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AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY

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AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES

BY

WHITNEY H. SHEPARDSON

NEW YOEK

THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1929

Copyright, 1929, By the MACMILLAN COMPANY.

Set up and printed. Published May, 1929.

All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.

SET UP BY BBOWN BBOTHERS LINOTYPERS

PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

BX IHB COBNWALL PBESS

"How can he get wisdom that holdeth the plough, and that glorieth in the goad, that driveth oxen and is occupied in their labours, and whose talk is of bullocks?"

PREFACE

It is ill-advised, in a way, to let this report on agri- cultural education in the United States pass into the publisher's hands. For it was written by a man who knows very little about education and nothing at all about practical agriculture. But Doctor Wickliffe Rose of the General Education Board, who engaged him to make it, had the somewhat unconventional idea that a layman, without professional training and without institutional loyalties, might produce some useful ideas.

The layman, of course, put himseK at once on the mercy of those who knew something about the sub- ject, people like Dean Mann of Cornell, C. B. Hutch- ison, now Director of the Giannini Foundation of the University of California, L. R. Jones and L. J. Cole of the University of Wisconsin, Gortner and Stak- man of Minnesota. Doctors East and Bailey of the Bussey Institution, Livingston of Johns Hopkins, Osborne and Mendel of Yale, put their valuable time at his disposal while he asked a lot of elementary questions. Out of these talks, out of a considerable amount of reading, out of visits to some twenty-five agricultural institutions in various parts of the coun- try, this study eventually emerged.

The report was made, in the first instance, for the vii

viii PREFACE

officers and trustees of the General Education Board, in the hope that it might provide some suggestions as to the more important needs of agricultural edu- cation, and the way in which foundation funds might help to meet them. But before it was submitted, some of the men who had already given gener- ously of their time, agreed to read and criticize it. They then asked that when it had served its first purpose it might be printed: and the officers of the General Education Board have herewith allowed their wishes to be met.

But it is, after all, an irresponsible publication. The General Education Board does not endorse its substance: the several patient and friendly people who contributed their experienced knowledge cannot be held responsible for its views: and the author himself, after a strange and stimulating interlude, is back in business again. So the book must stand on its own feet : first, as a record of the way an outsider, living in the middle of New York City, had his eyes well opened to the importance, the problems and the personnel of one great educational field : second, as a sympathetic but candid criticism of some of the trends of agricultural education to-day: third, as an effort to contribute to its advancement, and thereby, in a small degree, to the social and economic advancement of the United States.

Whitney H. Shepardson. 48 Wall Street, New York City.

CONTENTS

FAOB

Preface vii

CHAPTEB

I. The Nation and Its Agriculture ... 1

II. The System of Agricultural Education . 9

III. The History of the Agricultural

Colleges 16

IV. Service and Education 49

V. Science, Agriculture, and Education . 69

VI. The Botanical Sciences Plant Physi- ology 87

VII. Observations on Science and Research in

THE Agricultural Colleges .... 98

VIII. Conclusion 117

Appendix 121

Index 127

AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES

AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION IN THE UNITED STATES

CHAPTER I

THE NATION AND ITS AGRICULTURE

This is a lay study of one aspect of education in the United States. It will contain a general review of certain agricultural institutions their history, scope, objectives, personnel, curricula, the needs they fill and the work they do. The fact that the author has had no professional experience in the field may account for much. It may explain why he finds himself looking at these institutions as intellectual centers rather than as practical agencies; why more stress has been laid upon education than upon agri- culture. Then too, other people, better qualified, have written with the second emphasis, and it is unnecessary to go over their ground again.

1.

In beginning, it might be well to speak about the economic setting the place which the business of agriculture occupies in the present scheme of national life and policy.

1

2 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

In 1920 half the people of the United States were livmg in communities of 2,500 or less. This does not mean that the agricultural population was then in the neighborhood of 55,000,000. But when one considers the immediate and visible interdependence of village and near-by farm, it can be fairly said that half the population of the United States in 1920 went to make up the nation's rural community.

