US. History I
2 April 2014
The Chautauqua Movement
The Progressive Era was a time when many Gilded Age issues and problems were either improved or resolved. Some of the greatest improvements were in the areas of the Arts and Education. At the turn of the 20th century, education was very scarce. Many people were illiterate and not many children had the opportunity to go to school because they were too busy working in factories or on farms. However, it had been a goal of some Progressive reformers to develop programs that would eliminate children’s participation in child labor, and increase their involvement in education and extracurricular activities (Davis). To that end, in 1874, John Heyl Vincent and Lewis Miller rented the site of a Methodist camp to use a summer school for Sunday school teachers. This was known as the Chautauqua Institution (History of the Chautauqua Movement). The original Chautauqua Lake Sunday School Assembly in western New York began as a program for the training of Sunday-school teachers and church workers. Soon the institution drew in more curious people and they expanded their studies to politics, culture, literature, and science. They attended lectures and performances but unfortunately the decline of the movement put an end to Chautauquas reign. During the Progressive Era, the Chautauqua Movement impacted American Society by providing adult education in various subjects, exposing people to many new ideas, and paving the way for new ideas regarding mass entertainment.
The expansion of the Chautauqua idea later extended from general education to lectures, discussions, and home readings. A combination of formal classes, informal conferences, recreation and entertainment had also been offered. It was through the success of the Chautauqua’s initial year that the program’s expansion was inspired. In 1875, Hebrew and Greek classes were added for student use. A year later, in 1876, English...
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Vol. 1: 1900s-1910s. Detroit: UXL, 2002. 118-120. Gale Virtual Reference
Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 2. New York: Charles Scribner 's Sons, 2003.
113-114. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
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