In June of 1816, Europe was recovering from the Napoleonic Wars. New republics
dotted the map of the Americas. The United States had shaken off the effects of the
War of 1812 and was preoccupied with such explosive questions as tariffs and
slavery, steamboats and canals, and continuing westward expansion.
In Indiana, which had just been admitted to the Union, delegates wrote a state
constitution envisioning a comprehensive system of public education to
"countenance and encourage the principles of humanity, industry, and sobriety." As
soon as possible, said the delegates, this system was to be capped by a state