The same census also provides a basis for esti- mating the number of people (including their families) engaged in agriculture. Analyzed by Mitchell and others in their survey of Income in the United States, these figures showed that twenty- eight per cent of persons working at gainful pursuits were farmers. Hence the agricultural population of the last census year may be estimated at twenty-eight per cent of 110,000,000 or approximately 30,000,000 people. Their land, buildings, farm machinery and live stock were worth more than eighty billions of dollars, while the annual value of crops and animal products reached a total of between fifteen and twenty billions. Moreover, there are twenty-five million other people whose mode of hfe is influenced by that of the adjacent countryside, and whose livelihood depends upon the prosperity of their neighbors.

In short, the condition of agriculture is a national concern second to none. Food and raw materials come out of the land : industry and trade depend not only upon the assurance of an adequate supply of these raw materials, but upon the assurance of a

IN THE UNITED STATES 3

prosperous rural market for finished products/ The close relation between city and country, agriculture and industry, farmer and laborer is the economic and social foundation of the state. Sir Horace Plunkett has said it more persuasively: "The well-being of a people is like a tree: agriculture is its root, manu- factures and commerce are its branches and its life ; if the root is injured, the leaves fall, the branches break away, and the tree dies."

2.

The Country Life Commission published its re- port in 1910. By that time the farmer had struggled out of his thirty-year economic depression, research and teaching had made themselves felt, state legisla- tures had increased their grants for these two pur- poses, and there had been a good deal of informative propaganda. Helped by these factors, the Commis-

* "The outstanding feature of these accounts ia the decrease in profits from trading and the absence of any final dividend in respect of trade. Let me remind you, then, of what is funda- mental to this part of our business. In Canada the trade of the city reflects the condition of the country. Our saleshops depend primarily upon the activities of the farmer, and the farmer depends upon the seasons. By great misfortune, imfavor- able weather commenced in September, 1926, just when bright sunshine was required for what had promised to be a really wonderful harvest. . . . The first snows fell thickly on sheaves unthreshed and fields uncut. This long-drawn-out harvest resulted in the farming communities having less money to spend and less opportunity of spending it during the closing months of the year, when we always expect the most trade."

(A report of the Governor and Company of Adventurers of England Trading into Hudson's Bay June, 1927.)

4 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

sion's report stimulated the enrollment of students in agricultural colleges, the development of the fields of agricultural economics, rural sociology and home economics, and the passage of the Smith-Lever Act of 1914.

But for popular understanding, particularly in urban quarters, we must look to the war and post- war periods. Nationwide campaigns to increase pro- duction through boys' and girls' clubs, propaganda for the conservation of vegetables and fruit, restric- tions upon the use of sugar and white flour, all con- tributed to a coromon appreciation of the importance of agriculture in time of war. And this appreciation grew during the period of deflation, 1921-1924, when the farmer was feeling the effect of post-war condi- tions acutely. Urged during the war by the Govern- ment to greater and greater output, lured even out of industrial and professional occupations into the country by the prospect of quick profits, farmers in general and wheat farmers in particular suddenly felt the basis of existence slip from under their feet. Land values declined while taxes rose substantially. The price of commodities which the farmer had for sale dropped to an alarmingly low figure, while the cost of the commodities which he had to buy did not drop in proportion.

In this time of post-war deflation, as in the war period, exceptional circumstances forced the difficul- ties of the farmer before the country at large, until it is now generally understood that agriculture, even

IN THE UNITED STATES 5

in normal years and under average conditions, pre- sents a serious problem. And it is important that this issue be considered before the interest aroused by the events of the past ten years dies out.

3.

