The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Education, Higher, in the United States
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Education, Higher, in the United States
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EDUCATION, Higher, in the United States. In the transit of civilization from the Old World to the New, higher education played an early and conspicuous part. The proportion of university men among the colonists of Massachusetts Bay was large. Between 90 and 100 English university men were among the emigrants prior to 1648, or 1 in each 200 or 250 of the total population of the colonies. Seventy were graduates or former students of Cambridge, 20 of them from the able Puritan foundation, Emmanuel College, and had there learned the love of truth and sense of duty that signally characterized their later lives.
These men became the leaders in church and public affairs in New England, and one of their earnest desires was the creation of a new Cambridge University near Boston. It was only six years after the founding of Boston that their dream had partial realization in the founding of Harvard College, for on 28 Oct. 1636, the General Court “agreed to give 400 pounds towards a school or colledge.” “After God had carried us safe to New England,” writes the chronicler, “and wee had builded our houses, provided necessaries for our liveli-hood, rear'd convenient places for God's worship and settled the Civil Government: One of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to Posterity; dreading to leave an illiterate Ministery to the churches, when our present Ministers shall lie in the Dust.” Two years later John Harvard, a clergyman who had been a year in the colony, died and bequeathed one-half of his estate and his precious library of 300 volumes to the enterprise. This, with other gifts, enabled Harvard College to open.
Founding of the First Colleges. — Attempts to found a college in Virginia began before the Mayflower sailed to Plymouth, in the grant of 10,000 acres for a university made by the Virginia Company, but it was not until 1693 that the planters, suffering from sickness, poverty and massacre, were able to obtain sufficient aid from England to found their “place of universal study.” The entire population of the colony, if gathered together from the scattered plantations, would hardly have filled a sizable city, and the college could hardly have prospered without the liberal aid which it received as a child of the Church of England: aid to which the dissenting colleges of the northern colony could not appeal. Had the English sovereign and the High Churchmen who lent substantial assistance been able to foresee the infant college becoming the mother of rebellion and the “training ground of democracy,” inspiring the students, Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler and Marshall and their colleagues with faith in the inalienable rights of man, and granting Washington his surveyor's license, they had perhaps been less prompt with their gifts.
Tradition has it that the third American college, Yale, had its origin in the bundles of books which the founders are reputed to have carried to Branford as endowment for the little collegiate school that held its commencement at Saybrook. A child of Harvard, the school was founded in 1701, that the youth may “be instructed in the Arts and Sciences, who . . . may be fitted for Publick employment both in Church and Civil State.” The college found a permanent home in New Haven after more than a decade of migratory existence. It received firm foundation in the liberality of Gov. Elihu Yale, a wealthy English colonial official born in Boston and resident in London, who shipped consignments to be sold for the benefit of the college and gave also many books to the college library. Equally generous was the great English philosopher, George Berkeley, who gave nearly 1,000 volumes, “the finest collection of books ever brought to America at one time” as well as the “Dean's” farm which he had occupied in Rhode Island. The colonists gave from time to time as they were able, sometimes land, sometimes books, material, labor or physical apparatus, and the general assembly appropriated annually £100 or £200 besides special appropriations. Successful foundation came to Yale, as to all the other colonial colleges, only at the price of common sacrifice, and liberal public policy at home, and generous aid from England.
Benjamin Franklin in his ‘Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pennsylvania’ laid the framework of the future University of Pennsylvania. The narrow curriculum of the New England college and the Latin and Greek declamations and recitations seemed insufficient to Franklin. “It would be well,” he wrote, “if they (the pupils) could be taught everything that is useful and everything that is ornamental. But . . . their time is short. It is therefore proposed that they learn those things that are likely to be most useful and most ornamental, regard being had to the several professions for which they are intended.” Twenty-four citizens of Philadelphia undertook to establish an academy of the type suggested and to lay foundation for posterity to erect a more extensive and suitable seminary. In January 1751 the academy formally opened. It embraced an English, a Latin, and a mathematical school with wide range of studies.
