Morrill Act of 1862
Enacted July 2, 1862 (chapter 130, 12 Stat. 503), this law allocated federal land to each state and directed the states to sell the land and use the proceeds to establish a college dedicated to the agricultural and mechanical arts. States without federal lands within their borders received land in scrip, giving them the right to sell federal land located in other states. The act resulted in the establishment of the land grant colleges of agriculture. The purpose of the Act was not only to improve the economic and social welfare of farmers, but also to make higher education with a practical application generally available to all segments of U.S. society. The Act pertained only to the original establishment of the colleges of agriculture, and is not an authority under which the colleges currently receive federal funds.