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Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain$
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G. R. Searle

Print publication date: 1993

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203575

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203575.001.0001

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The Problem of Education

The Problem of Education

(p.236) 7 The Problem of Education
Entrepreneurial Politics in Mid-Victorian Britain

G. R. Searle

Oxford University Press

According to Harold Perkin, the 1870 Education Act (along with the 1862 Revised Code) in Britain provided the ideal entrepreneurial education for a docile and permanent labour force. The author of that Act, W. E. Forster, was a businessman Radical who had recently been highly active in the Chambers of Commerce movement. However, educational historians now generally agree that the main catalyst for the 1870 Act was not economic pressure. More important was the discovery, from a survey of Manchester, that the country was probably less well provided with elementary schools than the ‘experts’ had previously supposed. This chapter explores whether the principles of the entrepreneurial Radicals were capable of being applied to educational problems, voluntaryism and the creation of an educational market, secularism and education, public subsidy for church schools, capitalism as a goal of education, and entrepreneurial Radicals' views on higher education.

Keywords:   Britain, 1870 Education Act, education, W. E. Forster, entrepreneurial Radicals, elementary schools, voluntaryism, secularism, public subsidy, capitalism

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