William Smith, author of a broad plan of education for an Utopian college of “Mirania,” was chosen provost of Franklin's academy, and guided the institution through its notable, if tumultuous, early history. He bitterly disappointed Franklin, quarreled with the provincial assembly, and was believed a Tory at heart, but he built into fact enough of his own and Franklin's early ideals to make the college of Philadelphia a model for all later American colleges.
Princeton, founded in 1746 as the College of New Jersey, had for predecessor the Log College of William Tenant, near Philadelphia, a college of the simplest type where, with Tenant's four sons, future clergymen of the Presbyterian Church received instruction and council. Princeton influence was active in the foundation of Brown University in the Rhode Island colony, organized by the Philadelphia Baptist Association under the agency and presidency of the Rev. James Manning, a graduate of the New Jersey College.
Kings College in New York (now Columbia) owes its origin to the joint interest of the colonial assembly and Trinity Church. The assembly declared its belief that a proper and ample foundation for the regular education of youth would greatly tend to the welfare and reputation of the colony and voted an annual appropriation of £500, in addition to authorizing lotteries, believing “so good and laudable a design must readily incite the inhabitants to become adventurers in a lottery.” Trinity Church offered “any reasonable quantity of the church farm” for the college buildings on condition that the president be forever a member of the Church of England and that the liturgy and collect of the Church be used. Bitter dispute ensued between the Episcopal party and the minority who seem to have had in mind the erection of a non-sectarian university under the direct control of the assembly. If the plan for the new college was not as liberal as the minority wished, it was in practice less sectarian than any college yet erected.
Dartmouth, established by the Rev. Eleazer Wheelock in 1769, was an outgrowth of Moor's Indian Charity School. Ten thousand pounds were collected for it in England. Situated on the frontier of the Indian country, remote from populous towns and white settlements, it early worked out a rough sort of vocational training that was prophetic of a later day.
Rutgers, established by royal charter as Queens College, in New Jersey in 1766, completes the list of the nine living colonial colleges. Twelve were founded in the colonies prior to the Revolution, but the others did not survive.
The colonial colleges were not mere copies of English prototypes. Each has an individuality of its own. Each smacks of the soil of its own primitive community. Each retained permanent characteristics given by the groups of able and independent men that founded and presided over them. Their achievement is a great one. They realized the hopes of their founders that learning might not perish in the new world and that able leaders in church and civil affairs might not be wanting, but they did more.
They furnished the leadership in the great debate with England in legislature, in pamphlet and newspaper that preceded the Revolutionary War; they furnished a notable proportion of military leaders and soldiers in the terrible struggle, and they supplied largely the practical statesmanship that joined the discordant colonies into united resistance and later into one nation. Without the colleges the Revolution could not have succeeded or would have been deferred for a generation.
The colleges paid the price. All but one or two were forced to close their doors for a time. For a time Harvard's dormitories resounded with the heavier footsteps of provincial troops. Washington took command within a few rods of the college yard and occupied the president's house as his headquarters. The scientific apparatus was removed to Andover and instruction was given in Concord. Yale found her work interrupted and resumed for a season a migratory life. Her president was subjected to indignities and the students suffered from shortage of food.
Princeton was the scene of a crucial battle of the war: Nassau Hall still bears the scars of battle and gave shelter in turn to provincial and British troops. Brown's Hall was used as a barracks and hospital. Kings students drove the Tory president into exile, but the college buildings were later occupied by British troops and no commencement was held between 1777 and 1786. William and Mary was used by Washington as a hospital, and Queens College was forced to remove to the north branch of the Raritan to escape active hostilities. Remote Dartmouth alone seems to have continued undisturbed in her scholastic pursuits, but suffered the loss of her Indian students, allies of the British. These colleges all, however, survived the struggle and before the century closed their number was increased by 17 new foundations, among which were Hampden-Sidney (1776), Washington and Jefferson (1787), Dickinson (1783), Georgetown (1791), Williams (1793), Bowdoin (1794), Union (1795), University of North Carolina (1789), University of Vermont (1791), and Middlebury (1800).
