Making Youth Safe for Democracy:  Education & American Enterprise, 1916-1980

Making Youth Safe for Democracy:  Education & American Enterprise, 1916-1980

History Hangout: Conversation with Maxwell Greenberg


The organization “Junior Achievement” was first conceived in 1916 when three wealthy, influential men decided that American youth needed to be educated on the values of hard work, thrift, and the developing hierarchy of corporate management. From that beginning, however, the organization’s purpose evolved to promote the American system of free enterprise and eventually entrepreneurialism to the youth of the United States and several other countries.  

In his dissertation project Maxwell Greenberg, PhD student in history and educational policy at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, charts the history of Junior Achievement from its inception to 1998, when it had successfully exported its model and values to the former Soviet bloc. Greenberg’s work demonstrates how the history of education must look beyond the school as an institution to gain a broader understanding of the diverse locations and organizations involved in the education of every individual and every generation. 

In support of his work, Greenberg received funding from the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library.

The audio only version of this program is available on our podcast.