Logo - springer
Slogan - springer

Education & Language - Mathematics Education | Thomas Jefferson and his Decimals 1775–1810: Neglected Years in the History of U.S. School Mathematics

Thomas Jefferson and his Decimals 1775–1810: Neglected Years in the History of U.S. School Mathematics

Clements, M. A. (Ken), Ellerton, Nerida F.

2015, XX, 204 p. 45 illus., 38 illus. in color.

Available Formats:
eBook
Information

Springer eBooks may be purchased by end-customers only and are sold without copy protection (DRM free). Instead, all eBooks include personalized watermarks. This means you can read the Springer eBooks across numerous devices such as Laptops, eReaders, and tablets.

You can pay for Springer eBooks with Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Paypal.

After the purchase you can directly download the eBook file or read it online in our Springer eBook Reader. Furthermore your eBook will be stored in your MySpringer account. So you can always re-download your eBooks.

 
$99.00

(net) price for USA

ISBN 978-3-319-02505-6

digitally watermarked, no DRM

Included Format: PDF and EPUB

download immediately after purchase


learn more about Springer eBooks

add to marked items

Hardcover
Information

Hardcover version

You can pay for Springer Books with Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Paypal.

Standard shipping is free of charge for individual customers.

 
$129.00

(net) price for USA

ISBN 978-3-319-02504-9

free shipping for individuals worldwide

usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days


add to marked items

  • Extensive use of primary sources to fully detail the issue of metrication
  • Synthesizes 400 years of historical data
  • Analyzes the implications of non-metrication for mathematics educators and the field of mathematics education

This well-illustrated book, by two established historians of school mathematics, documents Thomas Jefferson’s quest, after 1775, to introduce a form of decimal currency to the fledgling United States of America. The book describes a remarkable study showing how the United States’ decision to adopt a fully decimalized, carefully conceived national currency ultimately had a profound effect on U.S. school mathematics curricula.

The book shows, by analyzing a large set of arithmetic textbooks and an even larger set of handwritten cyphering books, that although most eighteenth- and nineteenth-century authors of arithmetic textbooks included sections on vulgar and decimal fractions, most school students who prepared cyphering books did not study either vulgar or decimal fractions. In other words, author-intended school arithmetic curricula were not matched by teacher-implemented school arithmetic curricula. Amazingly, that state of affairs continued even after the U.S. Mint began minting dollars, cents and dimes in the 1790s. In U.S. schools between 1775 and 1810 it was often the case that Federal money was studied but decimal fractions were not. That gradually changed during the first century of the formal existence of the United States of America. By contrast, Chapter 6 reports a comparative analysis of data showing that in Great Britain only a minority of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century school students studied decimal fractions. Clements and Ellerton argue that Jefferson’s success in establishing a system of decimalized Federal money had educationally significant effects on implemented school arithmetic curricula in the United States of America.

The lens through which Clements and Ellerton have analyzed their large data sets has been the lag-time theoretical position which they have developed. That theory posits that the time between when an important mathematical “discovery” is made (or a concept is “created”) and when that discovery (or concept) becomes an important part of school mathematics is dependent on mathematical, social, political and economic factors. Thus, lag time varies from region to region, and from nation to nation.

Clements and Ellerton are the first to identify the years after 1775 as the dawn of a new day in U.S. school mathematics—traditionally, historians have argued that nothing in U.S. school mathematics was worthy of serious study until the 1820s. This book emphasizes the importance of the acceptance of decimal currency so far as school mathematics is concerned. It also draws attention to the consequences for school mathematics of the conscious decision of the U.S. Congress not to proceed with Thomas Jefferson’s grand scheme for a system of decimalized weights and measures.

 

Content Level » Research

Keywords » History of Measurement in mathematics education - Metric System in mathematics curricula - Metrication and school Curricula - Thomas Jefferson and the Metric System - Units for Measurement in mathematics education - measurement in mathematics education

Related subjects » Analysis - Mathematics Education

Table of contents 

​Early Moves Toward Metrication in Europe.- Measurement Chaos in North America, 1780–1980.- Opportunity Lost: Big Money Successfully Thwarts Thomas Jefferson’s Push for Metrication 1776–1793.- Muddling Along: Opposition to Moves for Metrication, 1793–1920.- David Eugene Smith’s Involvement in the Metrication Issue, 1920–1935.- The Decision for Metrication, 1970.- Reaganomics, Big Money, and the Crushing of the Metric Dream, 1970-1980.- Why has the United States Never Achieved Metrication?.

Popular Content within this publication 

 

Articles

Read this Book on Springerlink

Services for this book

New Book Alert

Get alerted on new Springer publications in the subject area of Mathematics Education.