Government Aid — Although generally founded as independent, self-governing corporations closely related with some religious denomination, practically all the early colleges received generous aid from the colonial or home government either in gift of money, grant of land, lottery, privilege or special tax. he provision was, however, pitiably small. The total property of the colleges at the end of the 18th century has been estimated as not in excess of $1,000,000 in value. The present properly of the colleges and universities is nearly 800 times as great. The equipment of the early colleges was of necessity of the simplest. A few books were the first essential, as the gifts of John Harvard, Elihu Yale and Bishop Berkeley abundantly indicate. Food and dormitories for the students, a house for the president, simple apparatus for those colleges which offered courses in natural philosophy and astronomy, and an unpretentious college hall were the other usual requisites. William and Mary had for the time a notable building designed by Sir Christopher Wren. Nassau Hall was esteemed one of the finest buildings in the colonies. College Hall in New York was “exceedingly handsome, the most beautifully situated of any college in the world.” But these were the exceptions. The president's house often served as place of recitation. He was often the sole member of the faculty, teaching all the subjects of the curriculum. The faculty and tutors were always few in number.
A New Era. — The close of the Revolution ushered in a new educational era. Some of the colleges, as Kings, were virtually defunct and required refounding. Others had suffered so severely that larger appropriations were needed than the impoverished States could well afford. But chiefly significant is the new patriotism that preferred education at home to education in Europe and the new conception of education as not primarily a church function but as an instrument of national spirit and national life. The new impulse came in part from France and was in part the natural result of newly-won national independence.
The University of the State of New York was founded 1784-87 to ensure an organized system of higher schools adequate to the needs of the State. The State of Georgia provided in 1784-85 that all public schools instituted or to be supported by funds or public money shall be considered as parts or members of the University of Georgia. Thomas Jefferson believed profoundly in the new educational faith. As press of other duties permitted, he concerned himself with the project of developing in Virginia, as a model for all the States, a true organized system of schools crowned and controlled by a State university. The plan was proposed in 1779 and partly carried out in 1796. It was not until his old age that he found time to incarnate his idea in the foundation of the University of Virginia. Jefferson founded in the university a new type of institution. The purpose of a State university he considered to be (1) To form statesmen, legislators and judges; (2) to expound the principles and structure of government, the laws which regulate the intercourse of nations and a sound spirit of legislation; (3) to promote industry, agriculture, manufacturing and commerce; (4) to develop the reasoning faculties of the youth, enlarge their minds, cultivate their morals and instil in them the precepts of virtue and order; (5) to enlighten them with mathematics and physical sciences.
Washington in his plan for a national university was moved by the same impulse. He thought a national foundation the surest way to establish an American education equivalent to that formerly sought by many American youths of good family in the English universities, and he believed that the gathering of students from all the colonies into one institution would foster a common national spirit. The plan of Washington has never yet been realised but has found support in the opinion of many of our wisest Presidents and most experienced educators.
So strong was the democratic impulse and the influence of Jefferson's university that private foundations came to be viewed with something like distrust. In some States the legislature vainly sought to obtain control of existing colleges by offer of financial support. In three States, at least, the colleges were for a brief period converted into public institutions, but soon reverted to their original character. The famous Dartmouth College Case put an end to this attempt, it being decided that the charters granted educational foundations were inalienable. The effort had greater success in the States where private and church foundations had not a firm foothold. Provision was made in the constitutions of most of the new States for the establishment of State colleges or universities to crown the system of public schools. The national government laid substantial foundation in land grants. The grants of the Continental Congress in 1787 reserved perpetually two entire townships to the States to be erected in the Ohio country for the purpose of a university. One or two townships of public land were granted each of the newer States for education and were usually devoted to the establishment of a State university. The Morrill act granted public land for instruction in agricultural and mechanical subjects in proportion to population: 30,000 acres for each member of Congress representing the State. By the acts of 1890 and 1907, $50,000 was given each State annually for the same purpose, and by acts of 1887 and 1906 $30,000 annually was granted each State for Agricultural Experiment Stations, which were usually made part of the State university or agricultural college. The effect of these grants was to stimulate the growth of State institutions and to broaden their curriculum. The great universities of California, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, among others, owe their origin to the Morrill act. In other States agricultural colleges were established, as in Massachusetts, Michigan and Iowa; and in others the proceeds were devoted to the maintenance of departments in connection with existing institutions. The effect of the national policy, joined to liberal State appropriations, was the creation of “the most comprehensive university foundation the world has ever seen” in the newer Western States. The annual appropriation of several exceeds $1,000,000 each for current expenses. In some States the proceeds of a permanent mill-tax assures a fixed minimum of income. Generally no tuition fee is charged residents of the State, in no case is the fee more than nominal except for professional study. These institutions are coeducational. Of the 100,000 women attending colleges and higher schools about 30,000 are in State universities. The State universities are maintained as an integral part of the State system of public schools and graduates of standard high schools are admitted without examination. Thus the States provide a democratic system of education aiming to make available to each of its future citizens as complete a training as the mental equipment of each makes possible.
