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FEDERAL AND STATE AID TO HIGHER EDUCATION.
islature in making liberal appropriations in money for the benefit of schools, academies, and colleges, is an equal honor to them and their constituents, and a proof of their veneration for letters and science, and a portent of great and lasting good to North and South America, and to the world.” 1
The efforts of Thomas Jefferson in behalf of universal education in Virginia are well known, and the eminent success of the University of Virginia is a living testimony of his great service to his State and country.?
Though not so pronounced in favor of national aid as of State aid to education as some of his contemporaries, yet in the development of the University of Virginia he has performed a national service, in the general influence of that great institution on higher education, particularly in the southern portion of the United States. In his sixth annual mes. sage to Congress, referring to the tariff on imports, Jefferson declared in favor of Federal aid to education in the following words: “Shall we suppress the impost and give that advantage to foreign over domestic manufactures ? On a few articles of more general and necessary use the suppression in due season will doubtless be right, but the great mass of the articles on which impost is paid is foreign luxuries, purchased by those only who are rich enough to afford themselves the use of them. Their patriotism would certainly prefer its continuance and application to the great purposes of the public education, roads, rivers, and canals." 3
The chief service of Jefferson to education was rendered in remodelling the curriculum of William and Mary College and in founding a "university of character in his own State.”
James Monroe was very pronounced in favor of the promotion of intelligence by wise legislative measures, and so expressed himself at different times to Congress.
John Quincy Adams in his first annual message, after referring to some of the powers of the Constitution, thus represents the obligation of the Government concerning education and internal improvement: “If these powers and others enumerated in the Constitution may be effectually brought into action by laws promoting the improvement of agriculture, commerce, and manufactures, the cultivation of the me. chanic and of the elegant arts, the advancement of literature, and the progress of the sciences, ornamental and profound, to refrain from exercising them for the benefit of the people themselves would be to hide in the earth the talent committed to our charge, would be treachery to the most sacred of trusts.94
These opinions of the early fathers of the Republic concerning the education of the people clearly represent it as as a national trust.
1 Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1867-68, 320.
4 Congressional Debates, 1825–26, Appendix, p. 8. 880_No. 1-3
Although the early plans for national university education have not yet been realized, Congress has continued to favor from time to time the cause of education by grants and appropriations intrusting to the several States the responsibility of the education of youth. While the greater effort has been put forth in favor of " common public schools," much has been done to forward and support higher education. There always have been, and are now, many statesmen with a large following who adhere to the principle laid down by Thomas Jefferson, that the university is as much a public trust as is the primary school.
During the last fifty years, since the benefits of the Ordinance of 1787 have been more fully realized, and since the results of the Congressional grant of 1862 have begun to be seen, there has been an upward tendency of State education, and in many sections a growing antagonism (entirely uncalled for) between State and non-State institutions. The author of this sketch may be pardoned if, without entering fully into the discussion of this subject, he refers to it in such a manner as to show the prog. ress of educational ideas.
Edward Everett, in his oration on “Aid to the Colleges," says: " But, sir, we are still told
that common school education is a popular interest, and college education is not; and that for this reason the State is bound to take care of the one and not of the other. Now, I shall not put myself in the false and invidious position of contrasting them; there is no contrast between them, no incompatibility of the one with the other. Both are good; each is good in its place; and I will thank any person who can do so to draw the line between them; to show why it is expedient and beneficial in a community to make public provision for teaching the elements of learning, and not expedient nor beneficial to make similar provision to aid the learner's progress toward the mastery of the most difficult branches of science and the choicest refinements of literature.
“As far as individuals, many or few, are concerned, I have just as much natural right to call on the State to pay the bill of the tailor who clothes, or the builder who shelters, my children, as of the school-master or school-mistress, the tutor or professor, who instructs them. The duty of educating the people rests on great public grounds, on moral and political foundations.
