The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.XXIII. Education
§ 30. Private Societies
The literature of science and philosophy stimulated in England and France chiefly through the quasi-public academies and in the Teutonic countries chiefly through state-controlled universities, found its chief encouragement in America through privately organized societies. The earliest of these was the famous Junto of Benjamin Franklin, organized in 1743. In 1780 this developed into the American Philosophical Society at Philadelphia. The same year the American Academy of Arts and Sciences was organized at Boston. This institution was chiefly under English influences, as the former was under French. Under the auspices of these two organizations most of the early scientific and philosophical publications of Americans were produced. Much of this literature was of very practical character, relating to agriculture, climatology, applied sciences, industry. Before 1820 eight or ten such societies were organized. After that period the number of such societies increased rapidly; but with growth in numbers came increased specialization. The development of the natural sciences brought about a less popular character of publication. Finally the literature of these societies became so technical as to fall out of the field of general educational literature.
As has been indicated, almost half a century of national life had passed before the masses or even the leaders came to any general realization of the importance of public education to the new nation. During the second half century (1825–1875), which may be termed the middle national period, education was nationalized, democratized, and made free. This necessitated the education of the masses of the new democracy to the significance of education in its political and social bearing; the conversion of the professional teacher to a revised form of schooling less aristocratic in control, content, and method; and the conversion of the professional teacher to a revised form of schooling less aristocratic in control, content, and method; and the persuasion of the hard-headed, not to say close-fisted, taxpayer that the expense was a legitimate object of government, not simply a matter of individual inclination and ambition. Each was a difficult task, and each produced its own type of literature.