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ation of unproductive property (college grounds, buildings, and apparatus) amounted to $43,565,413, and the total appropriations for higher education by the several Legislatures were $862,580. Had the unproductive funds been freed from taxation there would have been voted for higher education the additional sum of $1,306,962. If the productive funds had been also exempted, this amount would have been increased to the sum of $2,797,583. Compared with the work to be done this seems but a small item of assistance, yet it means the education of some thousands of young men yearly, a constant factor in the encouragement of higher learning.” A careful consideration of this subject will show how universal has been the policy of the several commonwealths in encouraging learning in all its forms, in appreciating the necessity of advanced education, and in supplementing and encouraging private benevolence. There is still another principle involved. The State not only recognizes the absolute necessity of superior education for the moral, social, and political well-being of its subjects, but it acknowledges that private and sectarian schools are performing work that otherwise would legitimately devolve upon the Government. To this common policy there is one exception. The comparatively new State of California, upon the principle that all property ought to be taxed, levies upon the property of institutions of learning. Having established its own university by the aid of the Federal Government, it recognizes no others as necessary to the well-being of the State, but regards them all as private business enterprises and requires them to assist in the support of the Government by direct taxation. It is a remarkable instance of the reversal of a timehonored policy which has taken deep root in the constitution of educational society. I say reversal, because soon after California became a State the Legislative Assembly granted aid to non-State institutions. An historical retrospect of the relation of the State to education may be presented in a few propositions, as follows: (1) in colonial times State, private, and church benevolence worked together; (2) subsequently private and church schools were prominent, still being aided by State appropriations; (3) the gradual cessation of State aid to private and church schools, and the growth of State universities. On the other hand, freedom from taxation continues, with more guarded provisions; the privileges of members of the non-State schools are growing less, until a State on the Pacific coast taxes education and taxes benevolence. We may infer from the foregoing facts that there is a tendency of States, not to do less for higher education, but to do more, and to do it in a methodical way for a particular purpose. There is a wider differ

"In every State except California the unproductive property is freed from taxation

to a greater or less extent, and the productive funds of colleges are exempt in many States.

*In the same year $1,568,433 were received from tuition fees, and from all other sources not named above the sum of $1,739,723. The total number of students in attendance was 67,642.



entiation of State and non-State schools than formerly. There is a wider separation of church and State in matters of education. The old classical school is supported by the church, while there is a growing tendency on the part of the State to build universities for educational and industrial purposes.

The policy of early legislation is about to be realized concerning State institutions. A review of the history of the State universities, particularly of the West and South, for the past ten years will show a progressive tendency. At the present outlook it seems that there will be one well-established State institution or its equivalent in every State, for the promotion of those studies which pertain directly to the political and industrial sides of education. But this does not imply that nonState institutions should not receive assistance, encouragement, and protection. Every class of citizens should receive due representation, and when a very large proportion demand educational institutions constituted after their own manner of thinking, it is not only the privilege of the State to sanction by its laws the creation of such institutions, but its duty to at least see that no injustice is done, and that its attitude is in every respect encouraging. So long as these institutions make for a better citizenship, a higher learning, and a general improvement of the people, it is absolute folly for the State to tax their efforts. It is to “tax the light” and discourage private benevolence. 66 Noth. ing yields so large a return to the tax-payer as this exemption of edu

Mi cational institutions from taxation.

Education is not a money-making business; it is either a benevolence or a public defence. There is not an institution of advanced learning that can pay its way by tuition. There has been a sacrifice by the people at large through the State, or by individuals, or by organizations and associations. Referring to two of the foremost political economists, Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, we find that their doctrines oppose the practice of the taxation of institutions of leårning. Adam Smith's fundamental law of taxation seems to bear directly upon the question, when it declares that “The subjects of every State ought to contribute toward the support of the government as nearly as possible in proportion to their respective abilities, that is, in proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the State.” 2 Who ever heard of an institution of learning enjoying revenues as stock-owners in a railroad company enjoy dividends? Does any one ever hear of educational institutions of higher learning declaring dividends to individuals ? Education is on an entirely different basis. When a college or a university gets money, it buys books, builds libraries, purchases apparatus, employs extra teachers, or erects a new building, that the youth of the country, the best wealth of the State, may be better fitted for the duties of citizenship and for life.

IR. T. Ely: Taxation in American States and Cities, 345.
2 Wealth of Nations, Book V, ch. 2.

