Transcendentalist Education

H. D. Thoreau's "Walden" and reform essays in the mid-19th century were influential also (see the anthology "Uncommon Learning: Henry David Thoreau on Education," Boston, 1999). For a look at transcendentalist life, read Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." Her father, A. Bronson Alcott, a close friend of Thoreau's, pioneered progressive education for young people as early as the 1830s.

The transcendental education movement failed, because only the most gifted students ever equaled the skills of their classically-educated teachers. These students would, of course, succeed in any educational regime. Accounts seem to indicate that the students were happy, but often pursued classical education later in life.