Reconstructing the Campus
The Civil War transformed American life. Not only did thousands of men die
on battlefields and millions of slaves become free; cultural institutions reshaped themselves in the
context of the war and its aftermath. The first book to examine the Civil War's immediate and
long-term impact on higher education, Reconstructing the Campus begins by
tracing college communities' responses to the secession crisis and the outbreak of war.
Students made supplies for the armies or left campus to fight. Professors joined the war effort or
struggled to keep colleges open. The Union and Confederacy even took over some campuses for military
use. Then moving beyond 1865, the book explores the war's long-term
effects on colleges. Michael David Cohen argues that the Civil War and the political and social
conditions the war created prompted major reforms, including the establishment of a new federal role
in education. Reminded by the war of the importance of a well-trained military, Congress began
providing resources to colleges that offered military courses and other practical curricula.
Congress also, as part of a general expansion of the federal bureaucracy that accompanied the war,
created the Department of Education to collect and publish data on education. For the first time,
the U.S. government both influenced curricula and monitored institutions.
The war posed special challenges to Southern colleges. Often bereft of
students and sometimes physically damaged, they needed to rebuild. Some took the opportunity to
redesign themselves into the first Southern universities. They also admitted new types of students,
including the poor, women, and, sometimes, formerly enslaved blacks. Thus, while the Civil War did
great harm, it also stimulated growth, helping, especially in the South, to create our modern system
of higher education.
- Derechos de autor:
- 2012 Michael David Cohen
- Book Quality:
- University of Virginia Press
- Date of Addition:
- History, Military, Nonfiction,
- Usage Restrictions:
- This is a copyrighted book.
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