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Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act

From Academic Kids

The Morrill Land-Grant Acts are pieces of US legislation which allowed for the creation of land-grant colleges, which would be funded by the grant of federally-controlled land to each of the states which had stayed with the United States during the American Civil War.

The Morrill Act was first proposed by Representative Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont in 1857 and was passed by Congress in 1859, but it was vetoed by President James Buchanan. In 1861 Morrill resubmitted the act with the amendment that the proposed institutions would teach military tactics as well as engineering and agriculture. This reconfigured Morrill Act was signed into law by President Lincoln on July 2, 1862.

Under the act, each eligible state received a total of 30,000 acres (121 km²) of federal land, either within or contiguous to its boundaries, for each member of congress the state had as of the census of 1860. This land, or the proceeds from its sale, was to be used toward establishing and funding the educational institutions described above.

A second Morrill Act followed in 1890 aiming to include the former Confederate states in the program. This act also required each state to show that race was not an admissions criterion, or else to designate a separate land-grant institution for persons of color. Among the seventy colleges and universities which eventually evolved from the Morrill Acts are several of today's historically black colleges.

See also: National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, Hatch Act of 1887, Smith Lever Act of 1914, US Department of Agriculture, USDA Cooperative State Research Servicepl:Morrill Act

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