For God and Country: Butler's 1944 Education Act
This postsecular study on Conservative and Christian thinkers’ intellectual ferment leading to England’s 1944 Education Act examines how politicians and educationalists promoted Christian-civic humanism as the educational philosophy underlying the Act. It argues that Religious Education and secondary and further educational proposals were meant to go hand-in-hand to shape a national educational system that promoted an English national identity based on ideals of tradition and progress for the war-weary nation. The 1944 Act’s historic Religious Education mandate, however, was overshadowed by the hopes and fears for “secondary education for all” in the postwar, class-conscious English society.
The book focuses on the work and collaborations of politicians, educationalists, and intellectuals with special attention to three men: Minister of Education R. A. Butler, educationalist Fred Clarke, and sociologist Karl Mannheim. As Christian, political, and social thinkers these men worked in public—and behind the scenes—to create the landmark Education Act in order to bolster postwar England through appeals to God and country.
Elizabeth “Libi” Sundermann is a Faculty Lecturer in Modern European (British) and World History at the University of Washington, Tacoma. She earned her MA and PhD in Modern European (British) History at the University of California, Davis, and her BAs in History and Journalism at the University of Montana-Missoula.
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