June 29: Governor Baldwin Signs Bill Requiring History in Schools


Connecticut history made history on this day in 1943, when Governor Ray Baldwin signed a law setting new standards for citizenship education in Connecticut schools. The new law required that any college or grade school that received state funding — public or private — include a comprehensive study of American history and government in its curriculum.

In the shadow of World War II — which American troops were still actively fighting in 1943 — Connecticut’s legislature considered the study of American democracy and its origins a subject of the utmost importance. The law became effective immediately, giving the State Education Board mere weeks to iron out the finer details before colleges’ fall semesters began in late August. In addition to self-evident topics like the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, the new state law mandated the study of the Fundamental Orders of Connecticut, the Royal Charter of 1662, and other Connecticut history topics that had a direct influence on American democracy as a whole, all of which remain required areas of study in Connecticut classrooms today.

Further Reading

Bruce P. Stark, “The Charter of 1662,” connecticuthistory.org

Wesley Horton, “The Land of Steady Constitutional Habits,” Connecticut Explored