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Homestead Act, Exodusters, & New Tech
Transcript of Homestead Act, Exodusters, & New Tech
Homestead Act, Exodusters, & New Technology
"Great American Desert"
The Great Plains
A vast region of dry grassland in the middle of the country.
People thought not good for farmland
Move to the Great Plains
But why would they move here?
Hoped that with hard work, pioneers would turn the plains into productive farmland.
To encourage people to move to the Great Plains
Offered free land to American citizens and immigrants
Start new farms
160 acres of land
To be a homesteader:
A man over the age of 21
A woman head of family
Small fee $10
Live on it for 5 years
Then it is yours
Settlers who claimed land through the Homestead Act.
Homesteaders had to rip up the grass
Grasses on the Great Plains had thick, tangled roots that reached several inches down into the soil.
They had to BUST through this "sod" before planting crops.
Sodbusters used sod to build houses
Few trees, so sod was a useful building material
COOL in summer
WARM in winter
Negatives: bugs, mice, and snakes!
Soil was VERY fertile once they broke through the sod!
Fertile soil meant many people wanted to come to America
Thousands of families from Europe
Russia, Sweden, Norway, Germany
Farmers from Russia brought hardy seeds of wheat that survived the Great Plains weather.
African American pioneers
Their own communities on the Great Plains
"We need land for our children."
Name comes from Exodus (Biblical)
A journey to Freedom
Another challenge faced by pioneers was that the Great Plains could be very dry. The windmill would bring scarce water to the surface and it could be used as a power source.
Cattle drives were common during this time period and cattle would trample the farmers crops on the Great Plains. Barbed Wire was put up to keep all animals out and help farmers ave their crops.
Question: Why couldn't they build fences? What was scarce on the Great Plains?
Machine that made harvesting much easier for farmers. This lead to increased profits for farmers.
Steel plows were used to break through the hard packed earth to uncover the extremely fertile soil below! This used to be hand driven, but then farmers started to use animals to pull the plows.
Fun Fact: John Deere began to build strong plows in 1837