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ERIC Number: EJ864804
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0275-7664
Changing Perceptions of Homesteading as a Policy of Public Domain Disposal
Edwards, Richard
Great Plains Quarterly, v29 n3 p179-202 Sum 2009
The inspiring story of homesteaders claiming free land and realizing their dreams became one of the enduring narratives of American history. But scholars who have studied homesteading have often been much more ambivalent, even harshly negative, about how successful it was in practice. While the public often views our history differently from scholars, in this case the disparity appears both substantial and persistent. Perhaps it is time to revisit homesteading and reassess whether homesteading really was a good idea or not. Certainly homesteading once powerfully fired the American imagination. The promise of free land was such a startling idea that it created a sensation on both sides of the Atlantic, much like Henry Ford's later announcement of the five-dollars-a-day wage. It offered a seemingly magical possibility, one that people wanted so strongly to believe that it proved essentially impervious to contrary evidence.
Center for Great Plains Studies. University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 1155 Q Street, Hewit Place, P.O. Box 880214, Lincoln, NE 68588-0214. Tel: 402-472-3082; Fax: 402-472-0463; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A