Beginning of ROTC

ROTC had its beginnings in the early 1800s when civilian colleges began to offer military instruction to students. During the early stages of the Civil War, it became apparent that the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York was not capable of producing the quantity of loyal officers required to lead the massive and poorly trained volunteer forces fighting in this War. To fill the need for a ready pool of military leaders, Congress included a special provision of the Morrill Land Grant Act of 1862. The Act offered to each state tracts of federally controlled land, or money in lieu of land. States were to sell the land, invest the income, and create and maintain colleges with the proceeds. The colleges were to offer training in agriculture, mechanical arts, and military tactics.