Education, like every other department of European life, had been deeply affected by the French Revolution and its aftermath. All the European states had seen ancient institutions tumbled to the ground, ancient conceptions swept away; the only exceptions were Russia, remote in its eastern plains, and Great Britain, which in this, as in so many other ways, pursued its own course. In France, out of the debris of the old order had arisen the secular state-controlled ‘University’, founded by Napoleon in 1808 to direct secondary and higher education; nothing was done by the state for primary education until after the Restoration. In Germany academic learning took the place occupied in the other civilised countries of the West by political and economic life; there was nothing in other lands to compare with the German belief in education. In Prussia, in particular, the great revival after 1807 had produced the University of Berlin (1810), which set the standard of all nineteenth-century university work. The Gymnasium, or secondary school, was developed out of the old Latin school, and primary education was fostered on lines suggested by the Swiss teacher and theorist, Pestalozzi. When peace returned after 1815, there was a widespread interest in education, expressed both by statesmen and by theorists, in all European countries. Everywhere there was much to be done, more especially in the backward countries like Italy, the eastern provinces of the Habsburg empire, and Russia, and considerable efforts were made, though political reaction was often harmful to educational advance. As the century went on, educational policy was influenced in Europe itself by the urge towards national unity and the advance of democracy. In the wider world new prospects of expansion were opened by the growth of the United States and the British self-governing colonies, and by European penetration into other continents. At the same time, although the European world was becoming immensely larger, it was also, through the development of railways, steamships, and telegraphs, being reduced to a single projection, so that men had a far greater mastery of the world in which they lived. If the results at which they aimed were to be achieved, wider educational opportunities were necessary for every level of the population. In consequence the years between 1830 and 1870 saw both a great expansion of the activities of schools and universities in their traditional forms and the provision of greater facilities for the training of technicians, of adults, and of women. There were also striking developments in other methods of forming and influencing opinion, the most important of which was, of course, the newspaper press, which at this time assumed something like its modem form.
The problem which dominated the educational history of all European countries was that of the proper role of the state. To what extent should it intervene, and to what ends? What was to be its relationship with the chinches and with private individuals who might, either corporately or individually, cherish independent aims and ideals of their own? France and the German states stood at one end of the scale and England at the other. Matthew Arnold, in his writings on European educational systems, was never tired of comparing the disorder of English methods, which left almost everything to private individuals and groups, with the ordered and regular state direction which he found in Germany or France, Holland or Switzerland. At the beginning of this period (1830-70) state intervention was not popular in England; yet, although most of the changes introduced were due to private effort, even there the state was taking an increasing share in the direction of educational policy. Both in France and in Prussia state control of education was one expression of the national sovereignty affirmed in the first by the revolution of 1789 and renascent in the second in the great period of reform after Jena. Many Frenchmen thought that the state would fail in its mission if it renounced its position as the promoter of education. A state system of education, Guizot wrote in his Memoirs, was imposed upon France by her ‘history and national genius. We desire unity—the state alone can give it; we have destroyed everything,—we must create anew.’ Fichte had placed his hopes for the future of Germany in a new national system of education. The task of the state, Germans believed, was to elicit, by means of its educational system, the natural forces within itself, and to promote the realisation of the moral ideal by the advancement of culture and the careful training of its citizens. This conception was not limited to absolutist and militarist states like Prussia. In Switzerland, after the overthrow of the old oligarchic cantonal constitutions in 1830, the Liberals showed a great interest in education because they believed it to be the nerve-centre of democratic citizenship, the chief means of raising the level of national life. Consequently it was the duty of the state to help its citizens to make the most of themselves.
If this was to be the purpose of state control, it followed naturally that the education given by the state should serve the state’s own purposes. Thus the government of Napoleon III closely controlled French education, and dismissed professors, such as Michelet the historian and Mickiewicz the Polish poet and Slavonic scholar, who were unfriendly to it. Similarly the government of Frederick William IV of Prussia imposed the Regulation of 1854 on the elementary schools to counteract the danger of modem ideas and to keep the schools loyal to the established system in church and state. The most extreme form of this control was in Russia under Nicolas I (1825-55) when a Minister of Education defined the spirit of Russian education as that of ‘Orthodoxy, Autocracy, Nationality’ (cf. pp. 230 and 363). Yet the institutions, founded by the state to train its own officials, achieved results very different from those intended by statesmen and rulers. When under Alexander II (1855-81) the universities were allowed more freedom, they were producing a new educated class which, unlike the earlier cultured aristocracy, had no assured position in Russian national fife. Hostile to the government and divided from the masses, the Raznochintsi, ‘men of no class’, were a potentially revolutionary force. In western countries, too, the policies of reactionary governments were unable to check the tendencies which made this the great age of academic liberalism. Professors and students played an important role in both the German and Italian revolutions of 1848. In Germany, especially, the universities transcended the barriers of states and religions, and were forcing-houses of liberal and national sentiment. The ‘Gottingen Seven’, professors of that university who were dismissed for protesting against the violation of the constitution by Ernest Augustus of Hanover (1837), were German heroes in their own day (cf. ch. XIX, p. 494). In Switzerland the growth of liberalism after 1830 was closely bound up with the spread of education, and, after the Sonderbund war, one of the signs of closer federal unity was the establishment of a federal technical university, the Zurich Polytechnikum, opened in 1855. But national sentiment was also a cause of educational conflict where nationalities overlapped. Much of the rivalry between Czech and German in Bohemia, or between Magyar and Slovak in Hungary, was fought out in the schools. The same is true of Pole and Russian. After the rising of 1830 Polish education was suppressed in the Russian borderlands, and after the rising of 1863 in the ‘Congress’ kingdom itself (cf. pp. 236 and 376).
Since the role of the state in education expanded rapidly between 1830 and 1870, conflicts could not fail to arise with individuals and associations, the most important of which was the church. The spread of education could hardly have occurred so rapidly without the state’s assistance; yet, as the sphere of the state grew, there was necessarily less room for new experiments or new ideas. State intervention meant the growth of state ‘systems’. In many lands, particularly in Germany, teaching programmes and policy were closely tied to the requirements of state service, and a large proportion of secondary school and university students aimed at government employment, for which the official examinations were a necessary qualification. The more bureaucratic educational institutions became, the greater the danger of a dull and stagnant uniformity, the less the scope for individual initiative. The danger was the greatest where the public system was the most efficient and the most extensive. Froebel’s kinder-garten was banned in Prussia, that Mecca of nineteenth-century educationalists (1851), and in nearby Denmark, where popular education had made considerable progress, Bishop Grundtvig and his followers felt that freedom and spontaneity were lacking. Another danger implicit in the growth of state education lay in the immense increase of the power which the state wielded over its citizens. A sharp conflict arose between the claims of the secular and of the spiritual worlds. This conflict was not inevitable. In many countries—in the German states, in Austria, in the Scandinavian lands—state and church worked harmoniously together in primary education, which had a definitely confessional character. In England there was little direct clash between religious and secular principles. This was replaced by the quarrels of ‘church’ and ‘chapel’, the Church of England and the dissenting sects, which left their deep mark on the Education Act of 1870, the root of the modem system of national education. In many countries, however, the conflict was joined directly between the claims of the Christian church, more especially the Church of Rome, and a secular view of education. The schools question was one of the main points at issue between the Roman Catholic church and the new Italian state. It was one of the causes of the Sonderbund war in Switzerland, and it dragged on as a source of trouble after 1848. The most complete surrender made by the state to the claims of the church was the Austrian Concordat of 1855, the climax of a policy inspired by fear of revolution (cf. ch. XX, p. 533).
