On February 16, 1863, Kansas State University became one of many public institutes of higher education to be founded under the authority of the Morrill Land Grant Act.
Signed by President Lincoln in 1862, the Morrill Act promised 30,000 acres of federal land to each state for the purpose of supporting higher learning in the agricultural and mechanical arts. The Morrill Act however refused to provide any such assistance to states currently in rebellion.
Although Kansas had seen considerable bloodletting between pro- and anti-slavery forces in the years leading up to the Civil War, it joined the Union as a free state in January 1861, thereby becoming eligible for federal educational funding. In the decades to come, KSU would be joined by some 70 other federally-supported universities and university systems.