1862 - Homestead Act of 1862

A typical homesteading family crossing the Great Plains.

         Settlement of the West, mostly in violation of existing treaties, begins with the passage of the Homestead Act of 1862.  This bill, which had been previously blocked by southern congressmen, now passed muster in Congress.  The act unleashed a 'land rush' of settlers onto Indian owned lands in Kansas and Nebraska.  Congress, with a fiduciary responsibility to protect Indian lands and resources, did not lift a finger or send a single soldier to help the Indians protect their homelands from land-hungry settlers.


for more on the homestead era, click here