66 We enter not into particulars; we do not presume to suggest a limit to your liberality, or to dictate the form it shall assume. do with some confidence call upon you to recognize and act upon the principle that the encouragement of academic education is one of the great interests of the State. We do ask you to reject the narrow, and, as we think, the pernicious doctrine, that the colleges are not, equally with the schools, entitled to your fostering care. This, sir, is not Massachusetts doctrine. It is not the doctrine of the Pilgrims. This Commonwealth was founded by college-bred men, and before their feet had well laid hold of the pathless wilderness they took order for founding an institution like those in which they had themselves been
FEDERAL AND STATE AID TO HIGHER EDUCATION,
trained, the universities of Cambridge and Oxford, in England. Amid all the popular susceptibilities of the day it never entered into their imaginations that academic education, less than school education, was the interest of the entire people.” 1
RECENT DISCUSSION PERTAINING TO STATE AND NATIONAL EDUCA
In a very able address, delivered in 1873, President Eliot, 2 of Harvard University, took strong grounds against State support to higher education. He held that the State might provide for universal elementary education on the ground that it was a cheap system of police for the national defence, but that no man ought to be taxed to send another man's son to the high school or college.
On the other hand, ex-President White, of Cornell University, one of the foremost champions of State education, in answer to the above argument has formulated the following propositions :3 " The main provision for advanced education in the United States must be made by the people at large acting through their legislatures to endow and maintain institutions for the higher instruction, fully equipped and free from sectarian control. I argue, first, that the past history and present condition of the higher education in the United States raises a strong presumption in favor of making it a matter for public civil action, rather than leaving it mainly to the prevailing system of sectarian development.”—“I argue, next, that careful public provision by the people for their own system of advanced instruction is the only republican and the only democratic method.”—“ Again, I argue that public provision, that is, the decision and provision by each generation as to its own advanced education, is alone worthy of our dignity as citizens.”_"Again, I argue that by public provision can private gifts be best stimulated.”— “I argue, next, that by liberal public grants alone can our private endowment be wisely directed or economically aggregated.”—“ But I ar. gue, next, that our existing public school system leads logically and necessarily to the endowment of advanced instruction.”—“Again, I ar. gue that the existing system of public endowments for advanced education in matters relating to the military and naval service leads logically to public provision for advanced education in matters relating to the civil service of the nation.”—“Again, I argue that not only does a due regard for the material prosperity of the nation demand a more regular and thorough public provision for advanced education, but that our highest political interests demand it.”_"And, finally, I
1 Everett’s Orations and Speeches, II, 618, 623, 625.
2 See paper read before the higher department of the National Educational Association at Elmira, N. Y., August 5, 1873, by President Eliot, and a review of the same by John W. Hoyt, chairman of the National University committee of the above Association.
3“National and State Governments and Advanced Education;" Am. Jour. of Soc. Sci., No. 7, 1874, 302–11.
insist that it is a duty of society to itself, a duty in the highest sense, a duty which it cannot throw off, to see that the stock of genius and talent of each generation shall have opportunity for development, that it may increase the world's stock and aid in the world's work."1
Granted that it is the duty of the State to maintain institutions of superior instruction, there is no reason why the institution endowed by private benefaction, as the so-called sectarian schools are, should be antagonized. The duty of the State is no less plain in the fostering care and protection of the latter, than in the creation and support of the former. And, on the other hand, it is just as idle for a group of private and denominational colleges to combine against a State university, as it is for the centralizing power of the university to ignore either the existence or the great service of the colleges. Mr. Mill has well said, “that all education should be in the bands of a centralized authority, whether composed of clergy or of philosophers, and be, consequently, all framed on the same model and directed to the perpetuation of the same type, is a state of things which, instead of becoming more acceptable, will assuredly be more repugnant to mankind, with every step of their progress in the unfettered exercise of their highest faculties."2 History will bear out this assertion, and it might be applied to the State with equal force.
