Why did many homesteaders find it difficult to acquired good land in the West?

The history of the United States proves that the Americans can be considered as a really powerful nation, because they coped with so many challenges on their way to success. At the middle of the 19th century till its end, lots of homesteaders faced one and the same problem – they could not get good land in the West.

As a rule, such difficulties appeared because of one document that was signed by Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, known as the Homestead Act. In fact, the House of Representatives passed the act concerning the matter of homestead legislation for three times before the Homestead Act in 1852, 1854, and 1859. However, none of those attempts was successful.

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This is why many hopes were connected to the last act: homesteaders truly believed that they got an opportunity to develop their farms and get profits. Unfortunately, the conditions of the Homestead Act were not that successful for the homesteaders: it became more difficult to find and buy good land in the whole territory of the West.

In order to find out what caused the difficulties for the homesteaders to buy good land, it is necessary to clear up what the conditions of The Homestead Act were.

The conditions of that act were rather disappointing for many homesteaders, because many challenges were on their way to getting really worthwhile land: first of all, an application had to be filed, where a person, who was not born in the United States of America, claimed for 160 acres of Government land; secondly, the person, who got the land, had to live on that land and improve it during 5 years; and finally, after 5 years, the homesteader should file for a patent and prove that the land was improved.

Only in case, all those steps were passed successfully, the land could be bought. Taking into consideration these conditions, it is possible to say that such land measurement and high pricing were aimed at Government generating but not at encouraging settlements.

Unfortunately, many homesteaders just did not have an idea of how to improve or at least start their business, this is why the only thing they had to do is to file claims, work, and wait.

At the beginning of 1863, lots of pioneers starts populating the lands in the West: they built towns and schools in order to promote the necessary growth of the country. In order to get better land, a lot of homesteaders were eager to compete and use all their financial reserves. The process of industrialization made lots of people to think more about their future but not about their present.

If a person wanted to achieve certain success, he/she should work hard for some period of time, and with time, observe outcomes and enjoy the profits. This is why the process of industrialization may serve as one more reason of why so many homesteaders could not acquire good land in the West.

In general, the difficulties, the vast majority of homesteaders faced with while acquiring the good land in the West, are caused by two reasons: one of them is the process of industrialization that was spread over the United States of America at the end of the 19th century, and another reason is the conditions of the Homestead Act of 1862.

At the beginning, it was too difficult to buy any piece of land because of high pricing and damages after the wars, and with time, people’s competitions became another challenge of the Americans.


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