Homesteading and Settling the Frontier
Primary Sources of Westward Expansion
Reading Level: 6
Interest Level: 6-9
The Homestead Act was passed in 1862, when states that had seceded from the Union could no longer block it in congress. The act opened land in the west for all Americans, including freed slaves, granting 160 acres to settlers under the condition that they farm it for five years. The result was that 1.6 million claims, covering 420,000 square miles, were granted, making residents of millions of people in the land west of the Mississippi River. This book richly explores this fascinating part of history.