The New Student's Reference Work/Military Schools

Mil′itary Schools in the United States were projected as early as 1776, when the Continental Congress resolved to appoint a committee of five to bring in a plan for a military academy. Washington and other statesmen and generals had become convinced of the necessity of an institution for theoretical instruction in military science and art; and it was largely due to Washington that West Point Academy was founded. Its purpose is to train suitable candidates to be officers in the army. Each Congressional district and territory and the District of Columbia are entitled to send one cadet; and ten others are appointed. Candidates are subjected to a rigid physical examination. The academic courses and examination tests are very thorough; and in summer the cadets are encamped and engaged only in military exercises and in receiving military instruction. The cadets are paid $540 each per annum. Their uniform and all articles of their clothing are of a prescribed pattern.  After graduation the cadet who has fulfilled all requirements and has received his diploma is entitled to be appointed to the post of second lieutenant in any corps in which there may be a vacancy that he is judged competent to fill.  If there is no immediate vacancy, he may be appointed an additional second lieutenant.

In addition to the academy at West Point, the United States has four special or postgraduate military schools: the Artillery School of Application at Fort Monroe; the Engineer School at Willet’s Point, New York Harbor; the U. S. Infantry and Cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; and the Fort Riley School Kansas.

It is not only the officers of the American army who are instructed; for since 1878 it has been required that schools shall be established at all posts, garrisons and permanent camps for the purpose of giving instruction in the English branches of education to all soldiers unable to pass a certain examination.  It is felt that each soldier may need reading and writing in the course of his duties; and, especially, that he will be the better citizen on his return to civil life if he has been instructed in these branches.

England has two great military schools: the Royal Military College at Sandhurst for cadets for the cavalry and infantry and the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich for Royal Engineers and Royal Artillery cadets.  None are allowed to compete unless their social position is approved by the commander-in-chief.  The entrance and physical examinations are extremely rigid; and fees are charged.  There are other English practical military schools at Chatham (for engineers), Shoeburyness (for gunners), Camberly (for advanced tactics) and Hythe (for musketry).  In Germany there are ten cadet-schools, an academy at Lichterfelde, near Berlin, and 11 war-schools.  In France there are 23 military schools, including both higher and preparatory schools.  Japan has excellent military schools, which train some of the officers of the Chinese as well as the Japanese army.

The subject of military schools suggests some discussion of military training in the public schools and colleges and in private schools.  In general the private schools in America that introduce military training aim to some extent to prepare students for entrance to the government’s military schools.  But military drill is a feature of the state colleges of the west and south and of colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts, as also of many public-school systems.  According to the U. S. commissioner’s report for 1904 18,709 students engage in military drill in the colleges of agriculture and mechanic arts endowed by the acts of Congress approved on July 2, 1862, and Aug. 30, 1890.  In other colleges there were 15,537 students so engaged.  According to the report of 1903 there were 8,452 students at schools of technology engaged in military drill; but very few students at public high-schools.  The justification for military drill in these centers is duty to the state rather than educational value.  In the public-school systems military drill has lost some ground owing to its educational inadequacies.  It appears to lack interest, effort, spontaneity and sharpness as compared with sports and even with other gymnastic exercises.  The buttoned clothes, the heavy arms and the onesided development involved in military drill are also alleged against its use in the schools, though it is a serviceable agency of discipline.