colonial literacy rates

How literate were we before mass schooling? Has mass schooling reduced literacy? This article attempts to measure it.
Freakonomics » Were Colonial Americans More Literate than Americans Today?
"In the extensive NAAL survey, only 13% of adults attained this level. Thus, the proportion of Americans today who are able to understand Common Sense (13%) is smaller than the proportion that bought Common Sense in 1776 (20%). Are we a nation in decline? 
(I am indebted to John Taylor Gatto’s article “The seven-lesson schoolteacher” for the idea of measuring colonial literacy using Common Sense.)"
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