The idea of a government education system was foisted on the American people by a coalition of Owenite communists, Harvard Unitarians, and misguided evangelical Protestants.
Back in the 1980s, I wrote a book entitled Is Public Education Necessary? In it I argued that the American people never clamored for a government education system. They were quite satisfied with the private academies that were doing an excellent job of educating their children. But what I discovered through my research was that the idea of a government education system had been foisted on the American people by a coalition of Owenite communists, Harvard Unitarians, and misguided evangelical Protestants.
The Owenite communists wanted to use the government schools as a means of preparing American youth to accept a communist way of life; the Unitarians wanted to use the government schools to promote secularism and wean America away from orthodox Calvinism; and the Protestants wanted to use the government schools as a means of converting Catholic immigrant children into Protestants.
So what did the Catholics do? They created their own parochial school system that taught children the academic basics as well as Catholic religious doctrine. Over the decades, Catholic schools have produced well-educated, patriotic young citizens of the United States.
Owenite communism, aka utopian socialism, was the brainchild of Robert Owen (1771–1858), an Englishman who fancied himself a messiah and was passionately anti-religion. According to Wikipedia, he believed that all religions were “based on the same ridiculous imagination, that make man a weak, imbecile animal, a furious bigot and fanatic, or a miserable hypocrite." He was determined to change the world. He and his sons came to America in the 1820s and set up their experimental communist community at New Harmony, Indiana. After two years, it failed. Owen concluded that one had to be educated at an early age to accept a communist way of life, and so he and his sons shifted their efforts to promoting a government school system in America that would mold children into little communists.
Orestes Brownson, who had worked with the Owenites, later wrote about his experience after he had converted to Catholicism:
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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)