During the first century and a half of its history, the United States was a rural nation. It was rural in two senses: first, the majority of its population lived in small villages or on farms; second, the trend of its growth depended upon the availability of free land, or land at a nominal price. "The most sig- nificant thing about the American frontier," says Turner, "is that it lies at the hither edge of free land." The frontier disappeared about 1890, and in 1920 the population of the United States became predominantly urban for the first time in its history. The following figures from the Census tell the story:

Rural population (i.e. people living either on farms or in villages of 2,500 or less)

1880 70.5 per cent

1890 63.9 per cent

1900 59.5 per cent

1910 53.7 per cent

1920 49.3 per cent

The decline is decisive and represents nothing short of a radical change in the character of the American population. It is not suggested that "something should be done" to stop the downward

6 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

trend of these figures." The direct line of attack is worse than useless; it is vicious. People ought to determine, and in the end will determine, where they will live their lives, not because orators, quoting from the "Deserted Village," urge them back to the land, but because there is a decent livelihood there. The fact remains, however, that a smaller propor- tion of the population than ever before is producing food for the rest.

This fact alone is not disturbing, for under some conditions a smaller proportion might produce more food than greater numbers under other conditions. Indeed this has happened. In 1820, eighty-seven per cent of the people were employed in agricultural production. With each succeeding census the pro- portion decreased until in 1910 only thirty- three per cent farmed for the nation and raised a large sur- plus for export as well. From 1890 to about 1906, in spite of the relative decrease in the rural popu- lation, there was a marked increase in the average food production per capita of the population to be fed. This was partly due to the opening up of rich virgin lands for cultivation, but more particularly to the introduction of improved machinery and methods. Since 1906, however, there has been httle or no virgin land opened up indeed, there is little

* The trend is not peculiar to the United States. The Canadian Royal Commission on Industrial and Technical Education (1917) reported the tendency for urban population to grow faster than rural in every country visited, with the single exception of Denmark. The exception, by the way, ia significant.

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or none available and improved methods and machinery have failed to keep pace with the grow- ing population of the country. Viewing crop pro- duction as a whole, statisticians estimate that we shall become a food importing rather than a food exporting nation in fifteen to twenty-five years' time. To-day, if one measures by money value, we import more food than we export.

Three general considerations may therefore be set down:

a. A nation, formerly rural, is now becoming urban.

This is a fact; it may prove to be a calamity.*

b. Food production is not keeping pace with popula-

tion growth. This is a national concern: it may introduce international complications.

c. The United States may have to turn its eyes more

towards Canada, South America, and Siberia as sources of food supply, with all the changes that such a new outlook would involve.

Such questions, however, are related not to educa- tion but to statecraft. They are perhaps the ulti- mate questions: and they require wise meditation. "Neither in the new world," says George Russell(^), "nor the old has there been much first-class think- ing on the life of the countryman. This will be apparent if we consider the quality of thought which

* Or not. Opinions differ. J. B. S. Haldane writes in Daedalus, "I do not regret the probable disappearance of the agricultural laborer in favor of the factory worker, who seems to me a higher type of person from most points of view. Human progress in historical time has been the progress of cities dragging a reluctant countryside in their wake."

8 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

has been devoted to the problems of the City State or the constitution of widespread dominions, from the days of Solon and Aristotle down to the time of Alexander Hamilton, and compare it with the quality of thought which has been brought to bear on the problems of the rural community." As far as this survey is concerned, these issues will have to be left on one side: but it is not too much to hope that some day men and women, tramed in agri- cultural institutions, will play a decisive part in their solution.

CHAPTER II THE SYSTEM OF AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

In the following chapters the system of agri- cultural education in the United States will be described and the place which the colleges hold in it will be indicated. The history of the colleges will be traced, together with that of other agricultural institutions of junior grade and of different purpose. The function of the colleges to-day and to-morrow, the way they are fulfilling it and the means at their disposal will then be considered. Finally, some sug- gestions will be put forward regarding possible developments.

1.

