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The Morrill Act & Land-Grant Institutions: Home

This guide is designed to help you explore the Morrill Act and land-grant institutions, including South Dakota State University. Please ask a librarian if you want additional assistance with your research.

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Briggs Library Reference
SBL 123
Briggs Library, Box 2115
South Dakota State University
Brookings, SD 57007-1098

General Information

The Morrill Act of 1862 funded institutions of higher education with grants of federal land, creating the "land-grant" designation. Every state received 30,000 acres of land for each of its delegates to Congress.  South and North Dakota were still Dakota Territory in 1862, but the act provided for future states as well.  Sponsored by Vermont statesman Justin Smith Morrill, the Morrill Act sought to make education at colleges and universities more practical and more available to the working classes.

Key Legislation

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Legal Citations

A legal citation is a kind of shorthand used to identify specific documents, including federal laws.  For example, the Act establishing land-grant institutions is often referred to as the Morrill Act of 1862 or the First Morrill Act.  The legal citation for this Act is 7 U.S.C. 321 et seq. The citation consists of a volume number, an abbreviation for the title of the source (United States Code) and the beginning page or section number. The abbreviation et seq. stands for the Latin phrase et sequentes meaning "and the following," indicating the Act continues in the following pages or sections.  

If you need the exact legal citation for any of the pieces of key legislation listed above, try the The United States Code Popular Name Tool from the Office of the Law Revision Counsel.

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