Homestead Act of 1862: America’s Grandest Privatization Act

On May 20, 1862, President Lincoln signed perhaps the greatest privatization act in American history into law, opening 270 million acres of Western lands for private and family settlement, and dispensing to American citizens ten percent of the entire area of the United States. From 1871 to 1951, 1,505,405 homestead patents were processed, and the Homestead Act provided land in the American West until its repeal in 1976. Although distinctly a political act of war, the Homestead Act encouraged the American dream of personal responsibility and right to property independent of government for over one hundred years.  Read more on Landmarks of Liberty

E. Wesley – Mackinac Center Intern


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