Videos

Alan Taylor, “Educating Citizens and Reforming Generations”

In the wake of the American Revolution, political leaders insisted that their new republic could not survive without improved and more comprehensive public education meant to create better informed citizens. But the push for educational reform often ran afoul of local legislators and voters, who balked at the taxes needed to fund expanded systems of education.

In his talk, historian Alan Taylor discusses this​ ​intriguing irony—that republican reliance on popular sovereignty complicated efforts by elites to improve voters through education.


Alan Taylor
Alan Taylor
Alan Taylor is​ ​widely regarded as one of the nation’s leading experts on​ ​Colonial America and the early​ ​U.S. republic. Taylor’s books on early American history have been lauded by critics and recognized with numerous awards, including the Bancroft and Beveridge prizes, as well as the Pulitzer Prize (twice). Since 2014 Taylor has been the Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor of History at the University of Virginia. He previously served on the history faculties of the University of California, Davis, and Boston University. In 1993–94, he was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center.

Alan Taylor photo by Lynn R. Friedman