tutor2u | The Homestead Act Significance

Study Notes

The Homestead Act Significance

Level:
GCSE
Board:
Edexcel

Last updated 24 Oct 2017

The Homestead Act was relatively successful. By 1876, over six million acres of land had been ‘claimed’, it encouraged immigration from Europe, and people began to settle permanently on the Great Plains for the first time.

The Homestead Act was relatively successful. By 1876, over six million acres of land had been ‘claimed’, it encouraged immigration from Europe, and people began to settle permanently on the Great Plains for the first time.

 

However, the act did have its limitations. Despite many homesteads being ‘claimed’, 60% of homesteads were never ‘proved up’. This is mainly due to the difficulties of farming on the Great Plains. Rich landowners often made their employees file claims and then forced them to hand over the land to them. This was problematic as the government had aimed to create lots of individually owned farms, instead of the land being owned by just a few rich owners. Finally, some people would file a claim to get cheap land and then sell it to others for profit. Again, this went against government wishes for landowners to work their land themselves. 

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