Education in Fargo, North Dakota, 1870-1900

The education system in Fargo in the early stages of the city’s development was heavily rooted in, and influenced, by religion. There were educational centers as early as there were churches. In fact, many churches started schools so they could develop their children’s minds in the way they wanted them to be; so the curriculums were filled with references to the Bible and God. The people of Fargo, N.D., wanted their children to become good, God-fearing citizens, who would become productive, active members of society. The first catalogue of classes at North Dakota Agriculture College defined the mission and objective of the college this way: “The object of this institution is not the making of farmers, but rather the making of men and women, and then equip them that, if their inclinations draw them toward the farm, their efforts there may be reasonably expected to be attended by success. It is not the intention, however, to limit or restrict the capabilities of students, and while the curriculum is made sufficiently rigid to enforce the principles on which the work of the institution is founded, abundant scope is given by means of electives for the display of individual preferences and the development of personal abilities,[1]” which means that the board members, the president, and the teachers did not just want to turn out farmers, they wanted to turn out men and women who would have the tools needed to go through life successfully and well.

-Rebecca Paton, Digital History 2012

[1] NDSU Archives, North Dakota Agricultural College, First Annual Catalogue, May 1892.


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