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When he became superintendent of West Point in 1817, Col. Sylvanus Thayer set out turn the Army academy into a well-respected institution. Prior to his tenure, the school consisted of roughly 10 or so students taught by three professors. In order to change that, Thayer implemented a rigorous curriculum and regimented living standards for West Point cadets. But this decision backfired on Dec. 24, 1826.

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