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The War that Wasn't: Religious Conflict and Compromise in the Common Schools of New York State, 1865-1900


reviewed by Chara Haeussler Bohan — 2006

coverTitle: The War that Wasn't: Religious Conflict and Compromise in the Common Schools of New York State, 1865-1900
Author(s): Benjamin Justice
Publisher: State University of New York Press, Albany
ISBN: 0791462110, Pages: 285, Year: 2005
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Benjamin Justice boldly challenges the religious warfare thesis in his beautifully written and carefully researched book, The War that Wasn’t: Religious Conflict and Compromise in the Common Schools of New York State, 1865-1900.  In a comprehensive analysis of the common schools in New York State before the turn of the twentieth century, Justice successfully argues that compromise, rather than conflict, dominated religious concerns in the common schools of the time period.  Indeed, common schools were “common to all” including people of increasingly diverse religious affiliations.  Justice finds that the democratic tradition out of which American public schools originated led to locally crafted, democratically engineered solutions to religious differences extant in common schools.  Justice also challenges the prevailing idea that religious concerns dominated the common school curriculum.  He argues that religious exercises were perfunctory and generally limited to rote, opening drills at the beginning of the school day.  Justice’s novel analysis... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 108 Number 1, 2006, p. 96-100
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12074, Date Accessed: 12/18/2017 9:52:44 AM

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About the Author
  • Chara Bohan
    Baylor University
    E-mail Author
    CHARA HAEUSSLER BOHAN is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Baylor University. Her research interests include education history, women’s studies, and social studies curriculum. She has contributed to journals such as Theory and Research in Social Education, The Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, Social Studies and the Young Learner, and Curriculum and Teaching Dialogue. She authored Go to the Sources: Lucy Maynard Salmon and the Teaching of History, and co-edited a primary source compilation of education documents, Readings in American Educational Thought: From Puritanism to Progressivism.
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