Compulsion Schooling

The center of the scheme was Massachusetts, the closest thing to a theocracy to have emerged in America. The list below is a telling record of the long gap between the Massachusetts compulsory law of 1852 and similar legislation adopted by the next set of states. Instructive also in the chronology is the place taken by the District of Columbia, the seat of federal government.

Compulsory School Legislation

1852 Massachusetts 1875 Maine
1865 District of Columbia New Jersey
1867 Vermont 1876 Wyoming Territory
1871 New Hampshire 1877 Ohio
Washington Territory 1879 Wisconsin
1872 Connecticut 1883 Rhode Island
New Mexico Territory Illinois
1873 Nevada Dakota Territory
1874 New York Montana Territory

Six other Western states and territories were added by 1890. Finally in 1918, sixty-six years after the Massachusetts force legislation, the forty-eighth state, Mississippi, enacted a compulsory school attendance law. Keep in mind Cubberley’s words: everywhere there was "strenuous opposition."