How Schooling Changed after the American Revolution

By Phineas Upham

Colonial education standards adopted by Massachusetts quickly became the standard for education in the American colonies. One teacher led the classroom in instruction, classrooms were only male, and a tuition system paid for the entire setup. This foundation has not changed much over time, but how that system was administered changed dramatically for the South after the American Revolution.

Most southern schools were operated by Jesuit Priests, and some Southern citizens even sent sons overseas for an education in England.

George Thorpe wanted to change that for the natives in the area when he was made deputy in charge of 10,000 acres of land. He wanted to set it aside to build a school for the natives, but he was killed during the Indian Massacre of 1622. Natives, tired of attacks on their own, used subterfuge and surprise tactics to kill every man woman and child they found in the English colony of Virginia.

Elsewhere in the South, schooling was carried out by private grants and a few public ventures. Many schools were run by ministers, especially as it pertained to the poorest students. The system was best described as “Hodge Podge”, and remained so until after the American Revolution.

County academies became commonplace, and South Carolina opened a series of free public schools to teach literacy and arithmetic. Segregation was already strong in the South, but there were public schools for black children. Until the 1900s, however, high school was a privilege reserved strictly for white children in that part of the country.

Phineas Upham is an investor from NYC and SF. You may contact Phin on his Phineas Upham website or Facebook page.