Agricultural education is advanced in many ways. The general village store provides one, the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research provides another. A country banker convinces his client that he is asking for an unwarrantably large loan to finance an unwarrantably big cotton acreage; the Carnegie Laboratory in Arizona prints a paper on the chemistry of photosynthesis; the President of the United States explains why he has vetoed the

0

10 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

McNary-Haugen Bill; someone talks on alfalfa at the local grange. The little red schoolhouse, or its present-day counterpart, plays a considerable role, for it gives regular instruction to children who live deep in the country. The consolidated rural school, better built, equipped, and staffed, serves the same end. Indeed, any number of people, agencies, and institutions contribute to agricultural education if the word be used in its widest sense.

But there are, in every state of the Union, insti- tutions which embrace resident teaching, research, and extension. Their chief interest is in the art of agriculture or in the sciences which lie at the root of sound practice, and they are concerned about the intelligence and standards of people who live on the land. Such institutions, of both secondary and collegiate grade, are said to form a system. They form a system, if you please, because they exist by virtue of certain principles. One principle is that agriculture can be advanced for the State and for the individual by schools and colleges which are definitely designed to advance it. This belief was widely held when the first institutions were set up in the United States: their growth since that time, more especially during the last generation, seems to confirm its essential soundness.

In the second place, they are all tax supported.*

* That is, in the "system" ; though one can find agricultural work at Columbia, S5Tacuse, Berea, St. Lawrence in fact in about fifteen private institutions. (See RUS Edition, 1925.)

IN THE UNITED STATES 11

They are part of the scheme of public education in a democracy the State's fulfilhnent of an obli- gation to facilitate education for its citizens. Ideally, this education should be as good as possible, for as many people as possible, at as little cost as possible ; and it can be confidently said that progress is being made toward that goal.

Thirdly, these institutions are bound together by a feeling that they must make some tangible return to the State over and above that of providing the best possible education for their students. Just how they fulfill that obligation depends, of course, upon the locality and the nature of the near-by need. It varies, in degree, among institutions of the same level, and, in kind, among institutions of different grades. But the sense of public duty is always there. If it is a school, the school feels an obligation to become the stimulating center of community life. If it is a college, the college is directed toward spe- cific public ends; its teaching is for the sake of training better farmers or agricultural leaders, its research is to improve the economic condition of the state and the nation, and its extension work is to better the circumstances of rural life. Students are required to take courses in military science, while history, economics and "civics" are taught to promote good citizenship. One can only generalize broadly; but with that qualification it is true to say that the interests of the external State occupy a far more important place in the program of public

12 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

institutions than they do in the conception and con- duct of private schools and colleges.

2.

But when the word "system" is used, something more than a collection is meant, even though the units which make it up have certain important ele- ments in common. One knows, instinctively, that the private schools and colleges do not form a sys- tem. They are essentially independent of each other as the agricultural institutions are essentially interdependent. They lack the element of organi- zation which the agricultural group (for better or worse) possesses.

As for most of the schools which teach agriculture in the various states, they receive part of their funds for this purpose from Washington, through state channels to be sure, but in the last analysis from Washington. Their principals meet locally, section- ally, nationally from time to time with encourage- ment from the Federal Board for Vocational Edu- cation. In the case of the colleges, the common bond is stronger and more ancient. The Federal legislation which brought them into existence called for identical contracts with all the state legislatures. Each time Congress has given more money, whether for teaching, research, or extension, another nebu- lous relationship with some department of govern- ment has arisen. The college authorities make annual reports to the Department of the Interior

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which show how they have invested and spent the income they derive from the Acts of 1862, 1890, and 1907; they account to the Department of Agricul- ture— in no particularly bothersome way, but never- theless, they do account each year for expenditures under the national research appropriations of 1887, 1906, and 1925. What is more, the major part of the research undertaken in the various states is now on a project basis, and the Department of Agricul- ture has a measurable degree of supervision of these projects, looking toward a "well-coordinated system of agricultural experimentation from the national point of view." Even closer connection with the Department exists under the Smith-Lever Exten- sion Act of ^19 14. "Each state submits to the Sec- retary'ofAgriculture plans of work for the ensuing year. After these plans are approved by the Sec- retary, the state is certified for its share of the Federal appropriations for the next six months." And so, concludes the government specialist, "the Department of Agriculture exercises close super- vision over the agricultural research and the agri- cultural extension work which is conducted by the states aided by the Federal Government."

