The Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864 allowed the US government to give large land grants to the Union Pacific and Central Pacific Railroads. It was signed by Abraham Lincoln and it gave federal support for the first transcontinental railroad. When complete, the railroad would connect California and the East Coast.
The Homestead Act allowed settlers to have 160 acres of land for a small fee. They had to meet certain requirements:
- They had to be at least 21 years old or the head of a family.
- They had to be American citizens or an immigrant filing for citizenship.
- They had to build a house at least 12 feet by 14 feet and had to live in it six months out of the year.
- They had to farm the land for five years before claiming ownership.