French and Spanish North America

Education in both Spanish and French America was largely administered by the Catholic Church or by missionaries connected to various Catholic brotherhoods, such as the Jesuits and Franciscans. Because so few Spanish or French women came to the colonies, making for few settler families, most education was oriented toward either Native American or mixed-race children. The very first schools established in the Western Hemisphere by Europeans were in Mexico in the 1520s, set up under Franciscan tutelage. Because the schools consisted of native children, the friars taught in the native language. The curriculum consisted of basic reading, writing, and arithmetic, as well as the Catholic catechism. Special schools were also established for abandoned mestizo children, the offspring of Spanish fathers and native mothers. In general, however, schools in New Spain in both Mexico and what is now the southwestern United States were few and far between. Literacy was exceptionally low among Native Americans and mestizos in Spain’s North American colonies. A similar pattern developed in colonial Canada under the French. Native American and mixed-race children, or Mtis, were largely educated in mission schools, including those run by the Jesuit and Ursuline orders, the latter an order of nuns. The first mission school in Quebec was founded in TroisRivi¨res in 1616. As with schools in Spanish America, the emphasis was on basic literacy and the Catholic liturgy, with the goal of training Native American missionaries to advance the conversion of native Canadian peoples. As most French settlers lived on isolated farms, there was little in the way of formal education in rural areas. In towns and cities, however, the French tried to recreate the school system that existed in France. This system tended to be more centralized, whether under government or church control, and it emphasized intellectual training in Latin, Greek, and philosophy for university preparation. As in New Spain, however, the vast majority of natives and settlers in New France received no formal education. Education for a New Republic The American Revolution represented a significant break in the education offered in Britain’s North American colonies. Temporarily, the war disrupted formal schooling. In its wake, American educators began to emphasize more practical education. In addition, schools both private and public became centers for inculcating citizenship values. Thomas Jefferson and some of the other founders firmly believed that an educated citizenry was essential to the proper functioning of a republic. Education for the children of middling and lower-class Americans became increasingly widespread in the new country, with the broad exception of the rural South. James Ciment See also: Arts, Culture, and Intellectual Life (Essay); Child Rearing; Children; Education, Higher; Reading and Literacy; Document: A Tutor and his Pupils (1773 1774). Bibliography Cohen, Patricia Cline. A Calculating People: The Spread of Numeracy in Early America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982. Cremin, Lawrence. American Education: The Colonial Experience, 1607 1783. New York: Harper & Row, 1970. Lockridge, Kenneth. Literacy in Colonial New England. New York: W. W. Norton, 1974. Education, Higher As a central energizing force in the American experience, higher education in the British North American colonies started out following English and Continental European models, but it eventually developed distinctive American characteristics. Among the colleges established between 1607 and 1775, all, with one exception, set out to train ministers in the predominant religion of the respective colonies. Yet, almost from the beginning, they also endeavored to educate all students in the humanities and sciences, as well as in the useful arts. Mitchell Ridge History of colonialism – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 1492 — Incursions in North America

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