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seems to me that the burden of proof is very distinctly upon the person who takes the ground that "Mechanic Arts" means something along the trade school line.



I wish to discuss this subject briefly under four heads: 1, Custom; 2, The Law; 3, Early Definitions; 4, Mistakes.

1. Custom.

Custom often furnishes the meaning of a word or term. In this case, immediately after the passage of the Morrill act in 1862, plans were laid for giving the highest grade of instruction along the lines of mechanic arts under the provision of the new law, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Cornell University, and doubtless at numerous other institutions. Under the direction of General Francis Walker and President Andrew D. White, the custom was established immediately of interpreting the law to provide for, not trade school or other low grade work, but for instruction of the highest character that could be given. These great institutions were developed year after year along these lines, and always under the authority of the Morrill law.

That the same custom was general is shown by an official report upon technological instruction in the land grant colleges, by Welford Addis (page 1189 of report of the United States Commissioner of Education for the year 1894-95.) This report, which is written by a specialist of the United States Bureau of Education, evidently follows a thorough study of the subject. The author states (page 1194) that "these schools have never been anything but schools of agricultural and mechanical engineering. The trade school of Europe-the school for the common people, the caste school, the school for the 'industrial classes,'-has no or next to no following in America." And again (on the same page): "The first want felt in the establishment of this class of schools was the education of men of science to man them, but the first purpose for which they were established was the instruction of able, educated, trustworthy technologists, such as well-informed engineers, architects, mechanicians, manufacturers, miners, agriculturists, and the like for which the country was at that time loudly calling. * * It was safe to say that at the date of 1871 in all the institutions enjoying the benefit of the act of 1862, the second or technological need was being met * * * there was one or more in which the presence of a post-graduate course indicated a desire to supply men of science."


As opposed to this great array of precedents and custom in the interpretation of the term mechanic arts, we do not find precedent or custom of importance.

2. The Law.

The law might have been more clear, but it is rather difficult to say in what way. It is a well known axiom that too many details should not be clearly set forth in a law which relates to a new and rapid developing problem. It should be noticed that the law provides for "colleges," not for. institutions of lower grade. In those days the term college meant an institution of highest learning. It is only recently that some such institutions—as, for example, Harvard-have 'changed their name from college to university.

Section 4 definitely provides for one college where the leading

object shall be to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, etc. This is to promote "liberal" education in the "professions" in life. The same act definitely states that it is not intended to exclude other scientific and classical studies. The inference is, then, that both agriculture and mechanic arts are to be regarded as either scientific or classical. Section 5 calls for an annual report recording "improvements and experiments" and "industrial and economic statistics." Such requirements do not accompany work exclusively of a trade school or handicraft grade.

But while the law of 1862 may be said to be somewhat indefinite in its specifications and requirements, there can be no doubt that the interpretation of that law and its fulfillment were both well known to the public generally and especially to members of Congress. In 1890 the benefits of this law were so well known and so highly approved that Congress enacted another law, amending it and providing for "the more complete endowment and support of the colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts," etc. This was the highest endorsement that Congress could give to the character of work being conducted under the original act of 1862. It indicated in no uncertain way that high class instruction was desired and it was the purpose to more liberally support this kind of instruction. There are numerous passages in the Morrill act of 1890 which indicate that the institutions were expected to carry on advanced work. Again, in 1907, Congress enacted the Nelson amendment, "for the more complete endowment and maintenance of agricultural colleges now established in accordance with the act of 1862." This amendment distinctly states that it refers to agricultural colleges as defined in the act of 1862, which, of course, includes mechanic arts on an equality with agriculture.

In 1883 for some reason it was found necessary to amend the Morrill act and an important change was made in section 4. It is to be noted, however, that the part of the section referring to the institutions as colleges and including the terms "scientific and classical studies" and "liberal and practical education," and "pursuits and professions in life" remains unchanged. Is it not clear that in 1883 Congress was well satisfied with the character of instruction being given throughout the country? At that time some of these land grant institutions were doing notable work of the highest grade under the provisions of the Morrill act, and most of the institutions were doing advanced work of highly creditable nature.

