Homestead Act spurred settlement

As the War Between the States raged through the nation, the Federal government in Washington, DC struggled with running the day to day affairs of a nation which was ripping itself apart on battle fields that stretched from the Potomac River to the Rio Grande.

During this era Congress and the President managed to pass one remarkable piece of legislation; The Homestead Act, on May 20, 1862. The act allowed an adult, over age 21, male or female, to claim 160 acres of land from the public domain. Homesteaders had to cultivate the land and improve it, which usually meant by way of building a house...

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