The attitude of the Liberals towards the problem of the state, the church, and the school varied very much from country to country, according to the local situation. In France Catholics struggled for years against the monopoly of secondary education held by the University, until the Loi Falloux of 1850 gave to private persons—or, in effect, to the church—the right to open secondary schools freely (cf. ch. IV, p. 80). Many Liberals, like Lamartine, had opposed the monopoly of the University, and Montalembert, the Catholic leader, had based his policy on an appeal to civil and religious liberty. In Belgium dislike of the state monopoly of primary education under Dutch rule had been an important cause of the revolution of 1830, after which a policy of complete educational freedom had been adopted. Yet the educational question broke down the alliance between Catholics and Liberals, the latter perceiving that educational freedom meant in fact clerical dominance. In 1834 both parties set up universities, the Catholics at Malines, transferred in 1835 to Louvain, and the Liberals at Brussels. The primary-school law of 1842 was favourable to the church, but the secondary-school law of 1850 strengthened the control of the state and was strongly disliked by the Catholic party. In Holland the elementary-school system, set up during the Napoleonic period (1806), gave only unsectarian religious teaching; moreover, primary education was a state monopoly, and permission to open private schools was only very sparingly granted. On one side it was argued that it was the duty of the state to provide undenominational education everywhere and to continue the existing system; on the other that such a system overrode individual and parental rights. The question divided the Liberals; some supported educational freedom, but the fear of clerical influence was strong enough to impose severe restrictions on the grant of freedom of education in the Constitution of 1848. The state monopoly was finally broken by the law of 1857, but this satisfied neither the orthodox Protestants nor eventually the Catholics. In fact the respective claims of the state, the individual, and the group proved everywhere more difficult to satisfy than was envisaged by the Liberal theory of personal freedom.
The concern of politicians and men of affairs with educational problems was matched by the attention given to them by theorists; both alike show the increasing part which education was coming to play in European thought and consciousness. One of the leaders of the preceding halfcentury, the Swiss, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, had died in 1827, but his belief that the potentialities of the child must be brought out by the orderly development, through his own activities, of his powers and instincts, remained a strong force in popular education. One of Pestalozzi’s contemporaries in Switzerland was Philipp Emanuel von Fellenberg, who had set up, on his estate at Hofwyl, a series of schools, each offering to different classes of society an education appropriate to their position. His work attracted much attention from foreign observers, and he was actively at work until his death in 1844. Among the many German thinkers who were influenced by Pestalozzi were Johann Friedrich Herbart (1776-1841) and Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782-1852). Herbart set out to form a science of education based on a comprehensive view of psychology and ethics which laid great stress on the importance of teaching method. His ideas gained much support among university teachers in Germany who were concerned with educational theories, and were later much studied in America and England. Froebel was a pioneer of better methods of educating small children. He taught that they should be shown the interconnections between things and stimulated to creative activity through play, and for this purpose he invented a series of ‘gifts’ and ‘occupations’ to develop their capacities. The ‘gifts’ consisted in blocks of varying shapes from which figures could be constructed, the ‘occupations’ in the making of mats, clay and paper models, and so on. The former were to teach the child to assimilate, the latter were to teach him to express himself. The first school for small children based on these ideas was founded in 1837, and received the name Kindergarten. Froebel was frowned upon by the Prussian government, as already mentioned, and his work was influential rather in England and America than in Germany.
Both in France and England the major political and social theorists were concerned with educational problems. The English Utilitarians of 1830, with their belief in ‘the greatest happiness of the greatest number’, were naturally deeply interested in them. Both Jeremy Bentham and James Mill had written on the subject, the latter, in particular, showing the greatest confidence in the results which education could achieve. Another important English thinker of a later date was Herbert Spencer (1820-1903). Profoundly influenced by the new scientific ideas, he insisted on the importance of psychology and stressed that the education of the child must be in harmony with the natural stages in the evolution of his mind, and also with the successive stages in the evolution of human civilisation. He strongly emphasised the value of scientific knowledge, which alone could train human beings in the skills necessary for complete living. In France Auguste Comte (1798-1857) was also demanding a ‘positive’ education which should be in conformity with the needs of modern times, and should be based on the teaching of the sciences in their relationship to one another. The earlier French Socialist schools of thought, which followed Charles Fourier and Henri de Saint-Simon, both stressed the importance, alike for society and for the individual, of bringing out the child’s natural aptitudes, and the Saint-Simonians, at least, helped to diffuse a general interest in popular education.
In practical achievement Germany took the lead, alike in the universities, in secondary and technical schools, and in primary education. Travellers from all over Europe and beyond testified their admiration of what had been done. The American, Horace Mann, Secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of Education, writing in the ’forties, considered that Prussia, Saxony, and some of the western and south-western German states stood foremost in the education of the people. The French observer, Victor Cousin, had already, in 1831, called Prussia ‘that classic land of barracks and schools, of schools which civilise the people and of barracks which defend them’. There, and in the German states generally, education was compulsory, but the provision of the Prussian Constitution of 1850 that it should be gratuitous had not been carried out. In Austria the government had made great efforts, and in the western provinces of the Habsburg empire a very high proportion of children went to school. However, there were serious deficiencies in the provisions made for popular education, and the level of attainment was much lower than in north Germany. The Elementary School Law of 1869 made more generous provision for the training of teachers and extended the period of school attendance to eight years.
Great advances were made by Germany’s neighbours, the Swiss, the Scandinavians, and the Dutch. The primary schools of Holland were praised by Mann and by Cousin, and by English observers like Dr Kay (Sir James Kay-Shuttleworth) and Matthew Arnold. Arnold also, writing in the ’sixties, called the schools of the more advanced Swiss cantons among the best in Europe; there had been a rapid growth of the cantonal systems after 1830, and, in general, education had been made compulsory. The Scandinavian countries made considerable strides, often in the face of great difficulties. In all of them the state undertook to establish and control a general system of primary schools, covering the whole country, including the sparsely populated rural districts. This was done in Sweden in 1842 and in Norway in 1860; in more thickly peopled Denmark, the state system, which dated from 1814, was improved by a law of 1856. In all three states education had been made compulsory. The Scandinavian lands also produced some interesting educational ideas of their own. In Denmark, Kristen Kold (1816-70), a disciple of Bishop Grundtvig, developed the ‘Free Schools’ on more unfettered lines than the state system. Sweden took the lead in recognising gymnastics as a necessary part of school training, and the most important educational thinker of Finland, Ugo Cygnaeus (1810-88), was a pioneer of manual training in schools.
In the politically advanced states of western Europe general literacy was a necessary adjunct of advancing democracy. In addition, the demand for better education was the demand of an age of increasing technical complexity. Those who used and controlled machines needed more ‘book-learning’ than their peasant ancestors. Another contributory influence was that of humanitarianism, the desire to help the less fortunate members of society, which was also expressed, for instance, in English factory legislation. Not only was popular education something bestowed from above; it was also, to some extent, the result of a demand from below. Leaders of the English working class, such as Robert Owen and the Chartist, William Lovett, were deeply concerned with these problems, and in France there was a belief among the workers that education was the key to the betterment of their conditions and a desire that it should be both free and compulsory. Neither in France nor in England had this goal been generally attained by 1870. So far as methods are concerned, the great vogue of the mutual, or Lancasterian, system, whereby the master taught monitors, who taught the other children, was over by the ’thirties. In 1837 the French Society for Elementary Instruction undertook an inquiry, and found that the weaknesses of the system were recognised in many different countries. A comprehensive primary-school organisation came into existence much earlier in France than in England. The Education Law of 1833 ordered each commune to have a school and each department to have a college for training teachers. When Matthew Arnold visited France in 1859 his judgment was favourable; the level reached was low, but the increase of national well-being was bound to push it higher. It was also in 1833 that the English government made its first grant to the two societies, the Chinch of England ‘National’ Society and the undenominational ‘British’ Society. These grants were gradually increased in size, but progress was checked by the introduction, in 1862, of a system of paying grants according to examination results. No general law was passed until Forster’s Education Act of 1870, which preserved the existing denominational schools and supplemented them by new schools supported out of the rates. The Scottish parish schools had a fine history dating from the seventeenth century; they earned the praise of Mann, and were perhaps unique in that they aimed at preparing students for the university, which they entered at a lower age than in England. The statutory system, which was insufficient to meet all the country’s needs, had been supplemented by many voluntary schools of various kinds; most of these came into the reorganised state system set up by the Scottish Education Act of 1872.
In southern and eastern Europe, in comparison, conditions were deplorable and illiteracy widespread. The newly united Italian kingdom grappled at once with the problem, which was most serious in the south, by the law of 1859, and a real improvement was made, but 72 per cent of the population were still illiterate in 1871. In the eastern provinces of Austria and in Hungary education was also very backward. The 1869 Hungarian census showed 63 per cent illiterates and 9-7 per cent who could read but not write. The problem was most immense in Russia. Nothing was really attempted until the reforms of Alexander II in the ’sixties, when the liberation of the peasantry brought the question to the fore (cf. ch. XIV, p. 378). The Zemstva, or District Councils, set up in 1864, did good work, but their task was hardly begun in 1870.
