The MORRILL LAND-GRANT ACTS are
* 1 Passage of original bill * 2 Land-grant colleges * 3 Expansion * 4 Agricultural experiment stations and cooperative extension service * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 External links
PASSAGE OF ORIGINAL BILL
For 20 years prior to the first introduction of the bill in 1857,
there was a political movement calling for the creation of agriculture
colleges. The movement was led by Professor
Jonathan Baldwin Turner of
Illinois College . For example, the
On February 8, 1853, the
Illinois Legislature adopted a resolution ,
drafted by Turner, calling for the Illinois congressional delegation
to work to enact a land-grant bill to fund a system of industrial
colleges, one in each state. Senator
Unlike the Turner Plan, which provided an equal grant to each state, the Morrill bill allocated land based on the number of senators and representatives each state had in Congress. This was more advantageous to the more populous eastern states.
The Morrill Act was first proposed in 1857, and was passed by
Congress in 1859, but it was vetoed by President
Land-grant university Land-Grant Universities
Morrill Hall, on the campus of the University of Maryland, College
Park (a land-grant university), is named for Senator
Justin Morrill ,
in honor of the act he sponsored.
The purpose of the land-grant colleges was:
without excluding other scientific and classical studies and including military tactic, to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in such manner as the legislatures of the States may respectively prescribe, in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes in the several pursuits and professions in life.
Under the act, each eligible state received a total of 30,000 acres (120 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. Under provision six of the Act, "No State while in a condition of rebellion or insurrection against the government of the United States shall be entitled to the benefit of this act," in reference to the recent secession of several Southern states and the contemporaneously raging American Civil War .
After the war, however, the 1862 Act was extended to the former
Confederate states; it was eventually extended to every state and
territory, including those created after 1862. If the federal land
within a state was insufficient to meet that state's land grant, the
state was issued "scrip" which authorized the state to select federal
lands in other states to fund its institution. For example, New York
carefully selected valuable timber land in
On September 11, 1862, the state of Iowa was the first to accept the terms of the Morrill Act which provided the funding boost needed for the fledgling State Agricultural College and Model Farm (eventually renamed Iowa State University of Science and Technology). The first land-grant institution actually created under the Act was Kansas State University , which was established on February 16, 1863, and opened on September 2, 1863.
Before the Civil War American engineers were mostly educated at West Point. While the Congressional debate associated with the Morrill Act was largely focused on benefits to agriculture, the mechanic arts were specifically included. After the Civil War, as the German University model began to replace the English College, with the encouragement of the Morrill Act the engineering discipline was gradually defined. Because the Morrill Act excluded spending on buildings, engineering specific infrastructure such as textbooks and laboratories were developed. In 1866 there were around 300 American men with engineering degrees and six reputable colleges granting them. By 1911 the United States was graduating 3000 engineers a year, and had a total of 38,000 degreed engineers. The Morrill Act coincided with the establishment of engineering in the American university.
With a few exceptions (including Cornell University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology ), nearly all of the land-grant colleges are public. (Cornell University, while private, administers several state-supported contract colleges that fulfill its public land-grant mission to the state of New York.)
To maintain their status as land-grant colleges, a number of programs are required to be maintained by the college. These include programs in agriculture and engineering , as well as a Reserve Officers\' Training Corps program.
A second Morrill Act in 1890 was also aimed at the former Confederate states . This act 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 and universities . Though the 1890 Act granted cash instead of land, it granted colleges under that act the same legal standing as the 1862 Act colleges; hence the term "land-grant college" properly applies to both groups.
Later on, other colleges such as the University of the District of Columbia and the "1994 land-grant colleges" for Native Americans were also awarded cash by Congress in lieu of land to achieve "land-grant" status.
In imitation of the land-grant colleges ' focus on agricultural and mechanical research, Congress later established programs of sea grant colleges (aquatic research, in 1966), urban grant colleges (urban research, in 1985), space grant colleges (space research, in 1988), and sun grant colleges (sustainable energy research, in 2003).
AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATIONS AND COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE
Starting in 1887, Congress also funded agricultural experiment stations and various categories of agricultural and veterinary research "under direction of" the land-grant universities. Congress later recognized the need to disseminate the knowledge gained at the land-grant colleges to farmers and homemakers. The Smith–Lever Act of 1914 started federal funding of cooperative extension , with the land-grant universities' agents being sent to virtually every county of every state. In some states, the annual federal appropriations to the land-grant college under these laws exceed the current income from the original land grants. In the fiscal year 2006 USDA budget, $1.033 billion went to research and cooperative extension activities nationwide. For this purpose, former President George W. Bush proposed a $1.035 billion appropriation for fiscal year 2008.
Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Morrill Act, at the Library of Congress , June 23, 2012 *