The Morrill Act's Attempt To Expand Agricultural Development In The United States

905 words - 4 pages

The Morrill Act was clearly pioneer thinking for United States timeframe and was met with strong criticism from the universities. At the time, the schools were teaching religion, law, and medicine. Morrill’s vision came from Europe, where it was proven that European farmers produced greater yields on smaller pieces of land compared to the United States (LaMay 77). This is where Morrill sought to bring people of different backgrounds, economically and social class to be educated and be beneficial to all. By allowing a widespread education in the United States, the country opened up many doors to a broader population of the country. When Morrill wrote the act, he also had a thought-provoking method of producing the money to fund the colleges through interest from sale of public lands (“The Land Grant Tradition”).
With the passing of the Homestead Act, previous to the signing of the Morrill Act, the Homestead Act gave western state and territories 160 acres of land. When Morrill brought the act back again to the House and Senate, he urged Congress to increase the land acreage to thirty thousand, but importantly including the teaching of military skills along with the Land-Grant provision (LaMay 78). The Morrill Act brought together a wider assembly of new American landowners along with a way to educate people to caring for the land and how to improve yields. With the industrial age coming about it was almost perfect timing for Justin Morrill and his expansion idea from Europe.
Land grant colleges were a major movement in the education system in the United States. With the passing of the Morrill Act, it enacted federal land to be given to each state, to provide a school to educate people on agriculture and mechanical arts. The purpose of these land grant colleges was to teach “practical” uses or what is now define as “problem solving”, which is done through research on meeting the needs of those on the frontier. Major components that helped change the education system and the starting of land grand colleges comes about from social needs, need to educate a wide portion of the population, the playing of politics and to improve the use of agriculture. These major points in establishing the land grant colleges, was mainly in the frontier country, where people were uneducated, narrow vision and knew little about applying applications of science to agriculture.
Social needs played a major part in the starting of land grant colleges. Lower class Americans needed to be educated on how to use the land they got through the Homestead Act.
The development of agricultural societies was the first systematic attempt to improve agriculture. These societies first started after the Revolutionary War and grew to a national level of 900 societies by 1861. The growth of these...

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