Michael F. Adams is president of the University of Georgia. This is a piece that he wrote about the Morrill Act
By Michael F. Adams
At the end of William Faulkner’s novel “Absalom, Absalom!,” Quentin Compson, scion of that once-great but now declining Mississippi family, a student at Harvard, is asked by his Canadian roommate, Shreve McCannon, “Why do you hate the South?”
“I don’t hate it,” he replies quickly. “I don’t hate it.” He repeats the mantra several times in his mind, as if trying to convince himself of its truth. The fact that Compson’s family had to send him north for a good education lies at the heart of the Morrill Act’s impact on Southern higher education and the South itself.
Prior to the Civil War the South was functionally non-industrial, rich in raw materials but utterly dependent on the northern states for production. It was an educational backwater, with a number of state universities established but operating with very low