Recently the State universities have taken upon themselves much greater tasks. They have attempted to see to it that the expert knowledge of which they are the accredited custodians shall become embodied in the practical affairs and industry of the State: that the current practice of agriculture shall apply the expert knowledge of the agricultural sciences; that actual government shall embody the principles of political and social science; that actual teaching shall embody the principles of pedagogy and hygiene.
They further interpret their obligations to the State to include not only the student body in the university but all residents of the State with intellectual interests and aptitudes. The attempt is made to extend the university over the entire State and carry knowledge directly to the people. University centres are organized wherever a sufficient number of people can be interested and instruction and lectures are given far from the campus by members of the university staff. Instruction is given by correspondence and an information service is operated by which any resident may consult the experts of the university in reference to his practical difficulties. The intelligent discussion of public questions is fostered, music, pageants and libraries are made available to any community.
Recently “surveys” have been made of several State universities. A survey is a thorough-going but sympathetic and constructive examination of the equipment, administration, standards, methods and ideals of the institution to determine the relative efficiency of its organization, the value of its service to the community and the potency of its ideals. Surveys may at times degenerate into “investigations,” but when true to their mission are practical and constructive. The State universities investigated not only have stood fairly well the test of the searching examination of the survey experts, but have been quick to adopt their suggestions for securing a greater “return” from the educational plant. A survey may extend, to the entire educational resources of a State, and suggest a new alignment of educational institutions.
The Municipal University. — A type of college of recent development, akin in spirit to the State university, is the municipal university. The most conspicuous and purest examples are the College of the City of New York and the University of Cincinnati. The College of the City of New York was organized as an “Academy or College” in 1847. Under the presidency of John H. Finley it was developed into a great institution of collegiate standards supported by direct appropriation from the municipality. Nearly $6,000,000 was appropriated for new buildings, grounds and equipment and the annual appropriations are over $600,000. The college is distinctly city minded, and takes as its chief function the task of producing a higher type of citizen for the great city-state.
The University of Cincinnati is organized more closely after the pattern of the new State university. Its relation to the city government is very close. The political science department of the university conducts a municipal reference bureau in the city hall; the college for teachers uses the public schools for the training of students and co-operates with the superintendent of schools in the supervision of teachers and in investigations and reports. The department of psychology co-operates with the schools in the study of backward children. The department of social science co-operates with the city department of charities and the courts. The college of medicine conducts a free dispensary, maintains milk supply stations and sends out visiting nurses. It also conducts the laboratory of pathology of the City Hospital. The engineering college conducts a city testing bureau and co-operates with the various city departments doing engineering work. These are a few typical co-operative activities. Students study in the university and do practical paid work in city departments and manufacturing plants in alternate weeks. Eighty-five per cent of the men and 30 per cent of the women earn the whole or part of their own support. They participate in the things they are studying. The university conducts evening and external courses, and makes every effort to reach the larger number of men and women who but for the university would be debarred from an adequate education.
The rapid growth of city universities is evidenced by the organization in 1914 of a national association of urban universities consisting of 14 institutions. Seven of these are properly public municipal colleges.
