A Higher Learning for All

ALONG WITH THEIR prematurely grand hotels, nineteenth-century town-boosters built their own colleges and universities, ostensibly institutions of higher learning, each for his new Athens, his new Rome, or his new Oxford. The grandeur of these institutions lay in the future, and as often as not that future never came. The apparatus of American education tended to grow in an anticipatory, upside-down fashion. The mark of this curiously inverted order of development would remain, creating unforeseen opportunities and unprecedented problems which incidentally would change the very concepts of knowledge and of education in a ruthlessly democratic America.

If there was to be a new American religion of education, the universities were its cathedrals, just as the high schools later would become its parish churches. It was no accident that American universities adopted the architecture of the great age of European cathedral building. “Collegiate Gothic” naturally became standard for institutions that could afford it. Just as the great cathedrals overshadowed the parish churches, so too the universities would overshadow the high schools. And in this American Church, cathedrals of learning were actually built before the parish churches. American education had a hierarchy before it had a qualified congregation.

In the United States, unlike the more settled countries of western Europe, education became a curiously inverted pyramid. Institutions of “higher learning,” presuming to offer the whole citizenry access to the most elevated and most difficult branches of learning, multiplied in numbers without precedent—even before the nation had a suitably extensive and democratic apparatus of preparation. Higher learning spread over the land, in ambitious and pretentious institutions generously supported by public treasure, even before the courts of the land had removed doubts about whether it was legally permissible to collect taxes to support a public high school.

There is no entirely rational explanation of why American institutions developed in this way. The order of events had not been planned. And to insure these new universities a sufficiently numerous student body, the enthusiastic American champions of higher-learning-for-all had to redefine the subject matter of higher learning. How else could a “university” be brought within the intellectual and physical capacities of every citizen male or female? If an “opera house” in an upstart Western town would somehow bring into being the performances to justify its name, would not a “university” also create its own constituency?

The community booster colleges of the early nineteenth century were born by the hundreds, and they died by the hundreds; four fifths of those founded before the Civil War had ceased to exist by the mid-twentieth century. But that fate befell fewer of the colleges and universities born after the Civil War. More of these were richly supported by public funds, which it was somebody’s political death to withdraw; and those that had been founded and sustained by large private endowments and individual gifts commanded pious loyalties, which made them immortal. Nearly all resisted reform, even while they became increasingly responsive to popular fads and fancies, to the “democratic” demands of students and others.

In the late twentieth century, the American “system” of education, insofar as there was any system, would still be upside down. American colleges and universities had reached standards of excellence in nearly all fields of learning which exceeded those in other advanced nations; and on the whole they had more resources than they knew what to do with. At the same time, elementary schools and high schools, which supplied the lifeblood of the colleges and universities, were weak in resources, and had begun to be corrupted (as the universities had been a half-century earlier) by the very institutions of local control which had once been their strength.

THERE WAS NOTHING anywhere else quite like the array of American colleges or universities, or the speed with which they grew. In 1870 the United States had 563 institutions of higher learning. By 1910, when these institutions numbered nearly 1,000, their enrolled students totaled one third of a million. At that time the 16 universities of France enrolled altogether about forty thousand students, a number nearly equalled by the faculty members of the American institutions. By 1935, American institutions numbered some 1,500, with over one million students; by 1960 the institutions numbered 2,000 with over three million students. And by 1970 the institutions numbered nearly 2,500 with over seven million students.

The United States, then, unlike England or France, was not merely providing higher education to prepare certain citizens to become a professional élite. “European universities,” James Bryant Conant noted in 1959, “are essentially a collection of faculties concerned with the education of future members of the learned professions. The general or liberal education of the doctor, lawyer, theologian, engineer, scientist, or professional scholar is provided by special secondary schools, admission to which is determined by a highly selective procedure at age ten or eleven. Not more than 20 percent of an age group are selected from the elementary school and enrolled in the preuniversity schools…. The other 80 to 85 percent stop their formal education at age fourteen and go to work.”

To compare the proportions of American youth attending college with those in other countries was therefore quite misleading. “It is true,” Conant added, “that something like a third of our young people are ‘going to college,’ and only about a fifteenth or twentieth of the boys and girls in a European country are university students. But the vast majority of the Americans are not university students in the European sense of the term—that is, students preparing for a profession.” It was not correct, then, either to praise American higher learning for spreading to vast numbers what in Europe was confined to a few, or to disparage American universities for not providing the commodity offered by their counterparts in Europe. European universities, even in the mid-twentieth century, remained primarily places of instruction where skills and subject matters were imparted to those who would need them in their occupations.