Together these colleges have shared in the pro- ceeds of Federal funds. To some extent they have cooperated with each other in scientific work on common problems. They have fought together for recognition as institutions of higher learning for more than half a century, and for the past forty-

14 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

four years their administrative heads have met under the auspices of their own Association of Land- Grant Colleges to discuss matters of mutual interest. Students from the agricultural schools pass on to the agricultural colleges;" the colleges in turn train teachers for the schools. Their research eventually becomes part of the store of science and so eventu- ally takes its place in school instruction. Upon such relationships as these, sometimes explicit, sometimes shadowy, the system of agricultural education in the United States depends.

3.

On the structural side, therefore, agricultural students, starting in the rural school (or sometimes in the city) ascend through Smith-Hughes voca- tional schools, or certain other high schools, or a few special secondary schools ' to the colleges and universities with their accompanying experiment stations.

On the functional side, three ends are served:

1. Teaching, through rural elementary schools, Smith- Hughes schools, and a few others of equal grade, colleges and experiment stations;

" Thia statement needs a note of explanation. The ordinary nu-al school does prepare for the agricultural college, but not exclusively. The newer Smith-Hughes vocational schools do send their graduates to the agricultural college, but in some states (Minnesota for example) there is a tendency to regard the school as a Realschule rather than a Gymnasium.

" As in New York, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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2. Research, through the Department of Agriculture,

colleges and experiment stations;

3. Extension, through the colleges and experiment sta-

tions (aided by the Department of Agriculture)

and represented by- Short courses. Teaching visits to the field, Bulletins, County agents, Demonstration farms, Club work, etc.

Viewed in any aspect, the agricultural college and the experiment station are of central importance. There scientific discoveries are made, students are taught, teachers are trained and extension work receives its content. The college with its station is the source of the stream which runs down to the schools and out into the farm : it is the "fountain and spring" of agricultural education. And the story of the college its beginnings, difficulties, growth and developing nature throws light upon agricul- tural education as a whole.

CHAPTER III

THE HISTORY OF THE AGRICULTURAL COLLEGES

1.

1783-1862 On July 2, 1862, the President of the United States signed a bill intended to promote agricultural and industrial education. By its terms, extensive public lands were conditionally granted by the Federal Gov- ernment to the several states. From the sale of these lands, funds were to be set aside for "the endowment, support, and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the several states may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life." The Act has ever since been popularly called the "Morrill Act of 1862," in honor of the man who sponsored it, and the institutions which grew out of it have been known as the "Land-Grant Colleges."

16

AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION 17

Attempts have been made to find a better title for this group of institutions, but none have succeeded and the name will probably remain what it is.

A point is sometimes made of the fact that the President who finally approved the bill was Abra- ham Lincoln, as if, thereby, to add prestige to the colleges; but it does not appear that he had any special interest in the matter. More often, and with perhaps more justification, one is reminded that the measure was passed in the midst of civil war; that in the hour when McClellan's army was in retreat after the bloody battle of Malvern Hill, the Federal Government was setting aside 11,000,000 acres of land to promote the arts and industries of a peace not yet in sight. "Since the Romans quietly bought and sold the lands on which the Cartha- ginians were encamped in the neighborhood of the Eternal City, there has been no more noble exhibi- tion of faith in the destiny of a republic." So Andrew D. White was once moved to say; but a careful examination of the Congressional debates concerning the bill fails to disclose in the Senate and in the House any such perspective concerning the approach of the enemy's army or the future of the State as President White would have had one think.

If it is more prosaic, it is likewise truer to say that the Act came neither by genius nor suddenly. The movement toward Federal support for agricul- tural education had been under way for a long time.