In its higher levels education was forced, by the advance of science, to meet new requirements. The pre-eminence of the classical disciplines came under attack. One demand was for general secondary education of a wider scope which should give a larger place to science and the modern languages; another demand was for technical training for industry because an industrial civilisation required an ever-increasing supply of trained technicians in the senior ranks as well as a higher standard of general literacy in the lower. Alike in classical, in modem, and in technical studies German institutions were efficiently organised. The Prussian Gymnasium was meant to give an all-round education based on the classics. In 1834 it was finally made impossible for anyone who had not passed the Gymnasium Leaving Certificate to enter the universities, which were the road to state service. There were certain differences in emphasis between the systems of the different German states, but there was a broad likeness between all of them; the Austrian system had originally imposed a much more limited curriculum, but it was effectively reformed in 1849. During this period the Realschulen, giving a thorough training on the basis of modem subjects, had been growing in importance: they had originated in the early part of the century, and were regulated by law in Prussia in 1832 and also in 1859, when the courses of the Realschulen of the first grade were made parallel with those of the Gymnasia. Similar developments were to be found in other countries, through the institution either of courses in modem subjects (Belgian Secondary Schools Law of 1850) or of separate modem schools (Dutch Law of 1863).
Both in France and in England the curricula of the secondary schools were purely classical and little had been done to promote modern studies. In England the deficiencies of the traditional course were stressed by publicists like Herbert Spencer and T. H. Huxley, and, towards the end of the ’sixties, public interest was being aroused in the problem. In 1870 a Royal Commission was set up to consider scientific instruction and the advancement of science. In France a system of ‘bifurcation’ between literary and scientific studies had been introduced in 1852, but it was not a success, and in 1865 a plan for ‘special scientific instruction’ was introduced into the schools in its place. The French schools, the colleges royaux or lycees and the colleges communaux, formed part, with the faculties, of the Napoleonic University. Until 1850 private schools, or, in effect, church schools, could not exist without prior licence; when they were permitted, they tended to revolve in a different orbit from that of the state schools, with little contact between the two. However, the state maintained its control over degrees, and the school course led everywhere to the baccalaureat, which was a state examination. Consequently there were critics, as in Germany, where similar conditions existed, who complained that schoolboys were made to work much too hard, and that examinations, especially those for the higher professional schools, pressed far too hardly upon them. Strictly professional studies played an important part in higher education, and, once a student left school, he entered his training for a definite career. As a result, the link between formal education and liberal culture which, in other countries, was forged primarily by the universities was, in France, associated rather with the final years of the secondary school course. One example of this French conception of studies was the important part played by philosophy in the final lycee year.
The French lycees, Matthew Arnold thought, gave an admirable education at moderate cost. In England there was nothing to compare with the comprehensive system of public instruction which they provided. There were, he argued, a few great schools where the standard was very high, but, for the great mass of the middle class, nothing effective was being done, with the result that they were nearly the worst educated in the world. Arnold’s plea for the state organisation of secondary education went unheeded for a generation. There was no government control and no general system; apart from many unsatisfactory private schools, there were only the ancient grammar schools, many of them inefficiently or even corruptly run, and the much smaller group of ‘public schools’, mostly consisting of boarding schools, which had largely developed out of them. It was during this period that the ‘public school’ system took its modem shape, both through the reorganisation of older schools by men like Thomas Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby (1828-42), and through the foundation of many new ones. But, although the recommendations of the Taunton Commission of 1864-7 checked abuses of grammar school endowments, England was still behind her neighbours in 1870.
Technical and professional training was also growing in importance everywhere. In Germany large numbers of technical schools had been set up, often humble in their origin and not well co-ordinated. Gradually they came to form a hierarchy according to the level of the education which they offered, one strong external influence being that of the Zurich Polytechnikum, which became the model for the German technical universities. Towards 1870 some of the leading technical institutions, such as those of Karlsruhe (1825), Dresden (1828), and Stuttgart (1829) were moving towards university rank, but the full development of technical universities came after 1870. However, in the years 1868-72, the German higher technical schools had already a yearly average of some 3500 pupils.1 France had its Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, founded in 1828, and other lower-grade schools, but England was far behind. The Prince Consort was deeply interested, and wished to set up an institution at South Kensington on the site purchased from the profits of the 1851 Exhibition. This was never done, but the site became the headquarters of the Science and Art Department, an offshoot of the Board of Trade, founded in 1853. This did something by making grants to encourage science teaching, but its operations were not extensive, and a government inquiry of 1868 revealed England’s weaknesses.
One special type of professional instruction which was much extended everywhere at this time was the Training College for elementary school teachers, or Normal School. Here again the Germans were pioneers, and the training colleges were one main source of the progress of popular education in Germany. The most prominent figure in the Prussian elementary education of his day was F. A. W. Diesterweg (1790-1866), who was head of the Berlin college from 1832 until his supersession in 1847. The Swiss training colleges were also highly praised by English observers. Their most prominent leader was Johann Jakob Wehrli (1790-1855), who had worked under Fellenberg at Hofwyl and was head of the Kreuzlingen college (1834-53). One of his leading principles was the combination of manual labour with ordinary classroom instruction. In England the Committee of the Privy Council on Education, set up in 1839, failed to establish a national Normal School because of the religious difficulty, but their secretary, Dr Kay, established a successful school at Battersea in 1840, which was later transferred to the ‘National’ Society. An earlier effort had been that of David Stow at Glasgow (1836). In England, official policy after 1846 was to create a large body of trained teachers by instituting a pupil-teacher system.
At the top of the education ladder stood the university. This was one of the fundamental institutions of European life, and all the different universities shared much in common. The great model institutions of the time, where modem standards of research and scholarship were being developed, were the German universities. In the eighteenth century the three professional faculties of Theology, Law, and Medicine had ranked higher than the fourth faculty of Philosophy, but in the nineteenth century that faculty, the home of independent study for its own sake, became the most important part of these universities, which aimed, as a whole, to be laboratories for scientific research. German professors were pre-eminently scholars and original investigators, and university study concentrated more and more on detailed scholarship. Significant of the general trend was the growth of the ‘seminar’ or small class in which advanced work was done under the guidance of the professors. Both to them and to their students the goal was the pursuit of learning for its own sake. The great names in German science and learning were to be found in the universities as they were not at this time in England. It was in Germany that scientific research was first organised and linked with education; Muller in physiology, Gauss in mathematics, Liebig in chemistry, were all university teachers (cf. ch. III, p. 50).
The universities of Austria, of German Switzerland, of Holland, and of Scandinavia followed, in general, the German type of organisation. In the German lands of the Austrian crown the same progress had not been made as in the other German states. Particularly before 1848 the Austrian universities, like the schools, were bound to a strict routine. Gymnasium teachers and university professors alike were forced to keep to the state-permitted texts. The faculties were supervised by Directors of Studies who watched over both professors and students. The emphasis was not on independent thought, but on learning by rote; there were too many examinations and too many restrictions. Even after 1849 the spirit of the regime was unfavourable to academic freedom, though the Austrian universities had some distinguished men among their teachers. Two major schemes for extending higher education which came to nothing were Bishop Grundtvig’s plan for a great Scandinavian university, and the project of establishing a federal university in Switzerland, which failed to overcome cantonal and religious jealousies. However, new cantonal universities were founded at Zurich (1833) and Berne (1834), and in 1835 Basle, the ancient university of German Switzerland, was reorganised.
