Textbooks, teachers, and compromise: The political work of freedmen education

Ashley Marie Swarthout, University of Texas at El Paso


After the end of the Civil War, Northerners flooded into the South in order to participate in the education of freedmen. While many, perhaps most, of the individuals who worked in freedmen education had the best interests of the freedmen in mind, freedmen education in of itself was inherently political; therefore, all contributors to freedmen education were also sponsors of Southern Reconstruction politics. It is my argument that the aid organizations (particularly the American Missionary Association and the American Freedmen's Union Commission), the writers and printers of freedmen-specific textbooks (the American Tract Society and Lydia Maria Child), and the teachers educating freedmen in the South, placed themselves in a prominent position in order to influence Reconstruction politics and economy by manipulating the freedmen in hopes of controlling the black popular vote, should the freedmen be granted the right to participate in voting practices.

Subject Area

African American Studies|American history|Education history

Recommended Citation

Swarthout, Ashley Marie, "Textbooks, teachers, and compromise: The political work of freedmen education" (2013). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1540001.