train professional teachers.  Mann has been credited by many educational historians as the "Father of the Common School Movement.

Most historians treat Mann as the most important and beneficial leader of education reform in the antebellum period.


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