Only in France was there no real university life in the sense in which it was known in other states. The old foundations had been swept away by the Revolution, and Napoleon had created separate faculties of Theology, Law, Medicine, Science, and Letters. The first had been opposed by the Roman Catholic Church, and the Roman Catholic Theological Faculties fell into disuse; the second and third were merely professional schools; the last two merely provided examining boards or lecture courses for a floating group of casual listeners. Guizot, Minister of Public Instruction (1832-6), wished to set up real universities with a full course of instruction and a true corporate existence, but his scheme came to nothing; the same fate befell a later scheme of Victor Cousin to set up a university at Rennes (1840). The faculties remained scattered over the country, often in isolation from one another; it was impossible for them to have any real corporate sense or to become genuine centres of learning. In contrast to them, however, there was one important centre of higher scholarship in Paris, the College de France, which enjoyed a wide freedom. Among its professors were distinguished men like Michelet, Cuvier, Ampere, and Berthelot; it had no prescribed course and prepared for no examinations. Under Napoleon III the Minister Duruy was anxious to improve higher education; in 1868 he organised the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes as a centre for research work in history, mathematics, and natural sciences. Strictly professional studies played a larger part in higher education in France than in other countries; the pre-eminent institutions of this type continued to be the Ecole Polytechnique, training men for the civil and military engineering services of the state, and the Ecole Normale Superieure, training men for the higher posts in secondary education.
The French had reformed secondary and higher education in Italy during the Napoleonic period, but the advances which had been made were lost, after 1815, through the rigidity of the censorship and the strength of clerical influence. The Normal School at Pisa, founded on the model of the Ecole Normale Superieure, was closed; the Tuscan government reopened it in 1846, but there were no pupils left in it in 1862. There were numerous universities, of which Naples and Bologna were the best known, but the atmosphere prevented the development of new studies and crushed out independent thought. The Education Law of 1859 made the new Italian state and the local authorities jointly responsible for secondary and higher education; it also required a definite entrance standard for the universities and introduced greater strictness into their examinations. However, as in primary education, the path of progress was long and stony. Matthew Arnold, in his Schools and Universities on the Continent (1868), pointed out that very few students were reading literary or scientific subjects at the universities; the great majority were to be found in the professional faculties of medicine and law. The increased severity in examinations ordained by the law of 1859 had not been carried out. The authorities were slack and indulgent, and there was laxity and want of discipline on the part both of professors and students.
The English universities stood rather apart from those of other European nations; they aimed at producing well-educated gentlemen, while the German universities aimed at producing scholars and officials. They did not give professional training; they did little to foster research, aiming at nothing more than the course for the first degree, which, though exacting for honours, had a low pass-standard. In Matthew Arnold’s opinion they were no more than higher schools. Their riches and the limitation of their privileges to members of the Established Church meant that they came under severe attack from reformers, many of whom wished to sweep away the collegiate system, and to exalt professorial teaching on German lines, or according to the practice of the Scots universities, which had their own independent, more egalitarian traditions. Yet the older English universities, for all their conservatism, had a real tradition of their own, of education as a corporate experience, as a preparation for life, a tradition which had its own value, and which was gradually brought into line with the conditions of the time. Oxford and Cambridge were not finally freed from religious tests until 1871. By that time the foundation of new universities, which were often free from such tests, was well under way, the most important of them being the University of London, chartered in 1836, which was, however, purely an examining body at the centre of a number of independent colleges. Other new institutions were Durham University, chartered in 1837, and Owens College, Manchester (1851), the germ of the modern Manchester University. All these foundations were the result not of state action but of private initiative.
The general educational history of the United States is a striking illustration of the adaptation of European ideas to a new environment. The most advanced area was New England and the most backward the South, which was, in addition, seriously set back by the Civil War. The general tendency in elementary and secondary education was towards a public, nonsectarian system, which was one aspect of the extension of democratic ideas. As an English critic of 1856 wrote: ‘...the loose, free tone of equality seems to cry aloud in the common schools—the same tone the hoarser echo of which rises afterwards on the platform and around the ballot box.’ During the second quarter of the century there were long struggles in the northern states for and against the system of free, tax-supported, state-controlled, and non-sectarian elementary education. Such schools were bitterly opposed by many ecclesiastical and propertied interests, but the question had been settled in principle in the northern states by 1850, an important landmark being the Pennsylvania Free School Law of 1834. In secondary education the same demand for public schools under public control led to the rise of the Public High Schools, the first of which had been created at Boston in 1821, though the privately controlled ‘academies’ were still very strong at the end of the period. In higher education the impulse towards state control led to the foundation of state universities in the southern and western states, though these were to become really important much later. This was the great period of the small denominational college, generally poor and struggling, and often with too many local competitors. Nevertheless, as settlement extended, so colleges of this type spread with it, and they did important civilising work on the frontier. At the end of the Civil War the level of American higher education was low, even in the old colleges of the east, such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Their courses were elementary and their curricula old-fashioned. However, about 1870, great reforms were beginning, with new foundations such as Cornell University (1868) and new academic leaders such as Charles W. Eliot, who became President of Harvard in 1869. An important source of progress was the example of Germany, for it was to German universities that American students usually went for foreign study. European ideas also influenced the growth of the common schools through the work of reformers like Horace Mann of Massachusetts and Henry Barnard of Connecticut and Rhode Island. The latter spread new ideas through his American Journal of Education, founded in 1855; one of the former’s achievements was to found the first state Normal School for primary teachers at Lexington (Mass.) in 1839.
English educational ideas were very widely extended during this period both in the self-governing colonies and in India. In the former, the general shape of the English system was reproduced, except in Lower Canada where French ideas were strong. Most of the self-governing colonies organised some system of elementary education either before 1870 or very soon after. As in England denominational rivalries played a large part. In New South Wales and Victoria there was conflict between the advocates of a national and of a denominational system. In the Canadian provinces there was sharp rivalry between the churches in higher education, Bishop John Strachan, for instance, fighting a long, but finally unsuccessful, battle to keep the later Toronto University under Anglican control. Another article of export was the English ‘public school’, which found imitators in Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. A far different, and far greater, problem was that of India. At the beginning of the period there was much discussion whether the English authorities should support the traditional learning of the East or introduce education on western lines. The critical decision was taken in 1835 in favour of the latter course. The famous Minute drawn up by T. B. Macaulay had something to do with the decision, but there were other important advocates of the same course, officials like C. E. Trevelyan, liberal Hindu thinkers like Ram Mohan Roy, and missionary educators like Alexander Duff, who had founded the ‘General Assembly’s College’ at Calcutta in 1830. The decision was based upon the belief that western-educated Indians would be assimilated to western ways, and that western ideas would filter down through them to the great mass of the people. The policy, in fact, ignored the depth of the differences between East and West—for instance, the clash between school training and home influences. Sir Charles Wood’s Despatch of 1854 planned a complete system based on grants-in-aid from the government, and the first universities, which were purely examining bodies like the University of London, were opened in 1857. The faults of the British Indian system were numerous. Too little attention had been paid to primary education, though this was an enormous problem, and means were strictly limited. The secularised British schools made little appeal to the Muhammedans, who distrusted a system of education divorced from their religion. The type of education given was too purely literary and contained too little of scientific and technical disciplines, which the Indians needed. A graver political criticism is that the British ‘Raj’ gave very few opportunities to the classes whom it had educated, and thus fostered discontent with itself. Nevertheless, the British had done remarkable work in India in a short time. It is interesting to compare the situation in the Dutch East Indies where the chief emphasis had been on schools for resident Europeans. However, even for them, secondary education was only beginning after 1860. The natives could get a western education only by entering European schools, and this was difficult for them to do. Not much had been done for primary education. In fact, the Dutch colonies were half a century behind British India, though more progress was made after 1864.
Apart from their wider geographical extension, the traditional European systems of education were also being extended in their homelands to touch new sections of the population. One important aspect of this expansion during the second half of the century was the public education of women, involving their claim to a proportionate share in general educational advantages. Of the great European nations, the most backward here were the French. The Minister Duruy in the ’sixties promoted extension courses for girls, but state secondary schools did not come till the ’eighties. In Germany there were secondary schools but none beyond that level. In England more had been done, though the movement was only beginning. The Christian Socialists—F. D. Maurice, Hughes, Kingsley, and their friends—were concerned with the foundation of Queen’s College, London (1848). Two of its early pupils, Frances Mary Buss and Dorothea Beale, were important respectively in the growth of girls’ day schools and girls’ boarding schools. However, in the ’sixties, only some 2 per cent of the endowments of secondary education were appropriated to girls’ schools.
