Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1985


The purpose of this study was to determine some of the bases of character education in United States public schools from 1607 to 1983. Research was conducted concerning persons, organizations, and movements to determine bases for character education. Teaching materials representing a variety of philosophies were also studied. The various bases of character education were grouped under four categories--religious, societal, specific traits, and individually determined. The history of each area was traced in a separate chapter. An attempt was made to include educators and materials representing various philosophies. The summary included some of the trends related to each base, major proponents, and materials. It was concluded that society-based character education has been the most prominent, even among educators who claim to have other bases for their character education. Bible-based character education has also been prevalent, but less so in recent years. Independent thinking as a base for character education has increased in popularity in recent years but is often, in reality, based on society. The trait approach is an approach used mainly in relation to other bases. It was also determined that character education in the United States has changed from mainly a biblical emphasis to more diversified bases. As society has become more pluralistic, a greater diversity of bases has become more acceptable. In addition, few educators adhere strictly to a single base. Most seem to combine bases in varying degrees to arrive at some sort of personalized base for their own philosophy of moral education. Some recommendations for further research and study were given.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted