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The University of Missouri was created on 11 February 1839 by the Missouri General Assembly, the first state University established in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. The Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, a division of the University of Missouri, was formally opened on 23 November 1871. Founded under the provisions of the Land Grant Act of 1862, commonly known as the Morrill Act, the School is obligated to offer Military Science in its curriculum.
Representative Justin S. Morrill of Vermont, the sponsor of the Land Grant Act, showed great vision and foresight, evidenced by the following extract from his speech before Congress introducing his bill:
…..Something of military instruction has been incorporated in the bill, in consequence of the new conviction of its necessity, forced upon the attention of the loyal States by the history of the past year. A total unpreparedness presents too many temptations even to a foe otherwise weak. The national school at West Point may suffice for the regular army in ordinary years of peace, but it is wholly inadequate when a large army is to be suddenly put into service. If we ever expect to reduce the army to its old dimensions and again rely upon the volunteer system for defense, each State must have the means within itself to organize and officer its own forces. With such a system as that here offered--nurseries in every State--an efficient force would at all times be ready to support the cause of the nation, and secure that wholesome respect which belongs to a people whose power is always equal to its pretensions…..
The Morrill Act was passed and instruction in Military Science was required by the following statement contained within the Act:
…..to the endowment, support and maintenance of at least one college, where the leading object shall be, without excluding other scientific and classical studies, and including military tactics, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts…..
Thus it was, that when the School of Mines and Metallurgy opened its doors, military instruction was soon established. The first military training unit on the School campus was organized in January 1873.
Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy
Higher Education | Military History
Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, "A History of the Department of Military Science at the University of Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy" (1964). History of the Military Science department, MSM. 1.