The Homestead Act of 1862 has been called one of the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. The act was signed into law by Abraham Lincoln after the southern states seceded.
Native Americans and the Homestead Act
To settlers, immigrants, and homesteaders, the West was empty land. To American Indians, it was home.
A homesteader had to be the head of a household or at least 21 years of age to claim a 160 acre parcel of land. Settlers from all walks of life worked to meet the challenge of "proving up". They included immigrants, farmers without land of their own, single women, and formerly enslaved people.
Last updated: August 4, 2022