No doubt we need centralization in education to-day more than any. thing else, but we do not need imperialism. Mr. Mill favored the exercise of the function of the State in education, but at the same time held that “one thing must be strenuously insisted on; that the Government must claim no monopoly for its education, either in the lower or in the higher branches.93 Though localism and diverse organizations have brought into existence many institutions which, perbaps, on the whole would have better been combined into one, offering superior advantages, yet these same local institutions have educated scores of young men and women in the neighborhood, who otherwise would never have found their way into a large centralized university: Facts show us plainly that we have none too much of the higher education, even when the varied forces are all in the field. The State should see-to it that no burdens are laid upon educational institutions supported by and representing any class of citizens.
It is estimated that in 1840 the proportion of college students to the entire population in the United States was 1 to 1,540; in 1860, 1 to 2,012; in 1870,1 to 2,546; in 1880,1 to 1840; and in 1886, 1 to about 1,400. Estimating all our combined efforts in favor of higher education, we fall far short of some of the countries of the Old World. “How many of our people," says President O. K. Adams, "know that one of the minor uni. versities of Great Britain has recently completed a collegiate building at a cost of more than £500,000 ($2,430,000)—not to speak of the four millions that were put into the Polytechnicum at Charlottenburg. How
' This quotation represents only an outline of the argument as presented.
FEDERAL AND STATE AİD TO HIGHER EDUCATION.
many have had their attention called to the fact that the little republic of Switzerland, with a territory not a third as large as the State of New York, has recently from its public treasury built a chemical laboratory for the Polytechnic School at Zurich at a cost of 1,337,000 francs ($267,400), and that it has more recently contracted for the building of of a physical laboratory at a cost of 994,000 francs! And of those who suppose that needless sums are expended by Harvard, Yale, and Cor. nell, how many know that the little Kingdom of Saxony, only half as large as Vermont, gives from its public treasury annually $400,000 to its university, although the institution itself bas great wealth and the professors are supported mainly by the fees of students! Let us indulge in no extravagances and no illusions; let us realize that we are young and vigorous, and that we are growing at a rapid rate; but let us not cherish the erroneous supposition that there is a single wellendowed university in America. Let us remember that the richest of our institutions has an income not much larger than that of a single one of the twenty-four colleges at Oxford. Above all, let us never forget that so long as it is necessary for our institutions to depend upon the fees of students, it will be impossible for them to put themselves into the condition of real universities. Until individual endowments are in one way or another very largely increased, the greater part of the work of education must be of the rank of preparatory schools; and consequently, until that day arrives, our young men will continue to flock to Germany for the completion of their training."
This statement ends with the old complaint of Washington, uttered a hundred years ago—the need of a great university that would suffice to educate young men on this side of the Atlantic and a central institution which would create homogeneity of sentiment. Whether these great ideals are ever to be realized or not, it is highly proper that the States and the nation see to the education of their own citizens. The great universities of England, though largely supported by private endowments, are national in their life, and are rapidly returning to the interests of the masses of the people. It would be impossible to estimate the infiuence that these universities have had on the British Gov. ernment.
Although American colleges and universities have not universally exercised such a direct influence upon national affairs, indirectly their usefulness has been immeasurably great, while from colonial times they have ever been near to the masses of the people.
Thirty-nine of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence were college-bred men; the percentage of known college graduates in three Congresses is: Fortieth, Senate, 47; House, 32: Forty-first, Senate, 46; House, 31: Forty-second, Senate, 46; House, 32. In other offices we find that the percentage of college graduates is as follows: Presidents, 65; Secretaries of War, 61; Postmaster-Generals, 53; Vice-Presidents, 50 ; Secretaries of the Navy, 47; Speakers of the House, 61; Secretaries of State, 65; Secretaries of the Interior, 50; Associate Judges of the Supreme Court, 73 ; Secretaries of the Treasury, 48; Attoruey-Generals, 53; Chief Justices of the Supreme Court, 83.