There are now nearly 100 State and municipal colleges and universities. In them are educated approximately 40 per cent of the college and professional students of the United States. Sixty per cent still attend colleges of private foundation, of which there are 474 offering instruction of college grade or higher as measured by the United States Bureau of Education.
European Influence. — The evolution of the college of private foundation has been as phenomenal as the evolution of the State university. The colonial college has developed into the modern university chiefly under European influence. German influence in American higher education began with George Ticknor, Edward Everett and George Bancroft who were students at Göttingen early in the 19th century. They were followed by an increasing number of American students who pursued advanced studies at the great universities, especially at Berlin, Göttingen and Leipzig. On their return to America these men introduced the new methods of research into their advanced classes and through the influence of their students profoundly affected the methods, structure and ideals of the American university. The lecture system was developed. Productive scholarship became the common aim. The University of Michigan was remodeled in 1852 on the continental plan. Johns Hopkins was in its fundamental ideas founded on foreign practice and many of its professors were foreign trained. It was primarily a graduate school devoted to the development of research and publication, in science, history and medicine.
Organization and Work. — The chief marks of a complete university are (1) that it is a place of universal studies representing the entire field of knowledge; (2) that it is devoted primarily to research or the training of men for research from which follows (3) that it is devoted largely to experimentation and the elaboration of methods of research and the technique of the science; (4) that it offers the highest possible training for the great professions, law, medicine, theology and engineering. The university thus becomes a “centre of free inquiry,” a “seat of true learning,” a place where “thought is freed from all fetters,” where “life takes cognizance of science to the advancement of both.”
The international character of the higher learning is reflected in the development of international exchange of professors. Harvard and Berlin entered into such reciprocal relations in 1904. Harvard and the Sorbonne began a similar exchange in 1911, followed by Columbia and Berlin and The University of Chicago and Göttingen.
“On the maintenance of the university,” says Daniel Gilman, former president of Johns Hopkins University, “modern civilization depends. No tradition, no dogma, no hypothesis and no theory can escape from scrutiny, and none can long survive if it is found to rest upon false premises, imperfect knowledge or fallacious reasoning. The universities are the discoverers and explorers of new domains. They are the modern judges of the world. The very processes they employ in ascertaining the truth are favorable to the development of critics and the education of acute and independent intellects. . . . Rare minds will first perceive the truths, and then will teach others. In due time the advanced positions of the philosophers and scholars will be occupied by the multitude and onward will go the forces of the universities to make new conquests in the dark continents of ignorance and uncertainty till there are no new fields to conquer.”
The Association of American Universities represents fairly those institutions that have approached to the requisite facilities for universal studies and the advancement of learning. The Association includes 22 institutions, one-half of which are State universities. The universities of private foundation holding membership are Johns Hopkins, Columbia, Harvard, Cornell, Chicago, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, Leland Stanford, Clark and the Catholic University of America. These great endowed universities make and maintain the highest intellectual and scientific standards of the present. The higher degrees granted by the universities are usually the M.A. degree and the Ph.D. degree. The M.A. degree usually represents one year of graduate work and passing of a general examination and the writing of a brief thesis. The Ph.D. degree represents three or more years of graduate study, one, at least in residence, the passing of an extended examination and the writing of a dissertation based on individual research and constituting a contribution to knowledge. In 1861 the first doctorate was conferred; in 1914 over 500.
The richer private institutions have established numerous scholarships and fellowships. In this policy they have been influenced by the desire to make the private college a real democracy of talent as the State universities do by free tuition. The University of Chicago reports over 1,000 scholarships and fellowships, Yale over 400, Harvard 600, the University of Pennsylvania nearly 700. The State of New York has established a comprehensive system of State scholarships, yielding each $100 for four years in the approved colleges of the State, awarded to those who obtain the college-entrance diploma with highest rank. Seven hundred and fifty scholarships are awarded each year, making 3,000 in force, at a cost to the State of $300,000 a year. The motive in this important legislation is the same that influenced the Western States in the establishment of State universities.
