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Horace Mann

Activist / Political Figure / Educator

Born: 4 May 1796
Died: 2 August 1859
Birthplace: Franklin, Massachusetts
Best known as: The "Father of American Education"
Horace Mann was a Massachusetts lawyer and social reformer whose advocacy of tax-supported "common schools" laid the groundwork for the American public school system. A Whig, Mann was a lawyer who served in the state legislature (1827-37), was secretary of the commonwealth's first board of education (1837-48), served two terms in the U.S. House of Representatives (1848-52) and then spent the remainder of his career as the president of Ohio's Antioch College (now Antioch University). Brought up in austere Protestantism, Mann became one of the nation's most prominent Unitarians, known for his zeal for social reform. His ambitious program for public schools called for universal education, centralized oversight at the state level and religiously neutral education policies, all of which are still considered the bedrock of American public education.
Extra credit: Mann went to Congress in 1848 to fill the seat of the deceased John Quincy Adams.

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