An analysis of the homestead act

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An analysis of the homestead act

Friefeld and Richard Edwards. DeWitty and Black Homesteaders in Nebraska. Praise for Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History "Homesteading the Plains fundamentally alters the dominant frame for understanding the costs and consequences of settling the Great Plains.

Not only have Edwards, Friefeld and Wingo amassed an astonishing amount of big data about homesteading—characteristics of land takers, who succeeded, who failed, and why—but they broaden our analytic perspective to include what the consequences of legislation and peopling meant for Native Americans whose land—through conquest and treaty—became public domain.

The authors tell a nuanced, fascinating national story that is regionally rooted and beautifully illustrated with tables, charts and maps. Hansen, Brandeis University "Homesteading the Plains is a provocative plea for a new history of the Homestead laws.

The authors argue that a yawning gap exists between public perceptions of the free land granting policies as great successes and negative scholarly assessments of those same laws as ineffective and even harmful failures tainted by fraud and corruption.

The gap can and should be closed, they tell us in a compelling brief for historical revisionism, by critiquing dominant evaluations of the homestead laws and reexamining them with the kinds of questions, methods, and evidence that fill the pages of their book. Anyone interested in understanding the place of these almost mythic laws in the American past must read Homesteading the Plains.

Provocative and illuminating, it brings new data, technologies, and questions to open new historical terrain. The authors persuasively demonstrate the impressive achievements of the Homestead Act and incisively evaluate the degree of fraud and Indian land dispossession on the homesteading frontier.

This is the most thoughtful analysis of homesteading to appear in many years. The publication of Homesteading the Plains will not only be a contribution to knowledge but also field-altering in terms of the way scholars must hereafter write and teach about the Homestead Act.

Douglas Hurt, Purdue University "The authors make a strong case for the need to revisit the history of homesteading, offering a comprehensive account of the historiography of the last five decades alongside their own interventions into the literature. Homesteading the Plains also integrates an important spatial dimension into our understanding of the relationship between homesteading and Native American dispossession, which has great potential for reshaping the history of land policy in the Americas.

Homesteading the Plains also integrates an important spatial dimension into our understanding of the relationship between homesteading and Native American dispossession that has great potential for reshaping the history of land policy in the Americas. Throughout the book the factual evidence is enriched by the stories of individual lives which are also embedded in the records.

The result is a definitive analysis which is also a pleasure to read. It will serve as a model for future historians who want to circumvent the myths and find the facts about homesteading and its role in the development of the nation.

The authors should be congratulated on their contribution to future Great Plains studies, as their book will doubtless serve as a fine kick-start to a new renaissance in homesteading research.

Many families, often living in cities far removed from where their forebears staked their claims, retain a treasured story, a photograph, or a memory of their homesteading ancestors. But many scholars have a different view, seeing homesteading as a failure, infested with fraud, and in any event of minor importance in creating farms in the American West; unfortunately the consensus analysis is typically based on often-repeated anecdotes of unreliable generality, old and incorrect statistical assertions, undocumented stories, and lack of rigor.

Today, scholars at the Center and elsewhere are writing a new history of homesteading, and thanks to digitized records and modern data analysis, this time they can base that history on the actual facts of homesteading.

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Their effort is still in its infancy and will require the contributions of many to succeed, but already it is producing some surprising results.

Box Lincoln, NE HOMESTEAD ACT PAPERWORK Time Needed One class period Materials Needed • National Archives Written Document Analysis Worksheets- one for each document.

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An analysis of the homestead act

1 (b) Every person who qualifies to receive the exemption provided in paragraph (a) is entitled to an additional exemption of up to $25, on the assessed valuation greater than $50, for all levies other than school district levies.

Homesteading was a central feature of the Euro American, African American, and immigrant settlement of the Great Plains. On May 20, , President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act, formally “an Act to secure Homesteads to actual Settlers on the Public Domain.” Under it, the federal.

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