The next step was university education. In London, Bedford College, which already had twenty years of history, was incorporated in 1869, and in 1870 University College opened its doors to women. At Cambridge the two older womens’ colleges date from 1869 and 1871. In Scandinavia girls’ secondary schools had been set up, and in 1870 girls were given the right to be admitted as university students in Sweden. In view of the general condition of the country, Russia had also made great progress. The first Gymnasia for women had been set up in 1858; in 1873 there were some 190 secondary schools of different grades for them and by that date they were making their way into the universities. The greatest progress, however, was that of the United States. Early pioneers were Mary Lyon and her school at Mount Holyoke (1837-49) and Emma Willard and her school at Troy (1821-38). Oberlin College, opened in 1833, gave equal opportunities to women from the start, and the first of them graduated in 1841. Antioch College, opened in 1853, followed the same example. By 1870 several of the state universities in the western states had been opened to women. In the eastern states the tendency was towards the foundation of separate colleges, the key date here being the opening of Vassar College in 1865.
Adult education had attracted much interest in England. Many ‘Mechanics’ Institutes’ had been founded, though these generally failed to attract the real working-class. The ‘Christian Socialists’ were doing useful work in the ’fifties, and in 1867 James Stuart began the lectures in northern towns which were one of the roots of the University Extension Movement. Another example of this desire to touch the adult masses is to be found in the Peoples’ High School Movement in Denmark, inspired by Bishop Grundtvig (1783-1872). The fundamental influences on his mind were those of Christianity, patriotism, and Scandinavian mythology. He had been impressed on his visits to England in 1829-31 by the freedom of English education and the intensity of its corporate fife. After his return home he elaborated a new theory of education which aimed at arousing the Danish people and giving them a new sense of freedom and community. He attacked traditional education as dead and mechanical, and wished to replace it by education for life, the clash of mind on mind instead of the imparting of dead information. He thought that childhood was too early for this to be achieved, and that real education of this sort could not be carried out till after the age of 18. His own schemes, for instance, for a great Scandinavian university, were not successful, but, in the crisis through which Denmark passed in the mid-nineteenth century, the high-water mark of which was the war of 1864 with Austria and Prussia, his ideas were adapted by others to the needs of the time. The first Peoples’ High School was opened in the border province of Schleswig in 1844, and the movement gradually spread, its chief practical leader being Kristen Kold, who really brought the idea into touch with the life of the peasantry. The schools gave winter courses to the peasant farmers. They had no utilitarian aims, no examinations and no fixed syllabus. Their purpose was to quicken the spirit and to strengthen national sentiment. Their achievement was to raise the standards of the peasantry, both morally and in practical life.
The Danish Peoples’ High Schools stand at the junction between formal education and more general cultural influences on opinion. Another movement which appealed to adults was the Lyceum Movement in the United States, which offered lecture courses, both for instruction and for amusement. At their height, in the ’fifties and ’sixties, they attracted lecturers like Emerson, Greeley of the New York Tribune, and Agassiz the scientist. Another powerful influence on opinion was provided by the growth of free lending libraries. There had, of course, long been learned libraries and subscription libraries of various kinds, but at this time an attempt was made, in England and the United States, to bring books to people who could not buy them or pay fees for borrowing them. In both countries the public library movement began about the middle of the century, and, by 1870, was still only in its first beginnings. In England something had been done by the Mechanics’ Institutes. The first legal provision was ‘Ewart’s Act’ of 1850 which allowed boroughs to establish libraries and museums if they wished, but gave no permission to spend money on books. The act is named after its main promoter in Parliament, William Ewart, but most of the work of collecting information and statistics had been done by Edward Edwards, who became the first librarian of the Manchester library, the first opened under the act. In 1855 another act allowed the levy of a penny rate to be spent on books. A parliamentary return of 1870 showed that there were, in 1868, fifty-two libraries in existence, containing about 500,000 books. In the United States the earliest efforts were to set up libraries in school districts. The first state to legislate in this way was New York in 1835, and it was followed by many others, but the plan was not generally a success, one reason being that the unit of administration was too small. The scheme which was ultimately successful was similar to the English plan of allowing towns to establish rate-supported libraries. The pioneer was Boston, which got power to set up a public library in 1848, the library itself being opened in 1854. The first state to pass a general law was New Hampshire in 1849, followed by Massachusetts in 1851, and by three other states before 1870. At that date the public library system was at its strongest by far in Massachusetts which had, in 1872, eighty-two libraries with some 565,000 volumes.
Naturally the most powerful and widespread of all methods of influencing opinion was the newspaper and periodical press. It was a great weapon in the hands of national leaders and political reformers; both Cavour and Bismarck, for instance, appreciated its importance. The freedom of the press was one of the primary Liberal demands, and, in the more progressive countries, oppressive restrictions were, to a great extent, swept away, while rapid communications meant that the press had a range of action unknown before. With the spread of popular education the newspaper could appeal to a far wider public, and astute publicists, like Girardin of the Paris Presse and Bennett of the New York Herald, saw that through cheapness lay the path to vast influence over classes too poor to buy the existing high-priced papers. If, in education, the palm must be given to Germany, then in the development of the press England led the world, both in business efficiency and in public standing. It was an age in England of family proprietorships, constituting ‘a little aristocracy of high ideals and great stability of character’. The greatest of these families were the Walters of The Times, but the Levy Lawsons of the Daily Telegraph and the Taylors of the Manchester Guardian belonged to the same type. All through the period the press was rising in social estimation. The older Bohemian traditions of journalism were being outgrown, and, by 1870, many of the most promising young men from the universities were writing for the press. In general, independence had been achieved of everyone but the public—and the advertisers. Many of the most prominent politicians of the time, such as Brougham, Palmerston, and Aberdeen, attempted to influence the press, but the relationship was much more equal than in earlier days because the papers were stable enough not to need government support. ‘The usefulness and influence of the best conducted paper in the country, it was remarked in 1852, would be at once destroyed if the fact came to be known that that paper had been bought by the Government.’
Earlier traditions of government control linger just into the period. Two prominent Radical journalists were prosecuted in 1831 by Lord Grey’s government for inciting disturbances among the country labourers—Richard Carlile, who was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, and William Cobbett, who was acquitted—but in general the attitude of the law officers was that free discussion was not to be feared, a point of view which thereafter predominated. An important change was made in the law by Lord Campbell’s Libel Act of 1843, which allowed the plea that publication was true and in the public interest. This increased freedom of the press from official interference was, however, still freedom for the few for, with the paper duty and the stamp and advertisement taxes, a daily paper cost sevenpence. Henry Hetherington defied the law in 1831 with an unstamped Poor Mari’s Guardian, and there were many convictions in the next few years for this offence in the ‘Battle of the Unstamped’. The novelist Bulwer led a movement in Parliament against the so-called ‘Taxes on Knowledge’, and, as a result, the advertisement tax was reduced in 1833, and in 1836 the newspaper stamp was reduced to one penny, though the unstamped papers were crushed out of existence by a stricter enforcement of the law. One very successful cheap publication of this time, the Penny Magazine (1832), printed only general information and not political news. The ‘Taxes on Knowledge’ were finally abolished between 1853 and 1861, the crucial date being the abolition of the newspaper stamp in 1855, which at last made it possible to develop a cheap press.
Like the press of France and unlike that of Germany, the English press tended towards centralisation in the capital. Its greatest newspaper was The Times, which in this period reached its apogee of relative importance. In 1854 its circulation of 55,000 was nearly three times that of the five other leading London dailies together. In the John Walters II and III the paper had enlightened proprietors. In Thomas Barnes (1817-41) and John Thadeus Delane (1841-77) it had two outstanding editors. Among its leader-writers were men of the stamp of Edward Sterling, Henry Reeve and Robert Lowe. In politics the ‘Thunderer’, as it was popularly known, was independent, its constant aim being to lead the opinion of the substantial middle classes. It maintained close relations with leading politicians, one of its most famous successes being the publication, in December 1845, through Lord Aberdeen, of the news that Peel meant to repeal the Corn Laws. The Times' greatest successes, however, were scored during the Crimean War, when the revelations of inefficiency made by its correspondent, W. H. Russell, had much to do with the fall of Lord Aberdeen’s government (cf. ch. XVIII, p. 481). One reason for the strong position of The Times was its care for the best and earliest news. In 1838 a service of special couriers had been arranged to carry news from the East. Difficulties made by the French government led The Times temporarily to reroute its service through Trieste and Austria to get the news in time (1845).
