Creating Land-Grant Colleges
Representative Justin S. Morrill of Vermont, a farmer and son of a blacksmith, championed federal aid for states to create agricultural and technical colleges. Proceeds from sales of federal land granted to states would fund schools to train young farmers in modern agricultural techniques, bolstering the economic future of the nation. Southern and western states opposed the act, denouncing it as a federal incursion into states’ authority that gave advantages to more populous eastern states. Vetoed in 1859, the Morrill Land-Grant Act was reintroduced and passed in 1862.