Moving West By BRidget Redgate

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.

In July 1861, Congress passed the Morrill Land-Grant Act. The bill was written by Vermont Representative Justin Smith Morrill. The Act was passed for the purpose of teaching agricultural and mechanical art; promoting education to the industrial class.

Justin Smith Morrill

After the Morrill Land-Grant Act, the states sold their land to land speculators, people who bought larges areas of land to resell later but for a higher price than what they bought it for.

The Homestead Act allowed settlers to have 160 acres of land for a small fee. They had to meet certain requirements:

  1. They had to be at least 21 years old or the head of a family.
  2. They had to be American citizens or an immigrant filing for citizenship.
  3. 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.
  4. They had to farm the land for five years before claiming ownership.
A homestead family

Works Cited

18, 2015 Ted Widmer Globe Correspondent June. "Justin Morrill, the Man behind America’s Higher Education - The Boston Globe." N.p., 18 June 2015. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.

Griffin, Sean. "What Brought Settlers to the Midwest?" What Brought Settlers to the Midwest? N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.

"The Homestead Act of 1862." National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.

LANG, ALDON S. and LONG, CHRISTOPHER. "LAND GRANTS." LANG, ALDON S. and LONG, CHRISTOPHER. N.p., 14 June 2010. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.

"The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890." 1890 LandGrant Universities. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.

"Primary Documents in American History." Pacific Railway Act: Primary Documents of American History (Virtual Programs & Services, Library of Congress). N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Mar. 2017. <>.

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