First 261 words of the document:
Introduction on compulsory education:
To create a more skilled workforce- Britain had been `the workshop of the world'
but other countries were catching up. Many employers believed that, in order to
remain competitive, the new industrial society required a numerate, literate
workforce able to cope with the complexities of modern industrial production.
To improve the effectiveness of our armies- the high casualties of the Crimean War
(1854-6) were seen as partly due to inexperience and poor tactics. Better-trained,
fitter soldiers might have been given Britain a better showing.
To re-socialize the feckless (aimless or wasteful) poor- many Victorians felt that the
working classes were poor through their own fault- spending unwisely, drinking too
much and living immorally. They needed to be taught to lead a more responsible and
To reduce the level of street crime- many felt that compulsory schooling would get
young pickpockets `off the streets', thus reducing the high levels of petty theft.
To ward off the threat of revolution- the upper classes feared the `tide of socialism'
what was `sweeping' through Europe. Free education, on the one hand, could make
the ruling classes appear generous, while on the other, giving them ideological
control over the masses. The working class would learn to respect authority, follow
instructions and conform to rules.
To provide a `human right'- many liberal thinkers felt that education could improve
the life experience of all citizens, including the working class.