The History of Compulsory State Education

Compulsory state education began in the West during the 16th century Protestant Reformation. Martin Luther wrote a letter to the German government in 1524 stating the following, “…If the government can compel such citizens as are fit for military service to bear spear and rifle…how much more has it a right to compel the people to send their children to school….” Subsequently, the first compulsory education system in the West was set up in 1559.

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The English Reformation

One stage of the Protestant Reformation was the English Reformation, which began with the famous Henry VIII. He was King of England during the fifteen-hundreds, that century of drastic change.

King Henry’s amusing ‘marry-go-round’ began when his wife, Catherine of Aragon, did not give him a male heir. Their only child was Mary Tudor, later to be known as Bloody Mary, Queen of England. Henry, having fallen in love with the beautiful Anne Boleyn and having married her secretly, strongly wanted to have his marriage with Catherine annulled. However, this annulment was strictly against Catholic law and the pope forbade it. Continue reading