This thesis is a critical examination of the history of philosophies governing public education in the United States. The first half, chapters one through six, outlines American conceptions of the role of the school in relation to the state and to democracy. The second half is an account of critical progressive philosophies that have challenged the American status-quo since the independence. The main argument that I propose here is that the creation of an education system in America has followed the philosophies of federalism and private democracy. These philosophies are economically centered and define the citizen in economic terms. Progressive educators have long questioned this definition and seek to redefine citizenship to describe participatory democracy, and communication based on experience and an ethic of care.
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