The characteristic American college was less a place of instruction than a place of worship—worship of the growing individual. If subject matters were vague, if options were numerous, and if the boundaries between athletics and academics, between curricular and extracurricular activities were uncertain, none of this was surprising. For “growth” was hard to define, and was of course different for each American. By the mid-twentieth century, increasing numbers of Americans agreed that any citizen who had not been sent to some institution of higher education had been cheated of his opportunity for maximum growth. Agreement on any other definition of higher education seemed both impossible and unnecessary.

The stereotype of “conformity” with which foreign critics indicted Americans, and to which naïve and ill-informed Americans pleaded guilty, had nothing to do with the case. There was, to be sure, an orthodoxy: this belief in growth, in the fulfillment of the individual. It was not widely enough admitted that, generally speaking, American colleges and universities were meant to be Hotels of the Mind, providing for each American community’s mental and cultural activities many of the democratic conveniences which its hotel provided for their social and commercial activities. American universities tended to be public, popular, and democratic. But the common faith, far from producing any uniformity of standards, produced a fantastic, disorderly diversity, in the frenetic effort to find something uniquely suited for everybody.

The tradition the Americans inherited from Europe assumed that universities were repositories of the Higher Learning, which meant, of course, the most advanced and difficult and recondite subject matters. They were the topmost rungs on the Ladder of Learning, but Americans found the very idea of a Ladder of Learning uncongenial. Democracy had little patience with hierarchies, and certainly not in education. If the prime aim of education was growth, then each man was a ladder unto himself. John Dewey’s new Democracy of Facts meant also a new Democracy of Subjects. The old collegiate choice between a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Arts was not enough. There must be courses to suit every taste, and a degree for anybody. By the mid-twentieth century, American colleges were offering a host of new degrees, including among others: B.Did., B.L.S., B.F., B.N., B.P.S.M., B.S.H.E., B.S.L.A., B.N.S., B.Phil., B.B.S., B.C.S., A.B. in L.S., A.B. in Ed., A.B. in Soc. W., B.S. in P.A.L., B.Voc.E., B.R.Ed., B.V.A., B.S. in H.Ec., and B.O. (Bachelor of Oratory). It was not helpful to define the Higher Learning simply as what was taught in universities—when anything and everything was taught there. Democracy in higher education meant a new blurring of the boundaries between lower and higher, practice and theory, liberal and vocational.

THIS NEW HIGHER EDUCATION was a product of many American circumstances. Curiously enough, it had been made possible by the very emptiness of the continent, which unexpectedly proved to be a main resource for building and supporting the new institutions. The lands owned by the federal government and held for all the American people were what made possible the land-grant colleges. While these would be only one kind of American institution of higher learning, they were a decisively new influence. It was appropriate, too, that the gospel of the new higher education should not come from the great Eastern cities, which lay in the shadow of Old World learning, but from the West.

Jonathan Baldwin Turner, son of a Massachusetts farmer, was expected to stay home and run the family place because his elder brother Asa had gone to Yale to train to be a missionary. In 1827 Asa walked the 240 miles home from New Haven to persuade his father to allow Jonathan, even at the advanced age of twenty-four, to go to Yale. Jonathan’s reading at Yale was mainly in the Greek and Latin classics, garnished with current textbooks on ancient subjects. In New Haven he was converted to the temperance movement and acquired a reputation for piety. Meanwhile, brother Asa had gone West in the “Yale Band” of seven pledged to promote “religion and learning” in the American wilderness. When Asa returned East in 1833 to recruit for the work of “colonizing and civilizing,” he enlisted Jonathan, whom the president of Yale excused from final examinations so that Jonathan could immediately join the mission at Illinois College in Jacksonville.

Arriving in Jacksonville, Illinois, in May 1833, Jonathan Turner found the college with its faculty of five housed in a forty-foot square “spacious brick edifice.” Turner accepted permanent appointment as professor of rhetoric and belles lettres, but in 1847 his outspoken antislavery views and his dissent from the orthodox doctrine of predestination finally forced his resignation from the college.

