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Unformatted text preview: The Farmers’ Frontier a. Homestead Act of 1862 i. Allowed a settler to acquire as much as 160 acres of land by living on it for 5 years, improving it, and paying a nominal fee of about $30 ii. Results: 1. Before the act, public land had been sold for revenue; after the act, it was given away to encourage the rapid filling of empty spaces and encourage farming 2. It helped farmers who could not afford to buy a lot of land 3. 40 years later, ½ million families took advantage of the Homestead Act b. Homestead Act a Hoax??? i. 160 acres in the plains was different than 160 on the Mississippi basin ii. 2/3 were forced to give up their land because of drought iii. Some land would wind up in the hands of promoters (who would grab the best properties containing timber, minerals, and oil) rather than farmers iv. Some would claim that they improved the land by making a home on it, while the home would be really small or nonexistent at all c. How Did the West Develop? i. Railroads – crops could be taken to the coast ii. They induced thousands of Americans and European immigrants to buy cheap land earlier granted to railroads iii. The soil was thought to be sterile because there wasn’t much rain and buffalo trampled it down solid. However, once the hard land was broken, the earth was fertile d. 100 th Meridian i. East of this line = well watered ii. West of this line = semiarid desert 1. John Wesley Powell, who explored the Grand Canyon and directed the U.S. Geological Survey said that without irrigation, agriculture the U....
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This note was uploaded on 02/04/2012 for the course HISTORY 104 taught by Professor Reed during the Spring '11 term at Rutgers.
- Spring '11
- Homestead Act