Again, Mill says in reference to taxation, that “equal sacrifices ought to be demanded from all.” Is it equality of sacrifice when men, by donating their means to set up a fountain of learning in the desert, are taxed by the State for their offering to benevolence? Turning to a practical example, let us suppose that Mr. A gives $100,000 to build a library in a State university; this amount of money passes out of the range of taxable property and becomes exempt from taxation, which is quite right. The tax which was hitherto raised on this sum must now be raised on other taxable property in the State. On the other hand, Mr. B chooses to give $100,000 to found a library in a non-State institution. If this is taxed by the State, it is evident that Mr. A's and Mr. B's property, devoted to the same cause, disposed of in the same way, and existing in the same form, will be treated in an entirely different manner by the State. Mr. B's benevolence will not only be taxed, but will be taxed at a higher rate than it would if Mr. A's benevolence were taxed. In other words, Mr. B's benevolence is taxed to support Mr. A's benevolence, which is not according to the American meaning of the term, “equality of sacrifice.” Again, it is frequently said that it would be impossible to tax the State university, and to tax it would be the same as if an individual were to pass money from one hand to the other; but this is not generally true. The property of State universities is usually made up of gifts from the National Government and from private individuals, together with accumulations upon various gifts and appropriations by the State. In most cases a large percentage of property came from other sources than from the pockets of the people through taxation. That is, for the State to give an institution one hundred thousand dollars, and then to tax the institution on this sum and two hundred thousand dollars which the State did not give, is not the same as giving money and taking it back again. Nor is it sufficient to say, when the State has established and provided for the support of its own university, that government has done its duty to higher education. To assume this is to assume that the State has provided for the needs of all classes of the people in all of the branches to be learned, and has placed this source within the reach of all, and, having done this, has gone into remote places of the Commonwealth to bid young men to come, showing them the need of education. The State in taking such a stand assumes an imperialism in education which is entirely out of place. That we need centralization in education is evident, but not at the expense of local institutions and nonState schools. Enough can not be said in favor of that local pride which builds a college and invites young men to be educated, young men who would never be educated if left to the repelling influences of a centralized institution several hundred miles from home. Perhaps it is well to close this argument with the words of President

* Principles of Political Economy, p. 485.


Stratton, of Mills College, who pertinently says: “Property held for private use, or for business, or on speculation, when the gain is to inure to the benefit of the holder, should be taxed ; property devoted to the public good, from which the gain inures to the public at large, should not be taxed. * * * Private benevolence should be allowed free scope to expand itself in these directions (i.e., the welfare of the citizen and the existence of the State). * * * That whenever it assumes this charge it should be regarded, as the friend and ally of the State in a peculiar sense, the sharer of its cares and the bearer of its burdens.”


Whatever ideas men may have had of national education, or of national aid for higher education, the precedents of the colonies and States were already established in regard to all of the points considered. Lands had been granted by the several colonies for the maintenance of schools; schools had been supported from the public treasury. But as public sentiment grew in favor of union, there was also the accompanying development of the Federal idea of education. It was observed that education was to be the nation's defence, and as such it was advocated strenuously by the greatest statesmen. The sentiments in favor of distinctly national schools were not, however, sufficiently universal to carry out any well laid plans; and Congress, although encouraging and supporting education, has thrown the chief responsibility upon the several States.

Besides the Military Academy at West Point and the Naval Academy at Annapolis, the Federal Government has managed no schools, although by libraries and museums it has added to the general sum of knowledge. The great plan has been to furnish the various States with means for the education of all within their respective domains, although many statesmen desired a more decided policy on the part of the Federal Government.


After the great struggle of the Revolution was over and the minds of men were relieved from the strain of war, and political turmoil had subsided by the organization of the new government, the fathers of the republic turned instinctively toward the moral, social, and intellectual improvement of the people. Indeed, the foundation of the new government was conditional. It was made dependent upon growing intelligence. The building of the structure whose foundation had been laid could not continue unless supported by ever increasing morality and intelligence.

One can not refer to this period of the nation's history without recognizing the profound and far reaching wisdom of George Washington on all subjects of great moment. In his first message to Congress Washington says: “Nor am I less persuaded that you will agree with

mein opinion that there is nothing more deserving your patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge in every country is the surest basis of public happiness. In one in which the measures of government receive their impressions so immediately from the sense of the community as ours it is proportionally essential.” 1

After reviewing the benefits to be derived from the spread of intelligence he continues, " Whether this desirable object will be best promoted by affording aid to seminaries of learning already established, by the institution of a national university, or by any other expedients, will be well worthy of a place in the deliberations of the legislature.” 2

Before delivering his annual message in 1796, Washington seems to have reached a more definite conclusion on the subject, for he advocates the establishment of a national university as well as a national military academy. He says: “ The assembly to which I address myself is too enlightened not to be fully sensible how much a flourishing state of the arts and sciences contributes to national prosperity and reputation. True it is that our country contains many seminaries of learning highly respectable and useful; but the funds upon which they rest are too narrow to command the ablest professors in the different departments of liberal knowledge for the institution contemplated, though they would be excellent auxiliaries. Among the motives to such an institution the assimilation of principles, opinions, and manners of our countrymen by the common education of a portion of our youth from every quarter well deserves attention; the more homogenous our citizens can be made in these particulars, the greater will be our prospects of permanent union; and a primary object of such a national institution should be the education of our youth in the science of government.”3

And finally, in his Farewell Address, he says: “Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of the government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion be enlightened." 4

These sentiments declared to the law-making body of the people were the expression of long-cherished desires and of deep-seated convictions. Washington's private life and correspondence show how sincerely he endeavored to realize his plans for higher education. He was opposed to sending youth abroad to secure their education, and advocated the establishment of a national university, that the youths coming from different parts of the Republic might be able to turn sectional pride into national feeling. In reference to these two ideas, and the desirability of a national university to counteract evil tendencies, he wrote in his last will and testament the following passage: “Looking anxiously forward to the accomplishment of so desirable an object as this is (in my estimation), my mind has not been able to contemplate any plan more likely to effect the measure than the establishment of a UNI

1 Sparks, XII, 9,

2 Ibid.

3 Sparks, XII, 71.

4 Ibid., 227.

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