18 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

Before the end of the eighteenth century, local and state societies for the promotion of agricultural prac- tice had sprung up. A chair of natural history, chemistry, and agriculture had been established at Columbia; the claims of agricultural education had been formally presented to the Pennsylvania legis- lature; and Washington, in his second annual mes- sage, had proposed to the consideration of Congress "the expediency of establishing a national univer- sity"; for, as he said, "it will not be doubted that, with reference either to individual or national wel- fare, agriculture is of primary importance. In pro- portion as nations advance in population and other circumstances of maturity, this truth becomes more apparent and renders the cultivation of the soil more and more an object of pubhc patronage. Institu- tions for promoting it grow up supported by the public purse, and to what object can it be dedicated with greater propriety?" This early effort to advance agriculture by instructing the farmer how to practice his art was a reflection of the times. New crops and breeds of animals were being intro- duced, and the possible applications of chemistry had been intimated by some of Lavoisier's work. What is more, just as one may see it in the new European states to-day, the young repubUc felt pro- found stirrings and keen responsibilities. Self- development was following upon self-determination. For the next two generations, however, the move- ment made little headway. The Napoleonic War

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and the War of 1812 served to check the forward course of the nation's rural progress, for the inter- ruption of commerce forced the United States to develop its own manufactures with rapidity. Young men were drawn in numbers from farms to new industries. In fact, it was not until 1838, when a crop failure upset the favorable trade balance and caused the importation of millions of dollars' worth of breadstuffs, that attention was once more directed to agricultural needs. Societies again became active, secondary schools were established "wherein the ele- ments and scientific principles of agriculture should be taught," Congress made its first appropriation for investigation in this field of economy; and in 1847, in a special report, the Commissioner of Patents published a study of European agricultural edu- cation.

At the end of the eighteenth century, attention had been fixed upon "the advancement of agricul- ture." Societies, schools, fairs, cattle shows, prizes of various sorts, manuals of practice all had been advocated as useful means to this end. But now, in a generation of material and intellectual expan- sion, three other powerful elements appeared the new science, the new education, and the new society. They took hold vigorously at just that moment; their influence, changing somewhat with changing times, still persists. Later in this study the factors of agriculture, science, education, and society will be considered as they relate to the situation in the

20 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

Land-Grant Colleges to-day. It is now sufficient to speak briefly of their appearance during the twenty years which preceded the outbreak of the Civil War.

In the history of the world's intellectual activity and material progress the period between 1840 and 1860 has an important place. There was an absorb- ing interest in steam transportation; railroads and ocean steamships became practicable ; iron-working, dyeing, and many other arts were revolutionized by chemistry; commercial fertilizers came into use, and the electric telegraph was invented. Popular works on science were widely read and prepared the pub- lic to expect great benefits from its application. Liebig's "Organic Chemistry Applied to Agriculture and Physiology" appeared at the very beginning of this period, and his "Letters on Chemistry" aroused high hopes. Science was spanning time and dis- tance. The horizon of men was widening, their imaginations were quickened, and with this quicken- ing they questioned whether the old education could cope with new needs. Science, they felt, would have to be substituted for much of the Latin and Greek of the existing regime; but exactly what the scien- tific discipline was to be and what were to be its institutions were matters upon which educational leaders differed widely.

There had been schools for instruction in agri- cultural and industrial arts for fifty years. But it would be unsound to consider them as precursors of the colleges. For they were secondary trade

IN THE UNITED STATES 21

schools, planted here and there, where agriculture might be advanced by giving rule-of-thumb instruc- tion to a limited number of youngsters who came from farms and were going back again. There was little or no conception of education through them as education is conceived to-day, and certainly none at all as compared with the formal classical dis- cipline of the conventional American school of 1850. They were specialized, vocational agencies, and they were socially narrowing in the sense that they tended to fix the pupil forever in his station. The youngster, in the scheme of things, was to be tem- pered into a better tool for the advancement of the agricultural welfare of the nation. Luckily their influence was slight, but the fact of their existence suggested something finer and their great limitations drew attention to greater needs.

