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Patriotism on Campus: Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College and the First World War

Bates, Matthew Ray
This study examines the patriotic expressions on the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College (OAMC) campus from 1914 to 1919. This work on OAMC provides insights into the social sentiment of one of Oklahoma�s largest public colleges during the First World War, and the home-front environment many students encountered as cadets and patriotic citizens. Through primary source documents gathered from official college publications along with supportive secondary sources, this study places the OAMC into the larger context of the United Sates home-front throughout World War I (WWI). The work also examines the OAMC campus� wartime sentiment, in relation to United States patriotic wartime mobilization. Ultimately, United States and Oklahoma war mobilization changed the Oklahoma A. & M. campus. Some transformations manifested in institutional programs while others revealed societal shifts concurrent throughout American society. The Reserve Officer Training Corps� establishment in 1916 increased funds toward military preparedness and drill and thus aided the rise in patriotic sentiment promoted on campus. Oklahoma A. & M. collegiate culture favored the state-wide patriotic wartime spirit and revealed minimal dissent toward the state throughout the First World War. The Oklahoma Council of Defense and Choctaw Nation organized groups who contributed toward the war effort, yet divided on the method in how the state implemented wartime measure. This study also revealed the complex conflict between religion and civil liberties during the war, and how these social forces developed on the OAMC campus. The sports and college games organized on campus from 1910 to 1919 cultivated the needed physical training used in military on-campus drills. The First World War altered the military sentiment on Oklahoma A. & M. from 1914-1919 and cultivated a new patriotic spirit originated from the old pre-World War I attitude. Oklahoma A. & M.�s wartime sentiment resembled the state-wide efforts council of defense workers and loyal citizens offered Oklahoma�s war mobilization. The Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical College from 1914-1919 demonstrated its WWI patriotism through mock war-games and student volunteers among a fertile environment for state wartime preparedness.