America's sprawling system of colleges and universities has been built on the ruins of war. After the American Revolution the cash-strapped central government sold land grants to raise revenue and build colleges and schools in newly conquered lands. During the Civil War, the federal government built on this earlier precedent when it passed the 1862 Morrill Land-Grant College Act, which created the nation's system of publicly supported land-grant colleges. And during Reconstruction, the Freedmen's Bureau, operating under the auspices of the War Department, aided former slaves in creating thousands of schools to help protect their hard-fought freedoms. Not only do “wars make states,” as sociologist Charles Tilly claimed, but wars have also shaped the politics of knowledge in the modern university in powerful and lasting ways.