Homesteaders: Why did so many people want to settle on the Plains?

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  • WHY DID PEOPLE WANT TO SETTLE ON THE PLAINS?
    • Actions of US government
      • 1862 Homestead Act
        • 160 acres free per family
        • Live and farm for 5 years
      • 1873 Timer Culture Act
        • 160 acres free if they planted 40 acres of trees
      • 1877 Desert Land Act
        • Buy 640 acres cheaply in areas with little rainfall
    • End of American Civil War
      • Demobilised soldiers looking to rebuild lives
      • Newly freed black slaves looking for new lives
    • Trans-continental railroads
      • 1860s two companies starting building from east and west
        • They met in Utah
      • Easy for homesteader to get to Plains
      • Railroad companies sold off land either side of line cheaply

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