Under provisions of the law certain rulings and instructions may be issued by Federal authorities from time to time in connection with enforcement of the law. Under this authority the commissioner of education has called attention to the fact that instruction in mechanic arts may be reported under the following classification of subjects, namely:

Mechanical engineering,
Civil engineering,

Electrical engineering,

Irrigation engineering,
Mining engineering,

Machine design,
Mechanical drawing,

Marine engineering,

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It not infrequently happens that the meaning of a word or expres

sion slowly changes as time passes. We find this to be the case both with the term mechanic arts and the word engineering. By consulting the dictionaries which were in use 50 or 60 years ago, there is found abundant reason for the use by Senator Morrill of the term "mechanic arts" and the omission of the term "engineering" or "engineer," if he really intended that these institutions should for all time represent the highest and best and be the actual leaders in the development of what is now known as engineering problems.

Worcester's Dictionary of 1855 states that an engineer is one who constructs or manages engines or cannons. A civil engineer is one who constructs canals, docks, railroads, etc. This dictionary dated 1860, under engineer refers to (1) military engineer; (2) maker of engines; (3) one who manages a steam engine. In a note it is said that a civil engineer is one who constructs canals, railroads, docks, harbors, etc.

Webster's dictionary of 1862, under engineer and after defining military engineer, states that engineers are also employed in delineating plans and superintending construction of other public works, as aqueducts and canals; the latter being called civil engineers.

Worcester's dictionary of 1855, 1860 and 1866, under "art" refers to the fine arts and the useful or mechanical arts.

Webster's dictionary of 1862, under art, states that the ancients divided the arts into the liberal arts * * * and the servile arts, which comprise the mechanic arts and were practiced by slaves. The moderns divide the arts into the fine arts and the useful or mechanical arts; those arts in which the hands are more concerned than the mind are called trades.

Apparently Senator Morrill did not intend his act to be limited to arts which concerned the hands more than the mind, as he did not use the word trades.

The Encyclopedia Brittanica, dated 1857, states that mechanics, applicate or applied, is a term which, strictly speaking, includes all applications of the principles of abstract mechanics to human art. The article continues "thus have theory and practice in all ages promoted each other's advance; and the greatest obstacle to the advancement of both has always been a popular and scholastic fallacy that they are inconsistent. Happily that fallacy is now disappearing and its occurrence in the writings of any author may be considered as a mark either of ignorance or of the inconsiderate use of words."

The Encyclopedia Brittanica, 1797, states that engineer means strictly a military expert.

More definitions which were available to members of Congress when the Morrill act was passed might be included and to further emphasize that in those days it was right to use the word "mechanic arts" to provide for such work as would now be covered by the term "engineering."

4. Mistakes.

In the discussion of the meaning of the Morrill act some serious mistakes have been made.

a. It is said that mechanic arts was intended to mean agricultural mechanics. There is nothing to justify such an interpretation. The law refers to “agriculture and the mechanic arts," indicating two separate subjects and putting them on the same footing.

b. Some persons consider that the reference to industrial classes in the law would indicate that instruction to be given under this law should be of a popular or inferior nature. Such an interpretation is positively repugnant to American ideals. When this law was

passed a higher education was a costly matter and therefore was available only to those who had means. The framers of the law intended to put higher education within the reach of the great industrial classes. These new institutions were to receive support from the government. The justification for this support was in the fact that persons of small means might benefit from the instruction.

c. Some assume that mechanic arts instruction might be of low grade while agricultural instruction could be of high grade. When this assumption is granted there will be abundant reason for the further claim that agricultural instruction also should be of low grade. This is one reason why agricultural teachers are interested in the interpretation of the term machanic arts.

