West Point in the Making of America

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The Plain at West Point


West Point in the Making of America, 1802–1918

In March 2002, the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York, celebrated 200 years of producing leaders for the United States Army—and also for American science, education, engineering, exploration, public works, business, manufacturing, communications, and transportation.

This bicentennial exhibition looks at the lives of selected West Point graduates, some famous, others less well known. All attended the Academy between 1802 and 1918. Families are also part of the story, because they helped sustain army communities. The stories of the officers and their families blend into the U.S. Army’s major functions of 19th- and early 20th-century America: building the nation’s infrastructure of roads, bridges, canals, and railroads; exploring its territories from the Mississippi to the Pacific; and fighting its wars—the role of the West Pointers in engineering, exploration, and war.


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Introduction: the United States Military Academy at West Point




Did You Know?

Did you know that West Point was the first engineering school founded in the United States?




Smithsonian National Museum of American History


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West Point in History Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue Introduction 1802–1860 1861–1870 1866–1914 1914–1918 Epilogue