American educators were fascinated by German educational trends. In 1818, John Griscom gave a favorable report of Prussian education. English translations were made of French philosopher Victor Cousin's work, "Report on the State of Public Education in Prussia." Calvin E. Stowe, Henry Barnard, Horace Mann, George Bancroft and Joseph Cogswell all had a vigorous interest in German education. In 1843, Mann traveled to Germany to investigate how the educational process worked. Upon his return to the United States, he lobbied heavily to have the "Prussian model" adopted.
Mann was largely responsible for the introduction of compulsory public education, Prussian-style, in the United States. In 1852, he supported governor Edward Everett in the decision to adopt the Prussian education system in Massachusetts. Shortly after Everett and Mann collaborated to adopt the Prussian system, the Governor of New York set up the same method in 12 different New York schools on a trial basis.