Origins of the American Land Grant College Movement

Daniel W. Lang


This article looks at the historical debates about the origin of the Agricultral College Act, its purpose, and the political and educational impetus behind it and the 'land grant' college. Both Justin Morrill and Jonathan Baldwin Turner of Illinois have been acclaimed as father of the act. But the case for either of them is weak and in many ways problematic. There was, however, another person who played a major role in the land grant college movement and in the passage of the act. He was Amos Brown, president of The Peoples College. This study describes Browns origin, his educational philosophy, and especially his highly influential role in the passage of the Agricultural College Act. The study also describes the practical issues and problems that confronted 19th century college leaders in establishing and building their institution.


land grant college; agricultural college act; American higher education

Full Text:


Higher Education Perspectives. ISSN: 1710-1530