Education for all has been one of the grand causes of national progress. Less than a century ago comparatively few of the working folk could read.
One of the reasons for the growth of popular education has been the spread of democratic ideas and of the application of industry to science. It began to dawn upon the people how profitable it would be for each inhabitant of a country to be able to communicate with or receive communications from others through ability to read and write. This ability, once gained and used, would break down the barriers which cut off a large part of the people from the influence of the current of the intellectual life of the nation, and also in a measure would efface the inequality which is caused by the neglect to provide any kind of instruction for the masses. There were charity schools supported by the churches or other charitable organizations before the beginning of the last century, but these were few and far between. Whatever education was given was granted as a boon. To-day education is regarded as a right in a civilized country, and an enlightened government appreciates the fact that the illiterate cannot become good citizens. Mental development leads to moral development, and influences physical improvement.
Governments have taken measures to insure public education, assisted or free. If the United States was not the first, it has made the most progress, until now there are about 17,000,000 children enrolled in the common schools. The normal schools have multiplied fast. "These schools have trained the teachers to make the best of their opportunities for the education of the young, and nowadays the important duty of teaching is not left to men who can do nothing else, as was the case not much longer than a half-century ago. These normal trained teachers have brought the best methods to their aid in their work. The methods are so numerous that we cannot go into detail here. The comfortable, well-lighted