Homestead Act

Dan Mancillas, Chase Pickens, Julian Johnson

Political

  • After Louisiana Purchase
  • The Homestead act was signed in May 1862.
  • Southern states voted against the act because they were concerned about the free states influence on the politics.
  • The grants didn't give many opportunities to poor farmers but most of the land was given to speculators.
  • The small farms/homesteads were replaced with a smaller amount of much larger farms because of the growth in agriculture.
  • A person could not take legal ownership until they lived on the land for five years, met all requirements, and had a neighbor or friend tell how they met all the requirements.
  • The act as repealed in 1946 except for in Alaska where it ended in 1986.

Economic

  • To own a piece of land, a eligible person had to pay an $18 filing fee and live on the land for a total of 5 years.
  • They could legally own the land with only 6 months of residency if they would pay $1.25 per acre.
  • The goal was to create a good tax system that eliminated tax issues and promoted good economic growth.

Geographic

  • The land was made of rolling hills and prairie flatlands.
  • Extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter. There were periods of extreme heat and drought. Tornadoes and thunderstorms intermixed at periods.
  • The lack of trees in the plains was an advantage for farming.
  • There were several major rivers in the west that made traveling a life or death situation for travelers that had to get across them.

Social

  • The homestead act allowed anyone who had never taken up arms with the government, including freed slaves and women, and who was over the age of 21 to fill out an application to claim a federal land grant.
  • The population in the west grew due to the people in the east wanting to get land and freedom.