After the repeal of the stamp duty The Times had to face much sharper competition, and lost its relative pre-eminence. Several of the old highly priced papers did not survive the change. The Daily News, founded in 1846, came down to the new popular price of one penny in 1868; its greatest success was the war-reporting of Archibald Forbes in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1. Another old paper, the Standard, had come down to a penny in 1858. But The Times' most successful competitor was the Daily Telegraph, founded in 1855 and controlled by J. M. Levy, who made it the first London penny paper. Vigorously written and served by such able journalists as G. A. Sala and Edwin Arnold, it was, in 1870, selling between 175,000 and 190,000 copies, as against the 70,000 or less of The Times. This enormous increase in the numbers of the newspaper-reading public is illustrated by the calculation that in 1865 the number of copies printed by London papers alone was six times as great as the total circulation of all papers in the United Kingdom twenty-five years earlier. The changed conditions after 1855 also brought about a revolution in the provincial press. A number of new dailies were set up, the most important of them being the Scotsman, edited from 1848 to 1876 by Alexander Russel, and the Manchester Guardian, both of which were old-established bi-weeklies which became dailies in 1855. England also possessed the most highly developed periodical press in the world, ranging from the great quarterlies to weeklies such as the Spectator, controlled from 1861 by R. H. Hutton and Meredith Townsend. The most remarkable English periodical of this period was the Saturday Review, brilliantly edited from 1855 to 1868 by John Douglas Cook, with an able list of contributors, most of them young men on their way to success in the professions.
In France press questions had been one of the matters of dispute which brought on the revolution of 1830, in which also the newspapers had played a large part. The revised charter of 1830 guaranteed the freedom of the press. The preventive censorship was abolished and the cautionary payment which newspapers had to make reduced. In the France of the day, the press was a great power, and there was a close connection between journalism, literature, and politics, for instance in the career of Thiers, which did not exist in England. The French press, even more than that of England, was centralised in the capital. The ‘doyen’ of the Paris papers was undoubtedly the Journal des Debats, controlled by the Bertin family. It represented the upper middle classes, and its general point of view was Orleanist. Among its distinguished authors were Saint-Marc Girardin, de Sacy, and Prevost-Paradol, and a number of its writers were members of the French Academy. A parallel position among French periodicals was held by the Revue des Deux Mondes, of which Francois Buloz became chief editor in 1831. Many of the great names of French literature of the time wrote in its pages. An important branch of the press in France was the Catholic press. L'Avenir (1830), of which Lamennais was chief editor, preached the union of Catholicism and popular rule, but Lamennais was condemned by the Vatican in 1832 (cf. ch. IV, p. 78). Very important subsequently was L'Univers (1836), later edited by Louis Veuillot, which was at the height of its power in the early years of the Second Empire, but was suppressed by the government in 1860. However, Veuillot was allowed to revive it in 1867.
In its early years the July Monarchy came under heavy attack from both legitimist and republican papers. Prominent among the left-wing journals were the National of Armand Carrel and the Tribune of Armand Marrast, the latter of which was in constant trouble with the authorities. Finally, in 1835, the government tightened up the press laws. Trouble was constant until the collapse of the regime. Clandestine republican papers circulated, and, in press trials, sometimes the government and sometimes the opposition were successful. In 1843 the opposition gained the support of the new Reforme, which was primarily interested in social change. Similar demands were put forward in L'Atelier (1840), which deserves mention as a paper for the working class conducted by working men.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, a great transformation was taking place in the business aspect of French newspapers. Like the older English papers, those which have been mentioned were all expensive and limited in their appeal. It was clear that cheaper papers would be able to tap new levels of the population. The pioneers here were Dutacq and Emile de Girardin, who established, in 1836, the Siecle and the Presse respectively, at an annual subscription which was half that of the older papers. Both quickly gained large circulations, aided by the vogue of the roman-feuilleton, or serial novel, of which Balzac, George Sand, the elder Dumas, and Eugene Sue were prominent writers, and in the use of which the older papers were forced to copy the younger. Girardin had been influenced by English examples, and he proposed to cover costs by a greater development of advertising than was usual in the French press. Even so, all through the century, the French press made less use of advertisements than the English. Girardin must stand very high among those who regarded the newspaper primarily as a business enterprise, a side of newspaper production which became more and more important as the century went on.
The revolution of 1848 swept away all restrictions on the press, and there was a flood of new publications, representing the most divergent views. The provisional government, which took over power on Louis Philippe’s fall, represented the views of the National and the Reforme (cf. ch. XV, p. 390). However, the extremism of many of the papers led to the restoration of restrictions as soon as the heyday of revolution was over. Cautionary payments (1848) and stamp duties (1850) were reimposed, along with other hampering measures. Finally, after the coup d'etat of Louis Napoleon, the press was put into much tighter leading-strings. The press law of 1852 forced a newspaper to obtain an authorisation before it could appear. The preventive censorship was not restored, but was replaced by a system of ‘warnings’, leading to the suspension and then to the suppression of the paper, a system which in fact made the editors of newspapers censor themselves, and which was copied in other countries. The result of these stringent rules was to reduce the number of Paris newspapers. In the provinces official control was even stricter, and it was difficult to get an opposition paper printed at all. In Paris, however, the opposition press was dominant, though Napoleon III had much more press support than Charles X had had. Theophile Gautier, Sainte-Beuve, and Merimee wrote for the Moniteur Officiel, and the other government papers could depend on good circulations, and on such able journalists as Granier de Cassagnac and de la Gueronniere.
Since political journalism was difficult and dangerous, writers turned to less serious subjects. A landmark here is the foundation, by Hippolyte de Villemessant, of the Figaro (weekly from 1854, daily from 1866) which was concerned, at first, not with politics, but with Paris gossip and the news of the boulevards. Villemessant carried even farther than Girardin the idea of the press as a great industry. Another development leading in the same direction was Moise Millaud’s Petit Journal (1863), published at one sou. This meant that, whereas Girardin and Dutacq had appealed to the lower middle class, Millaud was appealing to the poor. Such an appeal meant more advanced methods in publicity and sales, but it was successful, and the Petit Journal was soon selling about 250,000 copies, and on special occasions far more. In 1866 the Siecle, with 44,000 copies, had the largest circulation of the ordinary dailies.
Meanwhile, after 1860, the lot of the political press had been eased. Several new papers were founded, among them the Temps in 1861, and in 1868 the system of authorisations and warnings was swept away. A flood of new papers then appeared bitterly critical of the government, the most famous of them being Henri Rochefort’s iMnterne, with the opening sentence of its first number: ‘France contains, according to the Imperial Almanac, thirty-six million subjects, not counting the subjects of discontent.’ Clashes between the government and the press went on right up to the end of the Empire, among the most celebrated being the Baudin trial, in which Gambetta scored a great triumph at the expense of the regime (1868).
In Germany, as in France, the development of the press was considerably affected by political factors. The influence of the July Revolution of 1830 caused no permanent change in the existing policy of governmental repression, which was strengthened by the Six Articles of 1832 (cf. ch. XIX, p. 493). In general, the policy of German governments was to keep the newspapers few in number and limited in content. Such Liberal newspapers as the Rheinische Zeitung, founded at Cologne in 1842 and edited for a time by Karl Marx, were quickly suppressed. The greatest of German papers, the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, suffered under Bavarian censorship, and was also closely watched by Austria. In 1832 its owner, Cotta, was warned to print no more of the contributions of its Paris correspondent, the poet Heine. From Vienna Metternich kept a careful eye on both the home and foreign press. The periodical press, which was left more liberty by the censor and which allowed more room for discussion, was also important, though prominent Liberal journals, such as F. W. A. Held’s Lokomotive (1843), clashed with the censorship and were suppressed. The controversies, in which Heine took a prominent part, over the literary group ‘Young Germany’, led the Bund in 1835 to condemn this new, supposedly revolutionary school of writers.
The localised nature of German life meant that there was no one great centre like London or Paris, and newspapers were influential chiefly in their own regions. Technically the German press was backward, being severely limited by the burdensome and capricious censorship. One of the most advanced papers was the Kolnische Zeitung, whose owner, Joseph Du Mont, installed the first steam-press in Germany in 1833. In the ’forties the Kolnische Zeitung and the Allgemeine Zeitung both had circulations of about 8000 copies. The Berlin Vossische Zeitung, which had been selling less than 10,000 in 1840, had doubled its circulation by 1847.
