History of the colonial colleges

By Aaron Calderon,Semesterz

America is a country renowned for its great educational institutions, and there are so many fantastic colleges here. People from all across the world apply for college in America, such is the quality of the higher education system in the country. There are some colleges that stand head and shoulders above the rest, and these are known as Ivy League Schools.

In fact, these colleges date back to colonial times and were actually formed before the Declaration of Independence. Among the colonial colleges in questions are Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, and Dartmouth. There are a few others as well, but these are the most well-known, and we’re going to look at the history of how they were formed.

Religious domination

[post_ads]In the years before these colleges were formed, there was religious domination throughout the country. Now, religious denominations formed institutes of higher education in order to help train and educate their ministers. They took a leaf out of the book of Oxford University, and Cambridge University in England, as well as some of the Scottish universities as well. These colleges were formed to train ministers, but also, to provide education for anyone of any background, wealthy or poor.

The oldest American University

The title of the oldest university or college in America is one that seems to be fairly subjective these days. There are several institutes throughout history that have claimed the mantle of the oldest college in America. Among these is Harvard, which was founded in 1636, and claims to be America’s oldest college. This is widely accepted as being true, and it does seem to be backed up by facts, although the University of Pennsylvania also claims to be the oldest university in the country.

Founding the colleges

One of the key reasons behind founding colleges in America was the sense of community pride and progress during difficult times. The way it worked back then was that anyone could apply for a college charter and found a college. Of course, the colleges all began very small in the early days, before expanding and growing to become the powerhouses they are today. After Harvard, colleges continued to be formed on a more frequent basis – some collapsed due to financial ruin, others still exist today.



The college curriculums back in those days were rather different than they are today. You couldn’t do a degree in dance therapy or quantum physics back then, as these things didn’t really exist. On the curriculum, there were plenty of subjects that were essential to the times though, including English, science, math, political economy, and languages that began as Greek and Latin but evolved into French and German.

As you can see, the colleges back then were not too dissimilar to what they are like today. Sure, the curriculums were more basic, and the actual colleges were smaller, but it’s clear that the seed that was first planted with Harvard has blossomed into something wonderful. Colleges in the United States rank among the finest in the world, and many of them are centuries old.


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