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Jump Back in Time Civil War (1860-1865)
John Bakken sod house
Many homesteaders built themselves sod houses, like this one, until the railroads brought in more lumber and house-building supplies

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The Homestead Act Went Into Effect
May 20, 1862

Northern businessmen thought free land would lower property values and reduce the cheap labor supply. Southerners feared homesteaders would add their voices to the call to stop slavery. With the Civil War silencing the protests of the South, the Homestead Act finally passed. By 1900, homesteaders had filed 600,000 claims for 80 million acres. Most pioneers moved to the Western Plain states such as Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. They hoped for prosperity, but knew the move was a gamble. Why?
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