Individual Training in Our Colleges

By Clarence F. Birdseye | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV CHANGES IN OUR COUNTRY AFTER THE CIVIL WAR

WITH the end of the Civil War came that great growth in national wealth and prosperity which made possible the enormous increase in the number and endowments of our institutions of higher learning. The day of small things in this country passed, and we not only became accustomed to large enterprises, corporations and combinations, but even came to feel that whatever was small was necessarily weak and must be apologized for.

Day of small
things
passed.

The abundant wealth that enlarged and enriched our colleges sent a new class of students to their doors -- the sons of rich men, who do not need to impoverish their parents, or run into debt or ruin their health by outside work and asceticism, that they may acquire a college education that is to set them apart and make their future. This new class have had their fortunes already made for them and their places in life are awaiting them. To them the college course is not a necessary life asset, but a social polish, which possibly they could not otherwise get. They have many of the characteristics of the leisure class of the older countries. President Thwing discusses them in his article in the North American Review of February, 1903, entitled "Should College Students Study?" There are now many in our colleges who get distinct cultural benefits from their course, but without a great amount of study, and for whom there would have been no place in the earlier institutions. From this class and their friends have come many great gifts and endowments, and such men always have been, will be and should be welcomed. Their coming adds new difficulties to the study of the student problem from the student standpoint; but the sons of our rich men should be wisely educated, and only thereby has our University Building Age been made possible.

Son of rich
now in col-
lege.

-104-

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