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ERIC Number: ED540338
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 356
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2672-1582-6
Farmers, Scientists, and Officers of Industry: The Formation and Reformation of Land-Grant Colleges in the Northeastern United States, 1862-1906
Sorber, Nathan M.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The Pennsylvania State University
This dissertation examines the formation, reformation, and standardization of land-grant colleges in the Northeastern United States during the last four decades of the nineteenth century. It is a history that explores the turbulent origins of land-grant colleges in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. A coalition of gentlemen farmers from state agricultural societies, scientists trained in German universities, and economically-minded statesman led the region's land-grant movement in the 1860s and 1870s. Men like Daniel Coit Gilman, Evan Pugh, Samuel Johnson, Andrew Dickson White, and Justin Morrill were intent on building institutions that could nurture scientific study and advance agricultural, industrial, and national development. These educational reformers wanted colleges with advanced curricula and stiff admissions standards, which would graduate leaders for a new economy in science, engineering, and business. The rise of state granges in the 1880s organized farmers against this "National Schools of Science" model. Farmers held a proprietary attitude towards land-grant colleges, due to the legislation's commitment to agriculture and the industrial classes, and demanded vocational curricula, required labor, and broad access. Grange leaders insisted that land-grant colleges abandon advanced science and liberal arts courses in favor of an agricultural curriculum and practical farm training to become true "Peoples' Colleges." It was hoped that such vocational programs would curb the rapid outmigration of rural youth to urban, middle class jobs occurring in the latter half of the nineteenth century, by returning college graduates home to the farm. By the 1890s, farmers succeeded in reforming the region's higher education landscape by seizing land-grant funds from Brown, Dartmouth, and Yale and founding new colleges that would in time become the University of Connecticut,the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Rhode Island. The grange only briefly implemented their practical education model at these new institutions, coming into competition with the vocational programs of an emerging public high school sector. To remain viable and increase enrollments, the institutions of the land-grant reformation minimized their agricultural curricula and were refashioned as "state colleges." With enhanced academic standards, a burgeoning campus life, and no required labor, these new state colleges abandoned the old mantra of producing farmers, and embraced a new role as gatekeepers of social mobility into the middle class. The land-grant colleges maintained their historic commitment to the agricultural classes through agricultural extension, short courses, and rural community outreach. Cornell University became a national leader of this emerging land-grant college standard: rigorous academics, liberal curricula, and extension and outreach to farmers and agricultural communities. This history reveals that the guiding principles of land-grant colleges were formed through contentious inter-class dialogue between farmers, scientists, and bourgeois reformers. Industrialization and the rise of modern capitalism produced economic classes with conflicting educational visions and curricular demands, and the process of creating and controlling land-grant colleges is best conceived as a contest to protect or elevate the status, power, and economic privileges of different classes. The sources of the tension were opposing beliefs of the proper progression of America capitalism and land-grant colleges' relationship to that development. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Connecticut; Maine; Massachusetts; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; Vermont