Homestead Act

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A US Act to encourage migration west. The Homestead Act gave any citizen who was head of a family and over 21 years of age 65 ha (160 acres) of surveyed public land for a nominal fee. Complete ownership could be attained after five years of continuous residence or by the payment of $1.25 per acre after a six-month period. While some 15,000 such homesteads were created during the American Civil War years, speculation and the development of mechanized large-scale agriculture reduced the effectiveness of the Act in later years.

Subjects: World History — United States History.

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