The 1848 revolutions brought with them the freedom of the press. Everywhere there was an immense, almost febrile, expansion. At the beginning of 1848 there were seventy-nine newspapers in Austria; at the end of the year there were 388, 306 of them being political dailies. Many of the new foundations were short-lived; some of them, however, had permanent importance like the Berlin papers, the National-Zeitung and the reactionary Neue Preussische Zeitung, commonly known as the Kreuzzeitung, the organ of the circle to which Bismarck belonged.
The victory of reaction in 1849-50 brought a sharp check. In Austria cautionary payments were restored, a system of official warnings introduced and official authorisations made necessary. As a result, there was a sharp decline in the number of papers published, and many of those were under government control. Greater freedom was allowed after the laws of 1862 and 1863. In 1864 came the foundation of the Neue Freie Presse, which became Austria’s leading newspaper. Meanwhile Prussian policy had followed much the same course, the Kolnische Zeitung being forced, for instance, in 1855, to change its editor under threat of having its concession withdrawn.
However, despite all these difficulties, the press had on balance improved its position. Its business enterprise and technical equipment were growing, and it profited from the general interest in politics during the ’sixties. In addition, it exploited the feuilleton on the French model. The capitalistic side of newspaper development was becoming more prominent, a pioneer being August Zang, who founded the Vienna Presse in 1848, a paper which was sold at a cheap price and managed with profit as a primary aim. An important new growth was the Frankfurter Zeitung, which began, under another name, as a paper providing business information, in 1856, and became one of the leading newspapers in western Germany. This more extensive business development was reflected in government policy. The chief weapon after 1848 was not the censorship, but the withdrawal of concessions and the forfeiture of cautionary payments which struck at the business interests of the proprietors.
Although greater freedom was allowed after 1860, newspapers were still under close state control. Both the Austrian and the Prussian governments closely controlled their own press, and spread their influence as far as they could over the newspapers of other states. Their methods too were much the same: a Press Bureau to direct newspaper policy and the publication of an official ‘Correspondence’, stating the official point of view, which was circulated to the newspapers. In Prussia this system, which was initiated by Manteuffel during the ’fifties, was inherited by Bismarck. From his early days the latter had realised the importance of the press, and throughout his career devoted great attention to it. He used it, for instance, as a weapon in the struggle against France. One means of financing his policy was provided by the notorious ‘Reptile Fund’, endowed from the Hanoverian crown properties.
The period between 1850 and 1870 was one of close connections between the press and the growing political parties. The existing newspapers were sharply attacked from a Socialist point of view by Lassalle in a speech in 1863, and the following years saw the beginnings of a Socialist press. At much the same period a Catholic press was also growing up. After 1870, however, the business side of newspaper enterprise became more and more important. Circulations in general were rising. Critics of the press were beginning to point out the importance of the business factor, and newspapers were being criticised for their subservience to dishonest financial interests. Newspapers were becoming more complex; the emphasis was shifting from argument and the expression of opinion to the objective reporting of news. A significant change was the increasing importance of advertisements. In fact, Germany was treading, somewhat in arrear, the path which had already been traced out by France and England.
In the smaller liberal countries of Europe the press also played an important role. In Switzerland the struggles between Liberals and Conservatives were fought out between rival newspapers. In Sweden in the ’thirties the government of King Charles John fought the Liberal papers, at the head of which stood Lars Hierta’s Aftonbladet, though the government gave up the struggle after the outbreak of a riot caused by the condemnation of a Liberal editor in 1838. At the same time liberalism was becoming articulate in the press in Denmark, and this also led to difficulties with the government. The Danish Constitution of 1849 guaranteed the freedom of the press. Another development of the ’thirties and ’forties in Denmark and Norway was a press catering for the peasants. In Belgium, as in France, press questions had played an important part in the 1830 revolution, and the Belgian Constitution of 1831 guaranteed the freedom of the press. During the Second Empire Belgium became a place of refuge for French emigre journalists, and their attacks on Napoleon III led to serious difficulties with the French government. The matter was raised at the Congress of Paris (1856) by the French representative, Walewski, though the attitude of the Belgian government was firm and nothing came of the incident.
In countries without a free press the influence of refugee journalists was very important. The greatest of them was Giuseppe Mazzini, who had already written for several papers before he left Italy in 1831. Of his many publications in exile the most important were the six numbers of his Young Italy (1832-4) (cf. ch. IX, p. 224). In Italy itself at that time the severity of the censorship allowed only scientific and literary periodicals to survive, although there was much to be read between the lines in the literary discussions. The free political press began in Piedmont. In 1847 a modification of the censorship permitted the freer expansion of newspapers; one of the new foundations was Count Cavour’s Risorgimento which served as a spring-board for his political ideas. The Piedmontese Constitution of 1848 granted the freedom of the press, which was more or less maintained after it had been swept away in the other states of Italy by the triumph of counter-revolution in 1849 over the Liberal principles of 1848. In his appreciation of the power of the press Cavour resembled Bismarck; it is noteworthy that, during the latter part of his life, he gained a hearing for his point of view in France through the Revue des Deux Mondes, the editor of which, Buloz, was a Savoyard by birth. The appearance of an effective press elsewhere in Italy came only after unification had been achieved. It was a natural result of Italian history that the Italian press, like the German and unlike the French and English, developed on decentralised lines.
In Russia, under Tsar Nicolas I, the censorship was administered with extreme harshness (cf. ch. XIV, p. 359). In 1848 a special committee was set up to watch the press in addition to the ordinary censors. On the accession of Alexander II this committee was abolished and new magazines were allowed to appear. These monthly magazines were of a high standard, and long continued to be of very great importance, because they suited the conditions of a country without political life. The great problems of reform which faced the country in the ’fifties and ’sixties gave rise to much press comment, and the press, despite the trammels which hampered it, gained a new importance. An important figure was another exile, Alexander Herzen. His fortnightly Bell, first published in London in 1857, was smuggled into Russia and wielded great power during these crucial years, though it lost influence after the Polish rising of 1863 (cf. ch. XIV, p. 370). It was in Alexander II’s reign that the daily newspapers first became important, though, as yet, circulations were very small. After 1862 government policy tended to become stricter. In 1865 new censorship rules were introduced. These maintained preventive censorship in the provinces, but made the papers of St Petersburg and Moscow free to adopt a system of ‘warnings’ similar to that of France. The rules were strictly enforced, but nevertheless the press had some authority as the exponent of such public opinion as there was. Its chief personality was Michael Katkov, editor of the Moscow News, who was becoming in the ’sixties the chief exponent of nationalist and autocratic ideas. James Bryce considered him worthy to be ranked, as an editor, with Delane and J. D. Cook, or with the Americans, Greeley and Gordon Bennett. One characteristic of the Russian press was the backwardness of the provincial papers, which still lay under preventive censorship, and the predominance of the press of St Petersburg and Moscow.
In the United States the possibilities of a cheap press were realised at much the same time as in France. Before 1830 the existing papers were too expensive for any but the minority. The first to appreciate the future of cheap newspapers was Benjamin Day, who, inspired by the success of the English Penny Magazine, brought out the New York Sun in 1833, ignoring politics and concentrating on sensational news and police-court reports. In 1835 James Gordon Bennett started the New York Herald on the same lines, though his ideas were broader than those of Day, and he was a pioneer in the use of new techniques such as the telegraph. His conduct of his paper was strictly individual, even flamboyant, and his alleged salacity and inclusion of objectionable advertisements led to a ‘moral war’ on him in 1840 by the other New York papers. However, the Herald, like the Sun, was a great success—in 1849 Bennett’s paper was selling 33,000 copies—and similar papers, such as the Philadelphia Public Ledger (1836) and the Baltimore Sun (1837), were founded in other cities. All of them had certain characteristics in common. They were preoccupied with getting the news as early as possible; with their large circulations and large advertising revenues they had much greater resources at their command than the old papers. They were generally free from political patronage. They exaggerated the unusual and sensational elements in the news.