As early as 1835 Doctor Lyman Beecher had declared, "So various are the opinions and habits, and so recent and imperfect is the acquaintance, and so sparse are the settlements of the West, that no homogeneous public sentiment can be formed to legislate immediately into being the requisite insti- tutions. And yet they are all needed immediately in their utmost perfection and power. . . . What will become of the West if her prosperity rushes up to such a majesty, while those great institutions linger which are necessary to form the mind and the conscience and the heart of that vast world?" ^

' Quoted by Turner in "The Frontier in American History."

22 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

By 1860 new "requisite institutions" had to be formed; and by that time, the West as a political and social force was powerful enough to give them their democratic character. Education thus and then conceived was no longer to spring from the East, from its tradition of the aristocracy of certain professions law, teaching, the ministry, and medi- cine— and from the loins of older institutions whose curricula and ideals were shaped with reference to these specialized groups. For by hmiting the con- tent of education to subjects intended to prepare men for "high" professions, privileges were con- ferred, a caste became established in government and social life, and other young men and women outside the caste were handicapped in the struggle for official and social preferment. That regime would no longer suffice. The democratic ideal, furthermore, demanded that the gates of learning be opened to greater numbers, throughout the whole country, and at a lower cost. "All was motion and change, restlessness was universal. Men moved in their single life, from Vermont to New York, from New York to Ohio, from Ohio to Wisconsin, from Wisconsin to California, and longed for the Hawaiian Islands. They were conscious of the mobility of their society and gloried in it. They broke with the Past and thought to create something finer, more fitting for humanity, more beneficial for the average man than the world had ever seen." * ® Turner, op. cit.

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In 1857, in these times of expansion and of con- fusion, Justin Morrill, then a member of the House of Representatives, first introduced his bill for the establishment of agricultural and mechanical col- leges. It passed both Houses in due course, but was vetoed by President Buchanan. The Southern members in both bodies were a strong minority, and their constitutional objections to Federal aid carried great weight with the President. Late in 1861, with a new executive in office, and with all the stubborn Southern members absent at war, Morrill intro- duced his bill again. By the next June it had passed both Houses, and early in July it became law.

Like all other great national figures, Senator Mor- rill has had his extreme critics and admirers. Those who speak of his work as "a service which deserves to be ranked, and which future historians will rank, with those of Hamilton in advocating the Constitu- tion, of Jefferson in acquiring Louisiana, and of Clay in giving us a truly American policy," " will do weU to remember that the man they eulogize was no innovating genius. The Land-Grant Colleges did not spring, like Athene, full-armed from the brain of Zeus: they grew out of experience. A thorough study of European agricultural teaching and re- search made by a government agent had been twice reprinted with the authorization of Congress. One higher state agricultural institution was authorized

" "Justin Smith Morrill," by W. B. Parker, 1924, p. 259. Quot- ing Andrew D. White.

24 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

before the Morrill bill was introduced; three in aU had actually been opened before the bill was passed. But if the Senator was no genius, he was likewise no mere politician. And one must equally strongly dissent from the view that "Senator Morrill him- self knew very little of education," that "his wish was 'to do something for the farmer' " and that "his bill took this form, not from any sound educational reason, but as being one of the most likely means by which something could be done for the farmers as a makeweight to the things done for other groups in the body politic." "' Here is not the place to appraise Morrill's knowledge of education: his claims are aU considered in his Life. It is enough to say that his library was large and well read; his correspondence with Oilman of Johns Hopkins, White of Cornell, and Buckham of Vermont shows complete fellowship with the company of scholars; and his refusal to serve upon the Board of Trustees of Norwich University on the ground that the Uni- versity was sacrificing its reputation for scholarship by granting honorary degrees without sufficient dis- crimination, gives evidence of standards and courage which might well be wept for to-day. Nor was he a poUtician in the critical sense of the word. "It took five years to make the bill a law, but he never slackened his efforts until he had brought it to pass. There is nothing casual or contingent visible here;

*" "Federal Aid for Vocational Education" (1917), Carnegie Foundation Bulletin No. 10 (p. v).

