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First College in America

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 9 months ago

 The First College in America—Almost

 

 

The Virginia colony was the first to charter a college at Henrico, Virginia, in 1619, nineteen years before Harvard and seventy-four years before the College of William and Mary. Like all the colonial colleges, Henricus College was to be designed around the precepts of the Christian faith, “for the training and bringing up of infidels’ children to the true knowledge of God and understanding of righteousness.”1 The college never succeeded, and no further attempts were made to establish a college in Virginia until 1695, when Rev. James Blair, the representative of the Church of England in Virginia, and his superior, the Bishop of London, were granted a charter by King William and Queen Mary. Like all the New England colonial colleges, William and Mary was designed to further the gospel of Christ in all disciplines. The founders of these early educational institutions understood the relationship between a sound education based upon biblical absolutes and the future of the nation. Putting the Bible in the hands of the people was an essential step toward religious and political freedom. “From the very beginnings, the expressed purpose of colonial education had been to preserve society against barbarism, and, so far as possible, against sin. The inculcation of a saving truth was primarily the responsibility of the churches, but schools were necessary to protect the written means of revelation.”2

 

1 "Funds for a College at Henrico, Virginia (1619)," in Sol Cohen, ed., Education in the United States: A Documentary History, 5 vols. (New York: Random House, 1974), 1:336.

2 Henry F. May, The Enlightenment in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 32-33.

 

American Vision P.O. Box 220, Powder Springs, GA 30127, 800-628-9460, www.americanvision.org . History Unwrapped by Gary DeMar

 

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