June 29: In the Middle of a World War, a Vote for History


Connecticut history made history today 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 receiving state funding — public or private –had to include a comprehensive study of American history and government in its curriculum.

In the midst 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, Constitution 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, all of which remain recommended areas of study in Connecticut public primary and secondary school classrooms today.

Further Reading

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

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