January 16, 2012: North Dakota's School Land Permanent Trust Now Reaching $2 Billion
Early History of North Dakota: Essential Outlines of American History
by Clement Augustus Lounsberry
"The idea of assigning a constant share of all United States public lands, for the support of free education, wherever the public domain might extend beyond the limits of the original states, was first engrafted upon this nation, by our Revolutionary forefathers, in the general ordinance for public surveys, passed by Congress May 20, 1785; this great statute devoting section 16 in each township "for the maintenance of public schools within the said township."
"This original benerfaction for education as doubled for the Dakotas and some other states, by subsequent legislation adding section 36, thus granting one-eighteenth of the lands surveyed; and in the newer states of Utah, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Arizona, Congress granted school selection in certain sections additional to the original two."