Date of Award
Gerald P. Bodet
The first three years of the twentieth century were a crucial time in the development of state-funded education in England. The rising tide of Germanophobia in the wake of the South African War impressed Conservative politicians with the need to improve England's educational system in order that she remain competitive in the world. With the aid of a very few Liberal imperialists, the Conservatives were able to shepherd through a series of bills which established state funded secondary schools throughout all of England, an expansion on the system created by the Education Act of 1870 in terms of both curriculum and breadth of jurisdiction.
The Liberals opposed much of this legislation based on their allegiance to their nonconformist constituents, who viewed the expanse of state-funded schools as a threat to their voluntary schools and as an attempt to enforce Anglican uniformity. The fact that these MPs opposed these bills, and later modified them greatly when Liberal, and later Labour, governments came to power in the decade immediately preceding the first World War, should in no way diminish the importance of these pieces of Conservative legislation.
This essay fits into the historiography of its topic in that it provides a detailed examination of debates which have often been overlooked due to historians' emphasis on the later Liberal legislation.
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Burnett, Jason K., "Building a Better Briton: Parliament's Push for State-Funded Secondary Schools, 1901-1903" (2000). University of New Orleans Theses and Dissertations. 2120.