Passed during the Civil War, the Morrill Act granted federally controlled land to the states that
had remained in the Union. The land was to be used for the establishment of land-grant
colleges that would teach military tactics, engineering, and agriculture. This act was proposed
by Justin Smith Morrill of Vermont and signed into law by President Lincoln on July 2, 1862.
CITATION: Act of July 2, 1862 (Morrill Act), Public Law 37- 108, which established land grant
colleges, 07/02/1862; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1996; Record Group
11; General Records of the United States Government; National Archives.
DIGITAL ID: 1761
Thirty-Seventh Congress of the United States of America;
At the Second Session,
Begun and held at the city of Washington, on Monday, the Second day of December, one
thousand eight hundred and sixty-one.
Donating Public Lands to the several States and Territories which may provide Colleges for
the Benefit of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled, That there be granted to the several States, for the purposes
hereinafter mentioned, an amount of public land, to be apportioned to each State a quantity
equal to thirty thousand acres for each senator and representative in Congress to which the
States are respectively entitled by the apportionment under the census of eighteen hundred
and sixty: Provided, That no mineral lands shall be selected or purchased under the
provisions of this Act.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That the land aforesaid, after being surveyed, shall be
apportioned to the several States in sections or subdivisions of sections, not less than one
quarter of a section; and whenever there are public lands in a State subject to sale at private
entry at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, the quantity to which said State shall be
entitled shall be selected from such lands within the limits of such State, and the Secretary of
the Interior is hereby directed to issue to each of the States in which there is not the quantity
of public lands subject to sale at private entry at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, to
which said State may be entitled under the provisions of this act, land scrip to the amount in
acres for the deficiency of its distributive share: said scrip to be sold by said States and the
proceeds thereof applied to the uses and purposes prescribed in this act, and for no other use