Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




William F. Losito


The purpose of this study was to compare a traditional biography, Burke A. Hinsdale's Horace Mann and the Common School Revival in the United States (1900), and a revisionist biography, Jonathan Messerli's Horace Mann: a Biography (1972), within a "neutral" frame of reference to determine which author made the more logical use of evidence to support his argument.;David H. Fischer's Historians' Fallacies (1970) and Richard E. Neustadt & Ernest R. May's Thinking in Time (1986) were used to formulate a "neutral" frame of reference within which to analyze the two biographies.;Hinsdale's explanation was found to consist of a series of generalizations few of which were supported by credible relevant evidence. Thus, while Messerli's explanation in part relied on the assumption that such evidence as has survived is adequate to justify using psychological and sociological theory to explain the formation of Mann's personality, his explanation otherwise generally uses credible relevant evidence to support the generalizations he makes. Therefore, it was concluded that Messerli made the more logical use of evidence to support his argument.;Since making generalizations about the traditional and the revisionist genres based on a single sample of each is tenuous, additional studies are needed to justify extending the conclusions of this study to the genres.



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