Ask Who Paid for America’s UniversitiesRoundup
tags: Native American history, Morrill Act, land grant universities
This is how deep it goes. Even an essay calling for a fairer America missed the injustice at the core of the nation’s character.
“From some of its darkest hours, the United States has emerged stronger and more resilient,” the Times editorial board wrote. “Even as Confederate victories in Virginia raised doubts about the future of the Union, Congress and President Abraham Lincoln kept their eyes on the horizon, enacting three landmark laws that shaped the nation’s next chapter.”
Among those laws was the Morrill Act of 1862, which appropriated land to fund agricultural and mechanical colleges — a national constellation of institutions known as land-grant universities. A graduate of Montana State University went on to develop vaccines; researchers at Iowa State bred the key corn variety in our food supply; the first email system was developed at M.I.T. It’s easy to see why The Times looked to the Morrill Act as a blueprint for a more progressive future.
But ask who paid for it, and who’s still paying today.
The Morrill Act was a wealth transfer disguised as a donation. The government took land from Indigenous people that it had paid little or nothing for and turned that land into endowments for fledgling universities.
comments powered by Disqus
- How Jimi Hendrix’s London Years Changed Music
- Presidential Campaigns are Almost Always about the Future. In 2020, the Candidates Cannot Stop Talking about the Past
- Richard and the Revolutionaries: Why did Lefties Love Wagner?
- Trump Alleges ‘Left-Wing Indoctrination’ in Schools, Says He will Create National Commission to Push More ‘Pro-American’ History
- Black Leaders Launch ‘1776 Unites’ High School Curriculum
- 52 Years Ago, Thelonious Monk Played a High School. Now Everyone Can Hear It.
- From MLK to Whistleblowers, the FBI’s Trouble with Dissidents
- If the Electoral College is a Racist Relic, Why has it Endured? (podcast)
- It’s the 100th Anniversary of the Wall Street Bombing
- Ed Bearss, Past Chief Historian Of National Park Service, Dies At 97