Homestead Act of 1862

This passage discusses the Homestead Act of 1862, which helped to create farms.

Lexile Level: 550L

Categories: History Animals & Nature

The Homestead Act of 1862 helped create farms. This act gave citizens public land in the west. Citizens didn't have to buy the land. The land was free. People who wanted their own land were called homesteaders. To get land, homesteaders had to make a claim. They went to a Land Office. The Land Office kept land ownership records. At the Land Office, homesteaders claimed the land they wanted. If no one had already claimed the land, it was theirs temporarily. Under the law, homesteaders had to live on the claimed land for five years. They had to build a house. They had to farm the land. After five years, they returned to the Land Office. They had to prove the land was being settled. If the land was improved, homesteaders became the legal land owners. Because of the Homestead Act of 1862, 270 million acres were claimed and settled.

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