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The recent shift away from the idea of centrally planned public systems and toward market-based models of schooling opens new territory for scholarship in the history of education. What is the history of education markets? How has the structure of education markets changed over time? This article addresses these questions by surveying existing literature, with an emphasis on the early national and antebellum periods. In the process it brings new perspectives to standard narratives of the history of education in the nineteenth century, particularly regarding the development of state-based educational systems. It then proposes areas for future research and concludes by introducing two examples of new work in this field.