“Colonizing and civilizing” Illinois meant attracting farmers. But the absence of trees on those Western prairies meant lack of timber for fencing, and without fences there could not be prosperous farmers. Barbed wire (Glidden did not obtain his patent until 1874) was still far in the future. Turner took it for granted that the fencing material for Illinois pioneers, whatever it might turn out to be, would have to be something grown in the soil of Illinois. The ideal fence he imagined would be some sort of hardy, thick-growing, prickly hedge which the farmer could plant wherever he wished, which required no repair or replacement, and which would be “horse-high, bull-strong, and pig-tight.” Seeking a plant to meet these specifications, Turner experimented with barberry, box, hawthorn, and other familiar trees and shrubs, and even sent abroad for some exotic plants.

Then one day in 1835 Turner heard from an itinerant preacher about a thorny plant, the Osage Orange, that grew on the banks of the Osage River in Arkansas. He secured a few plants and seeds, and so found the solution to the Illinois farmers’ fencing problem. The Osage Orange was described (1847) in Turner’s advertising brochure:

It is a native of Arkansas and Texas, and will grow on any soil where common prairie grass will grow. Overflowing the land does not harm it. It will live for weeks, even months, entirely under water. It endures all climates, from Boston to New Orleans, perfectly well. Prairie fires will not destroy it or often injure it. It is armed with a very stout thorn under every leaf. Its dense iron branches soon become so interlocked that no domestic animal, not even a common bird, can pass through it. Both its thorns and its bitter acrid juice prevent all animals and insects from browsing or feeding on its branches. Its seed is like the orange seed and its root like the hickory. Consequently it can never spread into the field. One hedge around a farm secures orchards, fruit-yards, stables, sheepfolds, and pasture-grounds, from all thieves, rogues, dogs, wolves, etc. One good gate, well locked, makes the whole farm secure against all intruders. It may be trained so high as to afford shelter to stock and break the rough prairie winds.

Some called the professor’s fantastic fence “Turner’s Folly,” but his business prospered. Turner imported Osage Orange balls from Arkansas, and after the Civil War encouraged Illinois farmers to grow trees for seed, for which he paid $5 a bushel. “In the Mississippi Valley,” a neighbor noted before the end of the century, “he made forty-acre and quarter-section farms possible, where otherwise there would have been broad plantations, or still larger baronial estates.”

Turner’s success with the Osage Orange persuaded him that future generations of farmers needed a new kind of “higher learning.” Turning his missionary passion to the democratizing of education, he helped organize the Illinois State Teachers Association, then campaigned around the state for tax-supported public schools. By 1851 he had proclaimed his gospel of “A State University for the Industrial Classes.” All civilized society was “necessarily divided into two distinct cooperative, not antagonistic, classes”; the “professional” class (doctors, lawyers, men of letters, and preachers) comprised only about 5 percent of the people, while the “industrial” class included all the rest.

Since the common schools, which offered reading and writing, were not providing education itself, but merely the tools for securing an education, the substance of education—knowledge and skills—had to be provided in the higher institutions, which until then had remained a monopoly of the professional 5 percent:

But where are the universities, the apparatus, the professors, and the literature specifically adapted to any one of the industrial classes? Echo answers, Where? …

Nor am I unmindful of the efforts of the monarchs and aristocrats of the Old World in founding schools for the “fifteenth cousins” of their order, in hopes of training them into a sort of genteel farmers, or rather overseers of farmers; nor yet of the several “back fires” … set by some of our older professional institutions to keep the rising and blazing thought of the industrial masses from burning too furiously. They have hauled a canoe alongside of their huge professional steamships and invited all the farmers and mechanics of the State to jump on board and sail with them; but the difficulty is, they will not embark. We thank them for even this courtesy.

To build a true democracy, Turner proclaimed, the industrial classes must also have their universities, at least one in each state. He noted with satisfaction that the recently founded Smithsonian Institution had begun to cultivate learning that was useful for the people, but it was only a beginning. The new universities would teach agriculture, manufacturing processes, and bookkeeping; they would provide experimental farms and orchards and herds of stock; and they would be “open to all classes of students above a fixed age, and for any length of time.” Commencement ceremonies would be marked not by a Latin oration, but by an annual fair, exhibiting the products of the experimental farms in competition with similar products gathered from the whole state.

