Women have been closely connected to the rise of education in all areas and eras of western history. Erratic patterns, however, frequently marked the process of building educational institutions. Uneven distribution of the population, lack of public funding, discrimination against people of color, and conflicting cultural values often interfered with the steady rise of pedagogy. Women, nonetheless, as teachers and students, remained central to the emergence of the western educational system.

Anxiety about frontier education emerged almost as quickly as 18th-century pioneers turned their backs on the eastern seaboard. Trappers, explorers, traders, and families ignored the ineffective English attempt to block western migration through the Proclamation Line of 1763 and crossed the Appalachian Mountains, heading west in search of good fortune. They moved into areas with ...

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