d. It has been said that agricultural and engineering instruction cannot prosper in the same institution. It has been pointed out in support of this idea that some years ago the engineering courses attracted students and agricultural courses did not. It was said that engineering took students away from agriculture. The truth is that students were entering courses which seemed to offer the best future. In those years engineering enterprises were rapidly developing and engineering courses attracted students who otherwise might have gone into agriculture, liberal arts or theology or any other line which was considered less inviting. It is well known that today the agricultural departments are drawing students in larger number than engineering departments, and the reason is not that agriculture is drawing students from engineering but that the people have come to realize that there are exceptional openings in agriculture as well as in other lines and we are now coming to the proper adjustment in student enrollment between the various lines of instruction.

e. Some say that engineering of high grade should be taught only in a university where the students may enjoy culture and such surroundings are far preferable to the influence of an agricultural institution. It is a dangerous thing to say that engineers are in any more need of culture than agricultural students. And if weight is to be given to the argument that either of these lines must be taught together with classical subjects, the argument would apply to one as much as to the other.

f. It has been overlooked by many persons that agriculture and mechanic arts or engineering naturally belong together. The development of agriculture is largely along engineering lines. The removal of engineering work from an institution where high grade agricultural instruction is given would be a severe blow to agriculture.

CHAIRMAN DEMAREST.-We have two further papers discussing this subject, after which we hope to have time for informal discussion. The next formal discussion is by President W. J. Kerr, of Oregon. (President Kerr not present.)

DEAN MARSTON, Secretary.-In the absence of President Kerr I would like to read into the proceedings a resume which he prepared for the Association of American Agricultural Colleges in 1910.



(Read at twenty-fourth annual meeting of the Association of American Agricultural Colleges, Washington, D. C., November 16-18, 1910.) I. The land grant institutions have not emphasized engineering to the neglect of agriculture.

II. The tendency in the separate colleges has not been to make agriculture subordinate to engineering. The purpose in the establishment of these institutions was not to promote agricultural education alone, but to provide a liberal and practical education for the "industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions of life."

III. The agricultural and mechanical colleges have exercised a potent influence for the improvement of conditions in the open country. More than any other agency they have emphasized the advantages of country life. There is no foundation for the statement that their influence tends cityward.

IV. These institutions have not depleted the high schools or demoralized education, but, on the contrary, their establishment and development have tended to modify educational policies and to enrich educational work, adapting it to the requirements of all the people. They have increased their entrance requirements and advanced the standard of scholarship as rapidly as conditions in the several states would warrant.

V. In shaping their policies, establishing their standards, and developing their courses, they have been actuated by no unworthy motives, but have been governed by local conditions, adapting their work to the needs of their constituencies.

VI. There is general agreement among the land grant colleges as to their mission and place in education. They constitute, and are recognized as, a part of the public school system in the several states, maintaining proper relations to the elementary and high schools, and to other institutions of higher learning. (1) They were established as a revolt from the old type college. The purpose was to provide a new type of institution, occupying a distinctive field as schools of applied science. (2) They were to be colleges and not trade schools. (3) Their work should not be confined to agriculture alone, but should cover the broad field of technical education. (4) They should provide an education that should be liberal as well as practical, training not only for industrial efficiency, but for the truest type of manhood and womanhood, the highest standard of citizenship.

VII. Agriculture and other similar subjects in the elementary and high schools should not be "purely pedagogic," but should have the greatest possible vocational or utility value. The old education was for the few-the church, the government, the aristocracy. The new education, represented by the land grant colleges, is for the masses. These institutions stand for equality of educational opportunityfor a union of learning and labor, the application of science in industry. In the great movement for education adaptable to life need, the agricultural and mechanical colleges occupy a position of leadership. There is no other field in which they can be of greater service at the present time than in redirecting the public school work, improving rural school conditions, and in promoting industrial education in all grades. Indeed, the ideal of these institutions will not have been realized until there shall be guaranteed to all the people, whatever their vocations, absolute equality of opportunity in every grade of school work.

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