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Bill Thayer

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This webpage reproduces a section of
The History of West Point

by
William F. H. Godson

Philadelphia, 1934

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


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Section 1

This site is not affiliated with the US Military Academy.

p5 Acknowledgments

To the United States Military Academy I acknowledge a debt that can never be repaid. My sense of obligation is not limited to undergraduate years. A year as an instructor was one of great happiness and benefit. Still later, fifteen years after graduating, I visited the campus as a graduate student with a thesis to write. There I found renewed inspiration. Like Antaeus of old, whose strength increased every time his foot touched the ground, I found my enthusiasm rekindled and my own strength sufficient for the task in hand.

To the officials of the Military Academy I owe a debt of courtesy. General W. D. Connor, Superintendent, accorded me a personal interview. Colonel E. E. Farman, Librarian, unlocked for me the carefully guarded records. First Lieutenant Clovis E. Byers, Assistant Adjutant, renewed an old friendship and gave me the current official documents I sought.

To my instructors at Temple University my sincere thanks are due. Dean George E. Walk has guided my graduate study with kindness and consideration. With Dr. Q. A. Kuehner, Dr. R. D. Owen and Dr. F. H. Lund, my advisers, I have taken courses and enjoyed acquaintance from year to year. Dr. Kuehner, my major professor, has exposed his own philosophy of education so generously, and contributed so largely to my own, that formal thanks are entirely inadequate.

To my wife, Suzette, goes heartfelt appreciation. She did far more than merely accept the deprivations necessitated by my graduate work. She ministered to me, and to the thesis, in sickness and in health, and has written her contribution invisibly but indelibly between the lines.

Last but not least is my debt to my own pupils in Chestnut Hill Academy and Glen-Nor High School. Student and teacher at the same time, I have needed and received the constant support of the sympathy and interest of my classes. This has been a very real encouragement from day to day.

W. F. H. G., Jr.

p7 Introduction

The problem of this thesis is the writing of a history of West Point for the second fifty years of its existence as a military academy.

The field of investigation is limited to the years 1852‑1902. An excellent history already exists for the first fifty years.

The problem is of general interest in that the history of every educational institution is of interest to educators. West Point is usually considered to have developed certain points of particular excellence and this would make its history of particular interest to an even wider group of readers. Students and general public as well might be interested because West Point is a government institution. The graduates of the United States Military Academy have made contributions in other fields than military life; this would make a study of its development of interest. The timeliness of this study arises from the fact that no such history has been written since 1863. The graduates of West Point have written a great deal, but usually upon special topics. No one since Captain E. C. Boynton's time has attempted the writing of the account which this thesis is intended to present.


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Page updated: 27 Jul 09