The general establishment of graduate and professional schools has placed the college proper in a position of real danger. The development of the university has complicated its problem and confused its status. Many colleges are in organization not colleges but low grade universities. Properly speaking the college has its place between the high school and the graduate university or higher professional school. It may be an independent institution or one of the several schools forming a university group. A college of standard grade requires for admission the equivalent of eight years' elementary school work and four years of high school work. It requires for the bachelor's degree a four-year course or its equivalent. This brings the normal student to the higher professional school or graduate school at an age of 22 or 23, and delays the practice of his profession to the age of 26 or 27. There has been constant complaint of the length of the educational sequence and repeated efforts have been made to save time somewhere in the process. Differentiation between a junior college and senior college, by which college work may be ultimately limited to two years and university work begun in the senior college, is an interesting experiment. A three-year college course has been tried, and in some institutions a system of “combined” courses permits professional work in the fourth college year, but defers the granting of the bachelor's degree until the end of the fourth year.
Course of Study. — The influence of the university has operated to introduce into the college a greatly modified curriculum. Until 1870 most colleges provided a four-year course of prescribed studies. So rapid was the growth of the sciences, natural, social, political and applied, as well as history and philology, that the old course of study did not serve to orient the student into the modern world of thought. The problem was met by the multiplication of courses, the multiplication of professors and instructors and the introduction of a greater or less liberty of election between courses. The larger colleges offered in 1914 10 or perhaps 20 different courses for every one offered in 1875. The extreme elective system is generally recognized to have been a failure in the college as it has been a success in the university. The present tendency is to prescribe those subjects which are regarded as essential to a liberal education, to permit election between groups of related courses rather than between individual courses and chiefly in the last two years of the college course. Much has been done to introduce a greater degree of unity, continuity, breadth and system into the curriculum. A promising venture was the establishment of the perceptorial system at Princeton and since adopted in part by a number of colleges. The preceptors enter into close relationship with small groups of students, guide their reading, give personal attention to their difficulties and are able to influence their choice of studies from personal knowledge of individual aptitudes and deficiencies. Honors courses are provided in some colleges for students desiring to attain high rank in carefully selected sequences of courses. A general examination is sometimes substituted for term examinations and tests a more permanent deposit of knowledge.
The position of the college, however, is not yet secure. Its final articulation with the high school below and the graduate and professional school above has not been finally determined. That it is destined to have a permanent place in the educational system seems certain, and the solution of the crucial time problem may come with a real unification of the educational process now arbitrarily divided into four distinct and different educational stages and four types of schools, elementary, secondary, college and university.
Professional and Technical Schools. — There is space but for a few brief sentences concerning the professional and technical schools. During the colonial period many American-born lawyers sought a legal education in the English inns of the court. Equal interest in jurisprudence was not manifested after the Revolution for even the great ability of James Kent failed to attract students to Columbia University after his first year of service in 1794, The Harvard Law School was not successful until Justice Joseph Story in 1830 lent the enterprise the influence of his great name. Not until after 1890 was it firmly established that the apprenticeship system of legal education was inadequate to the increasing volume and complexity of the law, and that adequate preparation could be had only in the better law schools connected with the large universities. There are now approximately 122 law schools with over 20,000 students. Not more than one in four of these students has taken a college degree, although many have had the one or two or three years required for admission by some of the better schools.
Medical education did not attain a high standard until the founding of the medical school of Johns Hopkins University in 1893. There are now about 100 medical schools with about 17,000 students, of whom approximately one in six hold collegiate degrees. The course is usually four years. The efforts of the Carnegie Foundation and other institutions to raise the minimum standard of medical education has resulted in a considerable decrease in the total number of medical colleges and of medical students. Some of the weakest institutions have been eliminated. In 1900 there were over 150 medical schools; in 1914, 100. In 1900 there were 25,000 students; in 1914 not quite 17,000. In addition there are 50 schools of dentistry with about 9,000 students; 72 schools of pharmacy, with nearly 6,000 students, and of more recent establishment 1,250 schools for nurses with 36,000 students. The theological faculty is not as generally developed in the American university as in the German, but schools of theology abound. In 1914 there were 176 theological schools with 11,000 students and nearly 2,000 graduates annually. Less than 50 were integral parts of colleges and universities. About half the schools require a college degree for admission, and the length of the course is usually three years.
