Event: Hagley Research Seminar: Schools and Economic Development in Antebellum Texas (05 April)

Carol Ressler Lockman's picture


Angus McLeod IV

Ph.D. Candidate, University of Pennsylvania


Commentator:  John Majewski, University of California, Santa Barbara


Virtual Event
Wednesday, April 5, 2023
Time Noon-1:30 p.m.  EST



Following Texas’ independence from Mexico, leaders of the Republic (and later State) of Texas used public schooling as a tool for attracting migrants and raising land values. Politicians struggled to adequately fund schools until a massive infusion of money from the United States government in the 1850s. State leaders concocted a scheme to simultaneously use the funds for both schools and railroads. The plan would keep taxes low and fund these twin systems of civilization and modernity. Though creative, the plan unraveled as railroads struggled to turn a profit in Texas’ slave economy thereby depriving schools of revenue. The cataclysm of the Civil War literally uprooted the few railroads in the state and the school fund was ruined. The episode in Texas’ history reveals an enduring preference of state leaders for economic growth, even at the expense of public education.


Angus McLeod IV is a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania. He is currently a Louis Galambos National Fellow and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellow.

John Majewski of University of California, Santa Barbara will provide an introductory comment. 


Attendees are encouraged to read McLeod’s paper, ““Schools and Economic Development in Antebellum Texas” which may be obtained by contacting Carol Lockman at clockman@hagley.org

Registration for this event is via Eventbrite.



For 30 years Hagley’s research seminars have featured innovative works-in-progress essays to generate wide-ranging discussions among an interested audience.

Beginning in spring 2022 the seminars moved to an online format, meeting monthly on Zoom during the academic year from noon to 1:30 Eastern time. Seminars are open to the public and based on a paper that is circulated in advance. Copies may be obtained by registering for the seminar you wish to attend. Please email Carol Lockman at clockman@Hagley.org if you have any questions about the seminars.