In the second half of the 19th century, comprehensive Histories of Education started to be written in the United States. Especially in their treatment of history from the Reformation onwards, these books «invented a tradition» presenting everything as a preparation to the full realization of the Common School model, overlooking the fact that education in the US was largely made of individual efforts or organized by local communities. This narrative was made popular by its dominance in textbooks for teacher training, being therefore repeated in classrooms. While «revisionist» historians of the 1960’s attributed it to the Progressive Era authors, we argue that it was born much earlier, together with the Common School movement itself, and we analyze the major elements of its narrative, seen as a self-aware technique more than a failed attempt by amateur historians.
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