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The Formation of Elites in the United States: A History of American Universities

The Formation of Elites in the United States: A History of American Universities

Harvard Hall, Cambridge, USA.
Sergey Reporedo. All rights reserved 2024 / Bridgman Pictures

The big story – As illustrated by the forced resignation of Harvard's president, the most prestigious and deeply troubled major American universities have been closely linked to America's identity and values ​​since their founding.

Mistrust is reaching unprecedented levels between the nation's elite and major American universities that train a significant portion of their fellow citizens. Harvard's president — accused of lax anti-Semitic propaganda on his campus after the Hamas attacks and suspected of plagiarism — was forced to resign. The matter is serious because the history of these places studied by the future elites of world powers is the history of the United States since the 17th century.

The nation's first university, Harvard, was founded in 1636, sixteen years after the Mayflower arrived in Plymouth Bay. Education was a priority for the Puritans who founded the Massachusetts colony. These disaffected Protestants wanted to break with official Anglicanism and create a clerical and civil elite educated in their doctrine. The site chosen for the university was, at that time, a considerable distance from Boston, owing to an academic preference.

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