By Patrick A. Lewis
150 years ago this month, the Kentucky General Assembly passed legislation establishing the University of Kentucky. The Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky was founded under the Morrill Land-Grant Act passed by Congress in 1862. Two institutions merged to create the school, Transylvania University in Lexington and Kentucky University in Harrodsburg.
The Civil War had lasting impacts on countless aspects of American history and culture. Education was no exception. While the war brought hardship to many Kentucky schools — closing countless rural common schools because of instability and violence, devastating the local tax bases which supported education, and bringing sick and wounded soldiers into the classrooms and dormitories of the state’s colleges — the war also ushered in this new era of state-supported higher education.
This CWG-K document is a draft of Governor Bramlette’s authorization of the new college, which would become the University of Kentucky.