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Bohi, M. Janette / A history of Wisconsin State University Whitewater, 1868-1968
(1967)

2 Concerning establishment: origins and location (1868: before and after),   pp. 19-34


Page 19

2 
Concerning Establisbment: 
Origins and Location 
(1868: Before and After) 
The man you left in New York you find again in almost 
impenetrable solitudes: same clothes, same attitude, same 
language, same habits, same pleasures. 
-TOCQUEVILLE' 
Because man is the highest expression of God's creative miracle, hope 
springs eternal in his breast. Through institutions he has sought to per-
petuate his fruitful past and to promulgate his glorious future, thus 
expressing his zest for life. The normal school movement was initially 
oriented toward Christian ethical concepts. In his Twelfth Annual Report
to the Massachusetts Board of Education (1848) Horace Mann wrote: 
"Under the Providence of God, our means of education are the grand 
machinery by which the 'raw material' of human nature can be worked 
up .... - "2 In another context he declared, "Moral education is
a primal 
necessity of social existence. Mann grew up in an environment governed 
by poverty, hardship, and self denial. Like many of the intellectuals of
his day, he broke with Calvinism in his teens, but the influence of his early
training manifested itself in the moralism of his intellectual and personal
temperament. To him public education was a moral obligation, a convic- 
tion that lost none of its effervescence on the way from Massachusetts 
to Whitewater. 
The men from New England and New York who laid out the streets 
of southeastern Wisconsin understood Mann's language, and the same 
prayers ascended with the smoke of their cabins as had been uttered in 
Cortland County, New York. While the village of Whitewater was edging 
its way toward civility and refinement, the country from which its people
came was advancing the normal school idea. In 1839, one year before 
Whitewater could boast of its log schoolhouse, the first public normal in
the United States was opened at Lexington, followed in close succession 
by Barre and Bridgewater, all in Mann's home state. By 1850 four more 
19 


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