Thursday, November 21, 2019

Heading West in 19C America

Harvey Dunn (1884-1952) The Homesteader's Wife

The Homestead Act
Signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, the Homestead Act encouraged Western migration by providing settlers 160 acres of public land. In exchange, homesteaders paid a small filing fee & were required to complete 5 years of continuous residence before receiving ownership of the land. After six months of residency, homesteaders also had the option of purchasing the land from the government for $1.25 per acre. The Homestead Act led to the distribution of 80 million acres of public land by 1900.  In 1976, the Homestead Act was repealed by the  Federal Land Policy & Management Act, which stated “public lands be retained in Federal ownership.” The act authorized the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to manage federal lands. Homesteading was still allowed for another decade in Alaska, until 1986.

Cross, Coy F. Go West, Young Man!: Horace Greeley's Vision for America. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995. 
Lee, Lawrence Bacon. Kansas and the Homestead Act, 1862-1905. New York: Arno Press, 1979. 
Ottoson, Howard W., ed. Land Use Policy and Problems in the United States. Edited by Howard W. Ottoson. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1963. 
Stephenson, George Malcolm. The Political History of the Public Lands From 1840 to 1862; From Preemption to Homestead. New York: Russell & Russell, 1967.