14 History of Wake Forest College
turbulence detailed by Dr. Battle may be thought a wonder. It can be
explained only by the unrelenting firmness of the discipline. Early in
his career as head of the institution the students learned that they
could not intimidate him. For thoughtless and disgraceful conduct,
all members of the class of 1811 with one exception were sent home
without their diplomas. "To many students, it is probable that he
appeared rather the uncompromising President than the amiable
man."17 He taught those under his charge to respect religion and
morals, and to have high ideals of right and duty. Under such
discipline the University grew both in numbers of students and
friends and in reputation. The number of graduates had reached a
total of 513 in 1834, while the total enrollment was twice as great.
Among the alumni were scores of men who became noted for their
service and character.
An important consideration in regard to the alumni of the Uni-
versity is that, as I have said above, they belonged for the most part
to the wealthier and more influential families. The first Board of
Trustees was appointed when the Federalists were in control of our
State government, and being a self-perpetuating body, the Board
kept the control of the University anti-Republican. The first
Presiding Professor, David Ker, who was "a violent Republican,"
that is, a follower of Jefferson, was demoted after one year, and after
that Federalists were kept in charge. Harris, Ker's successor, was a
Federalist; so was President Caldwell. Though no charge of
unfairness or partiality could justly be brought against either of these
men, their incumbency of the office did serve in no little degree to
give currency to the belief that Federalist ideals were regnant at the
Thus the reader of Battle's volume finds reasons sufficient why
the University was regarded in its first half century as the institution
of a class or classes and not of the entire population, and why it was
lacking in popularity in a commonwealth in which the
Foote, Sketches of North Carolina, 556 ff.
Battle, History of the University of North Carolina, 114, 141, 143.