Spring 2014

Faculty Advisor

Dr. Max Geier


This paper looks at education reform with a focus on Oregon during a tenuous time period of U.S History, from around 1850 through the turn of the century; the Gilded Age. Oregon’s upper and middle classes perceived themselves as the moral, and intellectual ideal in a time of transition and destabilization of American society following the Civil War and leading up the Progressive era. Many of which saw education reform as their responsibility. These perceptions coupled with racism and classism to transform positive intentions into conditions of paternalistic control and resulted in many communities having to cope with an education system pulled out of their hands over a relatively short time period. Using primary source materials, including newspapers, letters, and government documents, this paper looks to recreate the dialogue and analyze the true nature of the reforms through a number of different community perspectives, including: Native Americans, African Americans and rural Oregonians. The argument fits into the wider educational history to help understand how U.S education developed into its current manifestation.

Document Type


PDF-A Education Prescription and Disregarded Side Effects_ Gilded Age.pdf (866 kB)
PDF/A Version