Popularising literacy among the peasantry in the Kingdom of Poland in declarations, programme and the activity of the nationalist movement in 1886–1905
The article is an attempt at reconstructing the views of the representatives of the nationalist movement on the issue of popularising literacy among the peasantry in the Kingdom of Poland in 1886–1905. The main difference between the positivists and the nationalists consisted in the fact that the latter viewed the aim of the peasant education not only in terms of civilisational and cultural advancement but also as a tool of political activity. The idea was first formulated by a Warsaw weekly “Głos” (“Voice”) and developed by a Galician “Przegląd Wszechpolski” (“Pan Polish Review”). While the motto of the early programme declarations was “everything for the people by the people”, the mature programme was “everything for the national cause by the conscious and independent people”. The text discusses the statements of leading publicists and nationalist activists (Roman Dmowski, Jan Ludwik Popławski, among others) on what ideas the literature for the people should popularise and on what principles peasant libraries should be established. Nationalist movement’s basic initiatives have been discussed: a periodical for the people “Polak” (“Pole”) and peasant libraries of secret educational associations established on the initiative of the nationalist movement.