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Education History: The American Chautauqua Education Movement

The Chautauqua movement was the most important of the popular free education movements in the history of the United States. So why is it not more known and talked about ?…

It was through the activities of the Chautauqua Institution that the world was opened to the isolated communities of the then new Middle West.  Started for the purpose of training Sunday School teachers it rapidly expanded its offerings as popular demand came from thousands of culture starved communities and angry, inchoate movements of social protest.

From its genesis in 1874 it came to found and shape not only universities but the whole of American higher education.  The Chautauqua movement was not a single, unified, coherent plan directed by a single individual or a group, it was, fundamentally, a response to an unspoken demand, a sensitive alertness to the cravings of millions of people for something better! (Joseph E. Gould, The Chautauqua Movement) Read more