The next developments of the cheap press were on rather different lines. In 1841 Horace Greeley founded the New York Tribune. He wished to run his paper without the objectionable features of the Bennett journalism. His connections with politics were close, first as a Whig and later as a Republican, and he was a great editorial propagandist, an enthusiast for new causes—Fourier’s principle of Association, Women’s Rights, and, most important of all, the Abolition of Slavery. His greatest influence was exercised through the weekly Tribune, which, by 1860, was selling 200,000 copies a week, and historians have stressed the importance of his paper in turning public opinion against slavery. One of his assistants was Henry J. Raymond, who, in 1851, founded the New York Times. He saw that there was room for a newspaper which should avoid Bennett’s vulgarity and Greeley’s preoccupation with unpopular causes. The tone of the new paper was balanced, moderate, and always self-possessed. An interesting comment on the growing complexity of press finance is that Raymond’s venture was backed by $100,000, while Greeley had launched the Tribune with $2000 ten years earlier.
Meanwhile the older tradition of a political press in close connection with party groups—one example being the Globe, the organ of President Jackson’s ‘Kitchen Cabinet’—had survived, but had become less important. The primacy of the Washington papers passed away as the country grew larger, and the newer type of journalism, which was until the Civil War centred on New York, was better able to meet the more varied demands which were being made on the press. In periodical literature the United States was backward, and had little of importance before the ’fifties. The Abolitionist press, whose leading figure was William Lloyd Garrison of the Boston Liberator (1831-65), must not be forgotten. Abolitionist papers were sometimes excluded from the mails, printing offices were destroyed and editors were assaulted, at least one of them, Lovejoy, of Alton (Ill.), being murdered (1837), facts which show the limitations imposed by a democracy on the expression of unpopular opinions.
American journalism was greatly stimulated by the Civil War. The papers, with the New York Herald at the head, made immense efforts to cover the news. The craft of the war correspondent was developed further, and in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-1 American journalists were also prominent. On the home front there was much editorial criticism of Lincoln’s administration, and many official complaints about the leakage of news. The events of the war gave the public a greater taste for news than ever, and circulations mounted rapidly, the expansion being especially felt by the papers of the interior cities. This decentralisation of the American press was one of the changes which introduced a new period. Bennett and Greeley both died in 1872, and the new generation saw a decline in party connections and an increasing emphasis on news as against editorial comment. Of the New York papers the Sun was selling 100,000 copies and the Herald 95,000 in 1872. All over the country the press was expanding, American newspapers increasing in number by one-third during the ’sixties. At the end of the period the papers of the interior, such as Joseph Medill’s Chicago Tribune, had become more important. In Samuel Bowles of the Springfield (Mass.) Republican they had one of the leading journalists in the United States. Since his paper had become a daily in 1844, he had steadily built up a national reputation as an independent journalist. In the younger generation of New York editors the leading men were Charles A. Dana and E. L. Godkin. The former, who had been Greeley’s right-hand man on the Tribune, gained control of the New York Sun in 1868, and carried it to new prosperity by introducing a more sprightly style of writing and by concentrating on stories of ‘human interest’. The latter, an Englishman and a Utilitarian, founded the weekly Nation in 1865. A pioneer among weekly journals of opinion in the United States, the Nation never gained a large circulation, but it had great influence on the leaders of American thought.
Some comparisons may now be attempted between the countries which have been discussed. It was thought in 1870 that the London papers gave more news than the New York papers with the Paris papers a bad third. In all three countries the press had become highly capitalised, though in each its development had taken an individual course. The American papers gave more news of a sensational type than the English, and the English more prominence to editorial comment than the American, but both were primarily presses of information, giving first place to the news-report and the advertisement. The French press, on the other hand, was a press of opinion. The difference is summed up by a critic of 1882: ‘The English reader wants to know what is going on in the world; the French reader wishes to be informed of what some celebrated politician thinks of what is passing in France.’ In general, the German press was less advanced than any of these. An English judgment of 1889 was that, whereas thirty years earlier the press of both France and England had been highly developed, that of Germany had been very backward, its news outdated, and its commercial enterprise nil, though it had made great progress in the intervening period. Once again the expansion of European ideas and techniques is important. By 1870 such countries as Egypt in the Near East and Japan in the Far East were advancing towards a press in their own languages. Already in India, small and poor as the papers were, a real beginning had been made. The first vernacular newspaper had appeared in 1818; by 1875 there were 254 in many different languages.
All through the period the press was gaining command of new techniques. One fruit of this was the growth of the illustrated press. The Illustrated London News appeared in 1842; the Paris L'Illustration and the Leipzig Illustrierte Zeitung a year later. Advance in the related field of caricature had been made possible through the development of lithography. In France Charles Philipon created Caricature and Charivari, which ridiculed Louis Philippe (1831). Punch in London came ten years later, and the German papers later in the ’forties, the Munich Fliegende Blatter in 1845 and the Berlin Kladderadatsch in the year of revolutions, 1848. The most fundamental improvement of all, however, was the steady advance in printing which made it possible to deal with far larger circulations. In 1846 Richard Hoe’s four-cylinder rotary press for the Philadelphia Public Ledger printed 8000 copies per hour, though on one side only, and in 1848 The Times introduced a similar Applegath machine. In 1861 the Hoe machines were first adapted to take stereotype plates, which meant that numerous plates could be cast from the type instead of printing direct from the type itself. In 1868 The Times introduced the Walter press, the first modern rotary press fed by a continuous web of paper, with a speed of 12,000 complete, or ‘perfected’, copies per hour. At much the same time similar advances were being made in France by Hippolyte Marinoni, who worked first for Girardin at the Presse and then, in the later ’sixties, for the Petit Journal. Next to printing advance came the speeding up of communications by railway, steamship, and telegraph. So far as the last was concerned, the American papers were pre-eminent in early days. Greeley in 1851 expressed his opinion that they used the telegraph a hundred times more than the English papers. The Times, for all its care for early news, was conservative here, feeling that the telegraph was expensive and inaccurate. However, the Crimean War proved that the new invention was indispensable.
One great result of the coming of telegraphic news was the growth of the news agencies, organisations for collecting and selling news to the press and to business interests. Clearly this centralised much of the business of news-collecting, and made it possible for the press to rely on much larger news-resources, though the agency could never replace the skilled special correspondent of the greater papers. The earliest of the agencies was the French Havas agency which began as a translation bureau, and in 1840 organised a pigeon service between London, Brussels, and Paris. It made use of the new means of communication as they developed, and in 1856 took over a large advertising agency, which gave it control over a large part of French newspaper advertising and thus of a stable source of income. In 1849 Bernhard Wolff founded a telegraphic bureau in Berlin which grew into the great German news agency. In 1851 another German Jew, Julius Reuter, came to England, and opened an agency in London. In October 1858 he persuaded the London papers, except The Times, to give his service a trial, and won an established position with them. Very soon afterwards The Times also began to make use of his news. One of Reuter’s great successes was to report the murder of President Lincoln two days ahead of anyone else in Europe. His expansion into Germany led him into conflict with the Wolff agency, which had the strong backing of the Prussian government. Finally, in 1870, the three great agencies agreed on a division of territory. Wolff was to control central and eastern Europe, Reuter the British empire and the Far East, Havas the French empire and the Latin countries. In England itself the collection of news was made not by Reuter but by the Press Association, formed in 1868 under the leadership of John Edward Taylor of the Manchester Guardian by the provincial papers, which worked in close cooperation with Reuters. The provincial papers had been very dissatisfied with the services of the private telegraph companies, and when these were, at this time, taken over by the state, they made independent arrangements of their own. Co-operative agencies, owned by the papers they served, also developed in the United States. The New York papers, eager to get the earliest European news, formed an Association in 1848 for the collection of foreign news. This became the New York Associated Press, which adopted a more definite form of organisation in 1856. After the formation, through amalgamations, of the Western Union Telegraph Company in 1855, arrangements for co-operation between the two bodies were made. The tendency of the New York association towards monopoly led to combination by the western papers among themselves. The Western Associated Press, chartered in 1865, after a period of struggle with the New York organisation, made an agreement with it in 1867, and subsequently the country was divided between groups of co-operating associations. In 1866 the transatlantic cable was finally completed. In 1870 India was put in direct telegraphic communication with England. The world, from the journalist’s point of view, was becoming a new unity, and his work was to be done under new conditions. The European system had taken another great step towards mastering the earth.