Education in engineering begins with the foundation of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1824. The creation of the Lawrence Scientific School in 1847 at Harvard and Sheffield Scientific School at Yale a little later brought a much higher standard. The influence of the National Land Grant Law in 1862 on engineering education was profound. Able schools are connected with most of the larger State universities. The leading school is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology affiliated with Harvard University. Most technical schools require four years of residence and grant degrees of like time-value with the B.A. and B.S, degree.
There are more than 200 public training schools and colleges for teachers with over 90,000 students, but in only a few of the States are the requirements for admission sufficiently high to permit their classification as of college or university grade. In addition there are 46 private normal schools with nearly 6,000 students and a few teachers' colleges of high grade, of which the most notable are at Columbia University and at the University of Chicago. The rapid advance in the application of pedagogical principles to educational practice is due in considerable part to these teachers' colleges.
The deep popular interest in higher education has tangible expression in private gifts to various institutions. In the decade from 1890-1900 an amount was given equal to the entire estimated value of the college property and productive funds in 1890, or $115,500,000. In 1914 gifts from private sources aggregated $31,357,398. Nearly $600,000,000 have been given since 1870.
Mention has been made of the fact that State universities are almost universally coeducational. Most of the colleges of private foundation in the Central and Western States also admit women in equal terms with men. Oberlin Collegiate Institute, now Oberlin College, admitted women from its opening in 1833. In the Eastern and Southern States colleges for women grew from the female seminaries founded in large numbers before the Civil War. Elmira College in New York was the first institution for women to receive a college charter in 1855. Vassar began a notable history in 1865. Wellesley received recognition as of college grade in 1877. Smith College opened in 1875. There were in 1915 nearly 19,000 undergraduates attending women's colleges.
The problem of military education has frequently demanded the attention of the Congress, the colleges and the people of the United States. Out of the experience of the Revolutionary War and the recommendation of Washington came the military academy at West Point, founded in 1802, now a college and engineering school of the highest type for the training of officers for the United States army. The Naval Academy at Annapolis, founded in 1845 by George Bancroft, the historian, performs a like purpose for naval officers. The number of cadets is strictly limited by Congressional and Presidential appointment. The present law (1916) provides for the designation of three midshipmen to each member and delegate of Congress, and in addition 10 at large and 15 from the enlisted men of the navy to the Naval Academy. Appointment to West Point will be on the basis of two cadets to each member and delegate of Congress, four from each State at large, 80 from the United States at large. The President may appoint, in addition, not to exceed 180, from the enlisted men in the army. The government maintains in addition a number of special military schools for the training of soldiers in various branches of the service.
Out of the early experience of the Civil War came the provision of the Morrill act requiring military drill at the “land-grant colleges.” The National Defense Act of 1916 reorganized the provisions for military education at the State universities and agricultural colleges. Reserve officers liable for service in case of war are to be trained in reserve officers' training corps units by United States army officers detailed as professors of military science and tactics. Adequate instruction in military science as part of the regular course of study is provided. The college training is supplemented by the six weeks' summer training camps conducted by the War Department. Similar provision is made for private colleges which agree to maintain at least a two-year course of military training. College regiments or batteries exist at many universities either as independent organizations or as units of the State militia. The demand for more adequate recognition of military science and military practice by the colleges has its origin largely in the student body and is receiving much attention from the college faculties. The introduction of an element of military discipline into the free life of the college is looked upon with favor by many college presidents.
In the history of higher education in America the first 15 years of the present century represent an area of criticism and reconstruction. Out of this era our universities and colleges emerge confident, potent, alert, with a quickened sense of their high responsibilities, a clearer vision of their mission and an immensely increased knowledge of educational methods. A new world epoch in educational history will doubtless begin with the close of the European War. What the characteristics of the new epoch will be no one can foretell, but it is a reason for confidence that America can enter the new era with great universities and noble colleges reshaped and strengthened by 15 years of thoughtful self-examination and wise experimentation.
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