« PreviousContinue »
Table I.-Statistics of State Colleges and Universities
Table II._University Land Grants
Table III.-Agricultural and Mechanical College Grants
Table IV.--Agricultural Colleges ...
Table V.-Exemption of School Property from Taxation..
THE HISTORY OF FEDERAL AND STATE AID TO HIGHER
EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES.
THE DEVELOPMENT OF STATE EDUCATION IN THE
EARLY COLONIAL EDUCATION.
There is no finer vista of political progress in the development of the American republic than that afforded by the changing views of education sustained by the people, and constantly modified by marked political tendencies. There is no better example of the influence of politics upon culture and learning than that presented by a historical perspective of the ideas which have developed our great educational system.
The colonists held learning as a sacred trust which they had brought from the Old World to be preserved and transmitted to posterity. They held it alike sacred to the best interests of the church and the society of a new community. But in this early period a decided political tendency in education was wanting; that is, a tendency toward that which educates the individual as a sovereign citizen and prepares him for the duties of the State. The relations of the church and the Government were very close in colonial days, and the control of the individual was frequently effected by the direct influences of both institutions. His duties in society were exactly and minutely specified, although it had not yet dawned upon the local communities that they were to become the component parts of a great republic, and consequently the political dangers of uneducated masses were not fully apprehended until the rising of the national spirit. Almost without exception the colonial governments, either through chartered rights and privileges or by means of self-government, made provisions for educa. tion by granting privileges and charters to private schools, or by establishing schools and colleges by legislative enactment to be supported in part by taxation. However, it required the united efforts of the colonists, through the church, the Government, and private benevolence, to keep learning from being “buried in the grave ” of their forefathers.
It must be remembered, too, that the educational as well as the political institutions of the colonies were parts of European civilization removed across the Atlantic, here to be further developed under new conditions according to the needs of nascent States. The germs of educational systems were transplanted to a virgin soil, where, under the benign influences of free political institutions, they grew up, grad. ually differentiating from the old stock under the influence of new environments. The first schools in America were like those which the colonists had known in the mother countries, while education had in a great measure the same aim. The “grammar schools” of New England were modeled after the grammar schools and middle schools of old England, while the New England academies were legitimate survivals of the “great public schools” of Rugby, Eton, Westminster, and Harrow. The first colonial colleges, such as Harvard, William and Mary, Yale, Columbia, and Dartmouth were practically patterned after the old classical colleges, whose forms and curricula may be traced back to mediæval influences. But lacking in endowment, and in the support of intellectual and moral forces, these schools, planted in a new country, could not approximate to the excellence of their models in the Old World. Realizing the situation, the colonial governments came immediately to the assistance of these schools in New England and furnished a revenue by means of taxation.
At the time of the founding of the Dutch and Swedish colonies, the church in Holland and Sweden was a state institution to which education was intrusted. Hence we find the schools in these colonies follow. ing the policy of the mother countries, by giving into the care of the church the education of youth. The church edifice was the primitive school-house, and frequently the pastor of the church, the school-master. After the beginning of English dominion over the Swedish and Dutch territory, things were somewhat changed, although the old schools in many instances continued for a long time. Penn's frame of government, drawn in England before the settlement of the English colonists, authorized schools on the English plan, and it was doubtless intended that aid should be given them by revenues raised by taxation. For a long time, however, the chief work of the assembly was to create and not to support the schools; for they were maintained both by the church and private enterprise.
The school organized by . Benjamin Franklin, however, determines the colonial policy in its developed state-that of creating the school and assisting private benevolence in its support.
Colonial Virginia inherited a university created in England, endowed with land, and supported in part by subscription and donations. The ground for the university was surveyed, but before it could be located a devastating Indian war swept away the entire scheme. But the type and policy of the original movement may be seen in the laterformed William and Mary College, which was supporte' by private aid,