An Intellectual History of Sophism versus Virtue
Chapter 5: Academia and the Rise of Capitalism in the US
The US in 1860 remained in the early stages of economic development. The largest business corporations were railroads, yet a transcontinental railroad had yet to be built. Petroleum had only recently been turned into a useful resource, and coal and wood were the main fuels. Sailing ships remained the mainstay of oceanic travel, although steamships were common on rivers. The ‘American System’ of interchangeable parts had been established, but not perfected. Few consumer products had national recognition and acceptance. Within a span of 40 years that would all change. Businesses went from being small family-owned firms to large corporations whose stock was traded in financial markets. Academia in the US also displayed a pattern of growth in size and scope. In 1860 colleges, and they were still mainly colleges, were small and served local communities, with about 20 000 students enrolled. By 1900 universities of increased size with graduate and professional schools became more common and enrolment totalled 250 000 students (Burke 1982: 216). This chapter will describe the economic ideas associated with the growth of universities during the post-Civil War era. We will see that universities did not, as Francis Wayland had argued, expand through gaining more tuition from more students by offering more practical courses. Instead they grew with finds provided by public and private patrons, that is, they followed the endowment model. Due to this use of the endowment model academia did not succumb to sophism and expand by selling education to students. Still we will see...
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