Interpretive Themes of Homestead

Westward Expansion & Immigration

The Homestead Act of 1862:

  1. was successful in its intent to encourage settlement of the American West.
  2. was presented as an opportunity to obtain the “American Dream” of owning your own land and determining your own future.
  3. encouraged European immigration to the United States and its results are still evident in the communities of the Great Plains.

Industry & Agricultural Revolution

Human needs and circumstances of the land led to accelerated technological development in the areas of agriculture, transportation, and communication.

Social Change & Community

The Homestead Act hastened the relocation and dissipation of American Indians and permanently altered their way of life.

The Homestead Act changed the American social structure by allowing disenfranchised groups (women, African Americans, immigrant groups) to establish homesteads and own land.

The Natural World

The prairie, woodland, and creek environments provide beauty, solitude, and ecological importance. Settlement and cultivation of the West precipitated by the Homestead Act greatly developed the nation, yet drastically altered and eliminated existing ecosystems. The restoration of the tallgrass prairie provides the opportunity to visualize and interact with a historic landscape.

Last updated: January 26, 2022

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