Horace Mann, an American educationist, born in Franklin, Mass., May 4,1796, died at Yellow Springs, Ohio, Aug. 2, 1859. His father was a farmer in limited circumstances, and the education of the son was obtained entirely from the common district schools until the age of 20, when he fitted himself to enter the sophomore class of Brown university, at Providence, R. L, where he graduated in 1819. The theme of his oration, "The Progressive Character of the Human Race," foreshadowed his future career. After his graduation he was tutor in Latin and Greek in Brown university; subsequently he studied in the law school of Litchfield, Conn., was admitted to the bar in 1823, and opened an office in Dedham, Mass. In 1827 he was elected to the legislature, and immediately took an active part in the discussion of all important questions, especially such as related to morals, public charities, education, or the welfare of the poor, the ignorant, or unfortunate classes. He was foremost in procuring the enactment of laws for the suppression of intemperance and the traffic in lottery tickets, and for improving the system of common schools.
The establishment of the state lunatic hospital at Worcester was due to his untiring efforts; he was chairman of the commission that erected the buildings, and in 1833 was chairman of the board of trustees of the institution. He continued to be returned by large majorities as a representative from Dedham till 1833, when he removed to Boston and entered into partnership with Edward G. Loring. At the first election after he became a citizen of Boston he was chosen a member of the state senate, and by reelections was continued a senator for four years. In 1836 and again in 1837 he was president of the senate. While in the legislature he was a member and for part of the time chairman of the committee for the revision of the state statutes; and a large number of most salutary provisions were incorporated into the code at his suggestion. After the revised statutes were enacted, he was appointed in conjunction with Judge Metcalf to edit the work, for which he prepared the marginal notes and the references to judicial decisions. - At the organization of the Massachusetts board of education, June 29, 1837, he was elected its secretary, and for the next eleven years was annually reelected. On accepting this office he withdrew from all other professional and business engagements and from politics.
He introduced a thorough reform in the school system of the state; extensive changes in the law relating to schools were adopted; normal schools were established; school committees were paid; a system of county educational conventions was instituted; by means of "school registers" the actual condition of the schools was ascertained; and from the detailed reports of the school committees the secretary made valuable abstracts, which he embodied in his annual reports, forming several large volumes. In 1843, under the auspices of the board, but at his own expense, he visited Europe, to examine schools and to obtain such information as could be made available at home. His seventh annual report, made on his return, embodied the results of this tour. Many editions were printed, not only in Massachusetts, but in other states, sometimes by order of legislatures, sometimes by private individuals; and several editions were printed in England. This report, in which he advocated the disuse of corporal punishment in school discipline, involved him in a controversy with some of the Boston teachers, which resulted in the adoption of his views on discipline in the schools.. The " Common School Journal," which he | edited and much of which he wrote, consists of 10 vols. 8vo. He published a volume of lectures on education, at the request of the board.
He travelled over the state every year to hold conventions or teachers' institutes, at which he often taught during the day and lectured in the evening. His correspondence was voluminous. He was continually called upon for legal opinions in regard to school matters, which he always gave gratuitously; and whenever the cases were brought before the courts, his opinions were invariably sustained, lie superintended the erection of two state normal school houses, and drew plans and gave directions for hundreds of others. He says in his "Supplementary Report" in 1848: "From the time when 1 accepted the secretaryship in June, 1837, until May, 1848, when I tendered my resignation of it, I labored in this cause an average of not less than 15 hours a day; from the beginning to the end of this period, I never took a single day for relaxation, and months and months together passed without my withdrawing a single evening from working hours to call upon a friend. My whole time was devoted, if not wisely, yet continuously and cheerfully, to the great trust confided to my hands." In the spring of 1848 he was elected to congress, to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John Quiney Adams. On June 30 he made his first speech in maintenance of the right of congress to legislate for the territories of the United States, and its duty to exclude slavery therefrom.
In the ensuing November he was reelected, receiving 11,000 out of 13,000 votes. During his first session he volunteered as counsel for Drayton and Sayres, indicted for stealing 76 slaves in the District of Columbia, and at the trial was engaged for 21 successive days in their defence. In 1850 he engaged in a controversy with Daniel Webster in regard to the extension of slavery and the fugitive slave law, and Mr. Webster's famous speech of March 7 of that year. At the ensuing election in November Mr. Webster's friends succeeded in the whig convention in defeating by a single vote Mr. Mann's renomination. He. however, appealed to the people as an independent anti-slavery candidate, and was reelected. His last speech in congress was on the slavery question, Aug. 17, 1852. On Sept. 15 the state convention of the free-soil party of Massachusetts nominated Mr. Mann for governor, and on the same day he was chosen president of Antioch college, a new institution just established at Yellow Springs, Greene co., Ohio. Failing in the election, he accepted the presi-dency of the college, and continued there till his death, laboring with zeal and energy in the cause of education and philanthropy.
He carried the institution through its early pecuniary and other difficulties, and satisfied himself by the experiment that a college for the common education of both sexes was practicable - Besides his annual reports, his volume of lectures on education, and his voluminous controversial writings, he published "A Few Thoughts for a Young Man" (Boston, 1850) "Slavery: Letters and Speeches" 1851); "Lectures on Intemperance" (1852); and " Powers and Duties of Woman " (1853). See "Life of Horace Mann," by his wife, Mary Peabody Mann (Boston, 1865); his "Life and Works" (2 vols., Cambridge, 1867); and "Thoughts selected from his Writings " (1869). His lectures on.education were translated into French by Eugene de Guer, under the title De l'importance de Veducation dans une repubiique, with a preface and biographical sketch by Laboulaye (Paris, 1873).