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Land-Grant Universities

Balloons at shopping center in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul 

I had a long talk with the head of public schools in Mato Grosso about universities in the U.S.   He was unaware of the history of land-grant institutions, but impressed when I told him that the Morrill Act was passed as long ago as 1862.  It established the land-grant universities.  The first was Iowa.  All the states have one.  In 1890 the act was extended to create what have become historically black colleges.  IMO the Morrill act was one of most important acts of Congress in American history, although generally unknown.  I attended the land-grant University of Wisconsin but I don’t recall ever really being aware of its history.  

Our great research universities that have contributed so much to our strength in science and innovation are almost all based on land-grants.  Our agriculture was immensely helped.   One reason we can help feed the world is the foresight of this act in 1862.  America would be a very different place w/o this and not as good a place.  I think it is important to recall these important steps in history.  They are too often forgotten and real achievements are taken for granted. 

I compared our land-grant institutions to what Brazil is doing with its Institutes of Science and Technology and with its Science w/o Borders.  We are lucky to be here at this time.  

I suppose that important legislation like the Morrill Act and even the Homestead Act got lost in the horror of the Civil War.  We remember Lincoln for saving the Union, but his legislative achievements beyond that were enough to make him a success.

My picture is a hot air balloon near the shopping center in Campo Grande. 


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