Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln, the 1862 Morrill Act allowed for the creation of such institutions as the University of Maine.
Although the act was passed during the tumultuous years of the American Civil War, the Morrill Act was an effort to build agricultural colleges around the nation and provide for the future educational prosperity of the country.
Founded in 1865, the Maine State College of Agriculture and the Mechanic Arts became the land-grant college of Maine, opening its doors for students in 1868 and changing its name to the University of Maine in 1897.
While originally focusing on farming and technical skills, the Morrill Act also ensured that “classical studies” were not excluded from the curriculum. Located on Marsh Island between the Penobscot and Stillwater rivers, the University of Maine remains the only land-grant university on an island in the continental United States.