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Federal Enabling Legislation

The land-grant college system is the result of several pieces of legislation, including the following.  Details of these acts can be found in any library.

Morrill Act (1862)

President Abraham Lincoln signed the act to establish a partnership between the federal government and the states to support higher education.  The Morrill Act donated public land to several states and territories to establish public colleges that emphasized agriculture and mechanic arts.  Over 10 million of these acres were from federally acquired tribal lands.

Hatch Act (1887)

Provided federal funds to land-grant colleges to establish agricultural experiment stations for scientific research.

Morrill Land Grant Act (1890)

Provided federal funding to establish 17 historically black land-grant colleges.

Smith-Lever Act (1914)

Provided federal funding to land-grant institutions to establish the national Cooperative Extension Service to extend practical agriculture and home economics information and educational programs to the public.