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A Brief History of Norwich University

In 1835, the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy became “Norwich University,” by virtue of an act of incorporation granted by the legislature of Vermont the previous year. Captain Alden Partridge remained at the head of the institution until 1843, and soon after sold the buildings and grounds to the Trustees of the University. There was one feature in the scheme of education established at Norwich University which honorably distinguished it from nearly all other similar institutions of its time in New England. From the first it was wholly free from sectarian influence. This principle was prominently set forth in its charter as drawn by its founder, Captain Partridge, which provided “that no rules, laws or regulations of a sectarian character, either in religion or politics, should be adopted or imposed; nor shall any student ever be questioned or controlled on account of his religious or political belief by the Board of Trustees or the Faculty of said institution, either directly or indirectly. ” In his prospectus of the University, declaring the principles upon which it was founded, Captain Partridge begins as follows: ”Everything of a sectarian character in religion is utterly excluded from its walls. The founders of this Institution, as well as the legislature of Vermont which granted the act of incorporation, believed that there was no natural or necessary connection between the propagation of sectarian dogmas, and education rightly understood. They believed that the great object of education should be to prepare youth in the best possible manner for the correct and efficient discharge of the great duties of life, in any situation in which fortune...

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