On this day in history, July 4, 1802, the U.S. Military Academy opens at West Point

The West Point Military Academy educates Army leaders.  U.S. Military Academy opened in West Point, New York, on July 4, 1802.   

The Britannica claims 1,200 annual cadet admissions. West Point announced at the end of June that the Class of 2028 will contain 1,230 U.S. citizens and 16 overseas students.   

General Henry Knox proposed an American military school in 1776. General George Washington and Alexander Hamilton promptly backed it, according Britannica.   

The Revolutionary War showed the need of training American youth as commanders. West Point says Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson clashed with Washington and Hamilton regarding an Army officer training school.   

Before becoming president, Jefferson didn't see the need for defense against invasion. Britannica says he signed the U.S. Military Academy Act on March 16, 1802.   

The Corps of Engineers school admitted five officers and 10 cadets.  Britannica says West Point began as a military engineer apprenticeship school.  Students exercised and studied to become engineers.   

West Point asserts that Washington considered it the most important center of the American Revolution, and troops have lived there since 1778.   

The site describes a challenging 37-major program that balances arts and sciences. All cadets get a Bachelor of Science, suitable for Army commissioned officers' intellectual needs."  

And "Duty, Honor, Country" is "a striking expression of West Point's time-honored ideals," says West Point. The school says, "A favorite expression at West Point is that ‘much of the history we teach was made by people we taught.’"  

The military institution graduated almost 60,000 persons, including Grant, Lee, Pershing, MacArthur, Eisenhower, Patton, Westmoreland, and Schwarzkopf. Many entered medical, law, commerce, politics, and science after the service."  

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