As a new hobby, I am wanting to read more and stick to the facts only. I recently became interested in the public education system and many sites and YouTube videos claim that the modern American public education system is based on the Prussian system of indoctrination after Prussia lost to Napoleon.

None of them provide sources. How do I go about in my research to find sources for these claims?

Are there scholarly websites that publish articles on such events?

  • Did you try a google books search? Most anything you get before 1925 is freely available, and the snippet views (and the sometimes-available page views) will help in locating possible more recent accounts that you can then investigate more thoroughly -- maybe reviewers at amazon.com will help; maybe reviews of the book at JSTOR will help (under "Item Type", select "Reviews") -- for possible acquisition (archive.org, library or inter-library loan, purchase, etc.). Feb 14, 2023 at 14:01

2 Answers 2


Many websites exist to catalog Academic History Journals. The best known of these websites is JSTOR. However, JSTOR is a paid membership though if you have a university affiliated email, you'll likely bee able to view and download sources. If you don't have a paid membership, you can use their open access site here.

Another great idea would be to search individual university libraries. For example, I have an interest in Irish American History, and was able to find open archives at Villanova, NYU, and Indiana University that had digitized their primary sources on Irish America. These were all available for free and most were available without sing-up! If you want to go down this route I would try and figure out Universities that have leading department on the history of education in the United States and begin checking their libraries, then google "[University Name] Digital Archives" or "[University Name] Digital Collections"

Finally, the Federal and Stat Government agencies often have large digital collections. For example NY States' DoE. To find these google "[Agency Name] Digital Archives" or "[Agency Name] Digital Collections."

Research can be really tedious, but the key is to stick to it. If you find a topic interesting, odds are there are thousands of people who also find it interesting, and at least some of them have helped centralize a collection of primary and secondary sources. Good Luck!!!


This might require some travel, depending on where you live.

  • Talk to an academic research librarian, say at a university library. They will know of some resources to get you started. More recent books and papers will cite older work, so take it from there.

  • Visit a university with a good Education department/school and ask the chair (after making an appointment) who it would be good to talk to about your interests. I'd guess that many such departments have a specialist or near-specialist in the history and philosophy of education.

  • See if you can take an actual course in the history and/or philosophy of education at some local university, or online. You will probably get ideas that you can then follow up on.

Note that such people normally have networks of others that they can depend on for answers they don't have themselves: both research librarians and professors. Even my village librarian, who is not an expert in such things networks with other more "academic" librarians and has found me resources on occasion.

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