IN THE UNITED STATES 25

no appeal to party convenience, no aim to catch a passing breeze of politics." Senator Morrill may have builded better than he knew; but the success of his enterprise can hardly be cited as proof of his superficiality. Nor can the suggestion of political opportunism be justly brought against a public man who began in 1857 to labor for the betterment of democratic education in his own country, and might be found in 1890 still laboring successfully to the same end.

2.

1862-1887 The literature is filled with controversy about the intentions of the Congress of 1862. A few matters, however, are clear: (1) arrangement of the cur- riculum was left by the Federal Government to the several states, thus preserving their independence in a question of education; (2) the states were expected, as time went on, to furnish the greater share of the necessary funds; (3) "liberal and prac- tical education" was to be promoted through "such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts," and that "without excluding other scientific and classical studies"; (4) none of the proceeds from the sales of lands were to be spent on buildings. In view of the confusion which existed among educational leaders when the Act was passed, and in view, moreover, of the constitu- tional impossibility of imposing educational direc-

26 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

tions from Washington, the provisions of the Act seem to be wise, broad and flexible, capable of meet- ing local requirements and changing needs.

Even if it were possible to discover more definitely what the Congress of 1862 had in mind, it by no means follows that those intentions should prevail to-day. Dartmouth College is not now dedicated to "the Christian education of Indian youth," the origi- nal endowment of Williams CoUege can scarcely be said to be used these days for the support and main- tenance of a "Free School in Williamstown" ; and the students of William and Mary might be sur- prised to learn that their institution was established as a "seminary of ministers of the gospel, that the youth may be piously educated in good letters and manners, and that the Christian faith may be prop- agated among the Western Indians, to the Glory of Almighty God." Far too much time has been spent in attempts to penetrate the mind of Congress in 1862. It seems clear that under the broad and rather ambiguous statute the work of the colleges should proceed not from the intentions of sixty-seven years ago, but from the needs of to-day and of to-morrow. And these, in turn, wiU be discussed in an appropriate place.

The twenty-five years between 1862 and 1887 were barren enough. The lands granted by Congress were, for the most part, sold in a poor market. Many of the states reahzed less than a dollar an acre from their allotments, and in some cases, the income

IN THE UNITED STATES 27

from sales price was not sufiScient to maintain even one department of a college properly. On the other hand, one must admit that the career of the new institutions was probably not retarded in any impor- tant way for lack of funds during the first twenty- five years. For their chief difiSculties neither could be nor can be met by money. The colleges "had to create a body of knowledge, give it pedagogic form, and train their own professors." In other words, they had to cut their own road through the educational tangle, and pave it. They felt also, and most acutely, that they were called upon to perform the almost impossible double task of winning the support of practical farmers and securing the sym- pathy of hostile educators of the old school. Indeed it was even worse than that. They were continually on the defensive against criticism. The most candid of them saw that they were excusing their failure to produce practical results by asserting an interest in fundamentals; and that in the same breath they were defending themselves against the loftiness of the "educator" by claiming to serve the public need of the moment. It may be inferred from the rather testy self-consciousness of the men in the Land- Grant Colleges as it appears in conference records and correspondence of the period, that they were so everlastingly occupied in maintaining their self- respect that there was little time left to think about their task and get ahead with it. Now and then a voice made itself heard in the

28 AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION

wilderness. There was Doctor S. W. Johnson, who had worked as a student with Erdmann in Leipzig and Liebig in Munich. He had visited the labora- tories of Heintz in Halle, Jacoby in Magdeburg, and Rose in Berlin. He had inspected Hohenheim, the agricultural school of Wiirttemburg, and the experi- ment station at Moeckern. And he had returned to the Yale Scientific School as assistant professor of chemistry. In 1854, from a desk in Liebig's