or, what was history for?
This chapter serves three functions. First, it traces the history of history teaching from the mid-nineteenth century to the Edwardian period. To do so, it draws from inspectors’ reports and contemporary literature and examines changing attitudes to the value of history education. Further attention is given to explaining the primary sources used in this study: namely, the privileging of reading books/literacy texts over textbooks, and the use of method manuals and texts on pedagogy. Attention is paid to histories of educational publishing. Second, the chapter positions these changes of attitude in the late-Victorian social, cultural and political context in order to explore two questions. Why were so many concerned about the content and method of history lessons? To what extent did contemporaneous debates about history reflect imperial concerns? Finally, the chapter introduces the concept of enlightened patriotism and demonstrates how – at a pedagogical level – educationists believed history could be used to fuse the objectives of both imperialism and citizenship.
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