The effect on the society as a whole, preached Turner, would be as great as that of any earlier religious reformation. A people educated in this way would show new respect for “the law of nature, instead of the law of rakes and dandies.” The industrial class would become “thinking laborers,” while the professional class would be transformed into “laborious thinkers.” Work—fruitful, democratic work—would be glorified as never before. “If every farmer’s and mechanic’s son in this State could now visit such an institution but for a single day in the year, it would do him more good in arousing and directing the dormant energies of mind than all the cost incurred, and far more good than many a six months of professed study of things he will never need and never want to know.”

Turner staged a series of educational revivalist meetings throughout the state to persuade the Illinois legislature to petition Congress for grants of federal lands to establish an industrial university in each state. In 1853 the Illinois legislature sent its request to Washington.

AT THE TIME of the Civil War, the federal government still possessed a vast treasure of public land, which it was free to give, and which required no authorizing taxation. After the American Revolution, lands had been given to veterans, and during the first half of the century, tracts had been offered for sale at low prices to populate the West. Millions of acres were granted through the states to the railroads to encourage construction and to help attract settlers who would make the railroads profitable. A homestead movement to give parcels of this land free to all settlers had been growing.

Among those concerned with the use, and the waste, of the public lands was a storekeeper from Vermont who had been elected to Congress on the Whig ticket in 1854, but who soon joined the new Republican Party. Justin S. Morrill hoped to use the public lands “to do something for the farmer,” and incidentally, too, for the Republican Party, by proving that party to be the friend of the common man. In 1857 Morrill wrote a bill incorporating Turner’s grandiloquent language, to encourage the establishment of an industrial university in each state by granting each state a tract of the public lands. The sums from sale of the lands were to be spent by each state for at least one college where, without excluding other subjects, and including military tactics, instruction would be offered in “agriculture and the mechanic arts … in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes.”

After President Buchanan vetoed the bill in 1859, Morrill tried again, and in July 1862, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act. And so an American scheme for land-grant colleges and universities came into being in wartime. Public lands owned by the federal government were to be granted to each state: 30,000 acres for each of its senators and representatives in Congress. The states that did not have federal public lands within their borders would be granted scrip which could be used for public lands elsewhere. To receive the benefits of the law, a state had to accept within two years. The total grants to the states under this first Morrill Act totaled 16,000 square miles.

At first there was a wild scramble for land-grant funds by the colleges and universities that were already operating in 1862. Private institutions like the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rutgers, Brown, Sheffield Scientific College (at Yale), and Vermont College, and the state universities in Georgia, Tennessee, Delaware, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Florida, and Louisiana, and the existing agricultural colleges in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Iowa—all these (some of which barely existed yet) were invigorated by the land grants. Before 1880, land grants had helped build another great private institution, Cornell University, in New York, and had helped found state colleges or universities in eleven additional states, eight new agricultural and mechanical colleges, and six separate colleges for Negroes. These early statistics are misleading, however, for many early land-grant institutions were hardly more than a few experienced farmers or mechanics talking to the neighborhood boys.

The American Agriculturalist, in 1867, gave these simple do-it-yourself instructions for building a land-grant college:

Set a number of earnest men, capable of teaching agriculture, down upon a good farm, with a good large house and barns upon it, and the cooperation of a good farmer; put up a few temporary buildings, if need be, for lecture rooms now, and perhaps for stables by and by; give the Faculty a little money to spend upon books, apparatus and fitting up; let them know that they shall have more as fast as they can show results; let all permanent improvements be made with a view to the future and leave the Faculty as unhampered in regard to matters of instruction and discipline as possible, and success of the most gratifying character will be almost certain in any State of the Union.

Most of the subjects taught, for example, at Kansas State in 1875, lent themselves to these unpretentious beginnings. Among courses listed in their catalogue were: The Farm, The Nursery, Carpentry, Cabinet Making, Turning, Wagon-Making, Painting, Blacksmithing, Dress-Making, Scroll-Sawing, and Carving. A few others, like Telegraphy, Engraving, and Photography, required more elaborate equipment.

The influence of the Land-Grant Movement on American higher education could not be measured merely by the number of new “Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges” that were founded under the Morrill Act. For in order to meet the competition of these new institutions and in order to qualify for continuing federal grants, many other colleges and universities leavened their curricula with appealingly “democratic” offerings.

