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Morrill Act (Morrill Land Grant College Act), Passed July 2, 1862

Morrill Act (Morrill Land Grant College Act), Passed July 2, 1862

Originally introduced in December of 1857 by Representative Justin Morrill of Vermont, the Morrill Act granted to each state 30,000 acres of public land for each of its senators and representatives in Congress. Proceeds from the sale of the land were to be used to “provide colleges for the benefit of agriculture and the mechanic arts” and led to the establishment of many of today’s state colleges and universities. The act added a public component to an education system that was once the exclusive domain of religious and private schools.

General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives and Records Administration