Virginia Military Institute

Virginia Military Institute (VMI), in Lexington, Virginia, is the oldest state-supported military college in the United States. It was founded on November 11, 1839, on the site of Lexington state arsenal, when the first corps of cadets relieved the personnel on duty at the facility. This entry will provide a brief overview of the institution’s history and its contribution to the education and development of important U.S. leaders, both political and military. In addition, it will highlight some of the significant changes that have occurred in the institution over the course of the past 20 years.

Early History

In the years between its founding and the outbreak of the American Civil War, Virginia Military Institute quickly achieved a reputation as a first-rate learning institution. The first class, ...

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