In 1882 the total land-grant enrollment was only 2,243, but by 1895 enrollment reached nearly 25,000—twice the total American higher-education enrollment in 1870. By 1916, land-grant colleges had enrolled some 135,000, one third of all the nation’s students in higher education. Ten years later land-grant enrollment reached nearly 400,000. When President Buchanan vetoed Morrill’s first land-grant college bill in 1859, he had objected that if the federal government made this grant, the states would constantly be coming back to the federal government for financial support for their educational enterprises. And he was correct, for the Act of 1862 was only the first of a long series. The Second Morrill Act (1890) provided annual federal appropriations to support land-grant colleges, and that support increased in the twentieth century.

The federal grants stirred the states to a more generous support of the New Higher Education. By 1910, land-grant institutions were receiving only one third of their income from federal sources, and by 1932 this proportion had dropped to one tenth. Optimists for American federalism could find cheer in the fact that few American institutions had proved more regional in their flavor or more responsive to local needs than those land-grant institutions which had been founded with federal funds.

The regional feelings, the desire to improve the local community, which had inspired American college foundings since the colonial beginnings of Harvard and William & Mary and Yale, were expressed once again in the “A & M” colleges. Now the aim of course was not to provide a learned ministry, but to help farmers and mechanics do their jobs better wherever they were. In a new sense, higher education would now be dominated by the needs of the local community. “It was an old idea,” Liberty Hyde Bailey, the pioneer of “nature study” in schools explained in 1907, “that education in some way should be ‘adapted to’ the needs of life. We now have taken a somewhat different point of view, feeling that education should develop out of the needs of life and be fundamentally native and indigenous.” The A & M colleges became centers for studying local crops and for improving the neighborhood breeds of cattle. Out of them came scores of farm experiment stations, Farm Bureaus with local agents to help farmers with daily problems, and Farmers Cooperatives to aid farmers in buying and selling.

Along with emphasis on the practical and the useful there came a growing suspicion of the traditional subjects. “Of what good is it,” they asked, “when a man can say ‘I am hungry’ in six or seven languages, but cannot earn his own bread and butter?” The land-grant-college spirit, the demand for regional usefulness and contemporary relevance, expressed democracy in a realm where Old World traditions of monasticism, clericalism, and aristocracy were still very much alive. While Jonathan Turner had accurately called the new Colleges for the People “a distinctively American system of education,” the idea intoxicated him with visions of what he called The Millennium of Labor. “Almighty God was not mistaken,” Turner preached, “when he put the first man in the garden instead of the academy, and made his own son a carpenter instead of a rabbi.” In 1861 Senator Stephen A. Douglas had prophesied that Turner’s land-grant plan would be “the most democratic scheme of education ever proposed to the mind of man!”

“COEDUCATION,” AN AMERICAN WORD which first came into common use in the era of the land-grant colleges, was largely a by-product of the New Education. When Oberlin College (founded in 1833) opened its doors to women, along with men, in 1837, the public was scandalized, and it was some years before others followed. A few state universities in the West (Utah, Iowa, and Washington) had begun admitting women students even before the federal bounty was handed out. But it was Morrill’s land-grant act that decisively encouraged coeducation. The new land-grant institutions, with their emphasis on service to all the people, their openness to new and practical subject matters and their freedom from the snobbish and segregated social traditions of the older colleges, could hardly deny a place to women. Until then, higher education for women was offered only in special women’s colleges like Vassar (1861), Wellesley (1875), or Bryn Mawr (1880), or in Barnard or Radcliffe, which were coordinate to men’s colleges. But some Western land-grant colleges were open to women as well as men from the start, and during the 1870’s, Eastern institutions began to follow their lead.

The most potent of the myths that had prevented coeducation was that woman, “the weaker vessel,” could not survive the rigors of academic discipline. It was expected that women might faint from the strain, and that while losing “the delicate bloom of womanhood,” they would inevitably lower the academic standards for men. Traditional fears—the dangers of “enforced familiarity” of the sexes, the corruption of morals, the destruction of the romantic relation between the sexes with a predicted decline in the marriage rate and “race suicide”—all these slowed the attendance of women. But it was found that the female physique could survive, and even thrive, in a college atmosphere.

