B: May 4, 1796
D: August 2, 1859
"Education, then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men - the balance wheel of the social machinery."
"Be ashamed to die before you have won some battle for humanity."
Spoken to a college graduation class a few weeks before his death in 1859.
Horace Mann was born to a very poor farming family in Massachusetts. As a man he was responsible for improving public education in Massachusetts and had an major impact on educational reform throughout America. He was a highly motivated humanitarian who could have been a terrific politician but decided he could help his state of Massachusetts more by being involved in improving education. He increased public funding for education by convincing the government that society would improve with an educated population funded by taxing businesses. He wrote and spoke to modify the conditions of existing schools and build new ones. This lead to more free non-religious public schools for boys and girls, better schools books, higher pay for teachers, better student attendance and a more educated population. Teacher schools, called "Normal Schools" were built to improve the ability of teachers. More free libraries were established. He also assisted in creating a large state hospital.