A New Homestead Act—To Jump Start the U.S. Economy

Why don’t those who live in depressed areas move to places where they can get back on their feet?

Issue: January-February 2016

The Homestead Act of 1862 is one of America’s best-known and beloved laws. By giving away federal land for free to anyone who settled and cultivated it, the act enshrined the governing principle of the newly ascendant Republican Party: government should act to help the average man help himself build a better life. Together with the Land Grant College Act and the Pacific Railroad Acts, the Homestead Act placed the federal government squarely on the side of the average American in his or her quest to live in comfort and with dignity.

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