The old objection that while higher education was needed to train men for the professions, it could be of little use to women, no longer applied. These new institutions invented new subjects that would be useful to housewives. For the first time “Home Economics” (the expression was an Americanism, first recorded in the 1920’s) became an academic subject. As early as 1871, Iowa State College listed “Domestic Economy” in its “Ladies Course,” with the wife of the first president offering lectures on cooking. Kansas and Illinois followed, with courses on sewing and on the application of chemistry to foods. By 1905, eighteen land-grant colleges, mostly in the West, had their regularly organized departments of home economics. Coeducation had become so established an American institution by 1920 that women were already receiving one third of all university degrees, most of them from coeducational institutions.

The Southern pattern of segregation found expression in separate land-grant colleges for Negroes, since white Southerners had found these less objectionable than assimilating Negroes into a single democratic system of higher education. After 1938 the Supreme Court, by a series of decisions, began to uphold the right of Negro citizens to share in the common bounty of higher education.

Not merely education but a higher education was now believed to be every American’s right. After the American Revolution, veterans had been rewarded by grants of land; the new American patrimony was education. When veterans returned from World War II, the “G.I. Bill of Rights” provided federal grants (up to $500 a year for tuition and books) and a monthly allowance of $50 (later $65) to allow any veteran to secure four years of college education. Similar rights were legislated for the veterans of the Korean War (Public Law 550, 1952). When that program ended in 1956, it had sent several million Americans to college.

THE AGE OF THE LAND-GRANT COLLEGE saw other acts of faith in the new religion of education. The years between the end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I were an era of great private philanthropies. The earliest American private colleges—Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Dartmouth, Amherst—had been founded with relatively small capital sums, aided later by generous public grants and by the modest philanthropy of their loyal sons. Then the booster colleges before the Civil War had depended on the meager resources of the denominations or on piecemeal support from local communities.

The late years of the nineteenth century saw educational philanthropy on a new scale. In 1873 Johns Hopkins, from the fortune he had made as a commission merchant, banker, shipowner, and as the largest individual stockholder in the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, bequeathed $7 million to found the Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Hospital. With this he set a new standard for educational munificence in the United States, and an impressive number of his wealthiest fellow Americans would follow. Andrew Carnegie, from his steel millions, founded the Carnegie Institution (1902) to promote research, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1905), and the Carnegie Corporation (1911) for science and the humanities, and he helped build scores of public libraries throughout the nation. Leland Stanford, out of the fortune he made in Western railroads, founded Leland Stanford, Jr. University in memory of his son, and left it an additional $2.5 million at his death. John D. Rockefeller, from his Standard Oil profits, gave $10 million in 1891 to found the University of Chicago, and he supported it generously thereafter. James B. Duke, who built the American Tobacco Company, in 1924 created a trust, valued at some $100 million, to establish Duke University. And there were many others.

With a few exceptions—Rockefeller was a high school graduate and Leland Stanford had attended an academy—these cathedrals of learning were founded by self-made men who had little or no formal education themselves. Their munificence must have been rooted in faith. And their gifts to universities were their own way of revolting against the European idea of a “university.” Matthew Vassar had expressed his democratic desire to prove that intellectual pursuits would not damage the health of women and so to support the cause of woman suffrage. Stanford founded his institution to “qualify students for personal success and direct usefulness in life.” At the inauguration of Drexel Institute in 1891 Chauncey Depew, president of the New York Central Railroad, complained that the culture of the classical college had become “the veneer of the quack, and finally the decoration of the dude.” The times required “not culture, either in its lofty significance or in its degraded use…. The old education simply trained the mind. The new trains the mind, the muscles, and the sense. The old education gave the intellectual a vast mass of information useful in the library and useless in the shop.”

This remarkable pattern—the makers of large fortunes generously supporting institutions of higher learning—attested an American orthodoxy. If the new millionaires had second thoughts about their techniques of amassing their fortunes, if they were troubled by the accusations of the Muckrakers and Populists and Progressives, perhaps here was their way to salvation. Just as Henry VIII devoted his takings from the confiscated monasteries to the founding of Trinity College, now, too, men of great wealth who wanted admission to the democratic heaven, or at least hoped for an honorary degree as absolution from their industrial sins, made munificent gifts for educational cathedrals.

If you find an error please notify us in the comments. Thank you!