Land-grant laws similar to the Homestead Acts had been proposed by northern Republicans before the Civil War, but had been repeatedly blocked in Congress by southern Democrats who wanted western lands open for purchase by slave-owners.  Southern Democrats had continually fought (and defeated) previous homestead law proposals, as they feared free land would attract European immigrants and poor Southern whites to the west. About 40% of the applicants who started the process were able to complete it and obtain title to their homesteaded land after paying a small fee in cash.. Settlers were able to claim 320 or 640 acres (130 to 260 ha) of land for free between 1850 and 1854, and then at a cost of $1.25 per acre until the law expired in 1855. "The Homestead Act: A major asset-building policy in American history." They saw it as a means to end the expansion of slavery. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave rise later to a new phenomenon, large land rushes, such as the Oklahoma Land Runs of the 1880s and 90s. On the other hand, homesteading schemes were generally pointless for land containing "locatable minerals," such as gold and silver, which could be controlled through mining claims under the Mining Act of 1872, for which the federal government did not charge royalties. The Railroad Act helped people migrate westward from the east to the west, which supported the homestead act. The passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 repealed the Homestead Act in the 48 contiguous states, but it did grant a ten-year extension on claims in Alaska. Homestead Act.  The filing fee was eighteen dollars (or ten to temporarily hold a claim to the land).. Historians tend to emphasize that this law did not actually end … The Homestead Act of 1862 impacted American Indians by. The occupant had to reside on the land for five years, and show evidence of having made improvements. Several additional laws were enacted in the latter half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Settlers deserted their Democratic allegiance and were rewarded for supporting the Republican Party when President Abraham Lincoln, its first successful candidate, signed into law the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862.3 59 This offered a cheap plot of land to homesteaders.  It was extended to include settlement in the Rainy River District under The Rainy River Free Grants and Homestead Act, 1886, These Acts were consolidated in 1913 in The Public Lands Act, which was further extended in 1948 to provide for free grants to former members of the Canadian Forces. The 1866 Act explicitly included black Americans and encouraged them to participate, but rampant discrimination, systemic barriers and bureaucratic inertia slowed black gains. Read the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. However, there were some provisions for the Homestead Act that remained in effect in the state of Alaska until 1986. The passage of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 repealed the Homestead Act in the 48 contiguous states, but it did grant a ten-year extension on claims in Alaska. That method was also used by large businesses and speculators to gain ownership of timber and oil-producing land. What are the exempted debts? The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which an applicant could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain, typically called a homestead. A total filing fee of $18 was the only money required, but sacrifice and hard work exacted a different price from the hopeful settlers. After the Southern states seceded from the Union in 1861 (and their representatives had left Congress), the bill passed and was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln (May 20, 1862). The "yeoman farmer" ideal of Jeffersonian democracy was still a powerful influence in American politics during the 1840–1850s, with many politicians believing a homestead act would help increase the number of "virtuous yeomen". To enable dryland farming, it increased the number of acres for a homestead to 320 acres (130 ha) given to farmers who accepted more marginal lands (especially in the Great Plains), which could not be easily irrigated. The only exception to this new policy was in Alaska, for which the law allowed homesteading until 1986. The Homestead Acts, Digital Public Library of America. 8523 West State Highway 4 He is the last person to receive title to land claimed under the Homestead Acts.. ", Patterson-Black, Sheryll. Frontier House: Homestead … First instance of the government giving public domain to individuals. Six days later 8,500 members of the Pennsylvania National Guard were ordered into Homestead under the orders of Governor Robert E. Patterson. External Web Sites. For instance, the Australian selection acts were passed in the various Australian colonies following the first, in 1861, in New South Wales. Once the Southern states had seceded there was little opposition and the Homestead Act passed Congress with hardly any dissent. has faded away. An extension of the homestead principle in law, the Homestead Acts were an expression of the Free Soil policy of Northerners who wanted individual farmers to own and operate their own farms, as opposed to Southern slave-owners who wanted to buy up large tracts of land and use slave labor, thereby shutting out free white farmers. What was the Homestead Act? This quarter-section could be added to an existing homestead claim, offering a total of 320 acres to a settler. The Homestead Act did spur the westward movement to the Great Plains and eventually beyond that region. Renewed interest in homesteading was brought about by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's program of Subsistence Homesteading implemented in the 1930s under the New Deal. With application and receipt in hand, the homesteader then returned to the land to begin the process of building a home and farming the land, both requirements for "proving" up at the end of five years. The Southern Homestead Act of 1866 sought to address land ownership inequalities in the south during Reconstruction. It was signed by Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, as following the Secession in the United States, the most vocal opposition in Congress, the Southern States, had been removed. So, indeed, all homesteaders prior to 1866 were white, but for the remaining 120 years that the Homestead Act was a law African Americans, indeed, did homestead. Realty and Resource Protection /bmps.Par.41235.File.dat/Split%20Estate%20Presentation%202006.pdf Split EstatePrivate Surface / Public Minerals: What Does it Mean to You? , Enacted to allow poor tenant farmers and sharecroppers in the south become land owners in the southern United States during Reconstruction. The federal government charged royalties for extraction of these resources from public lands. Repercussions of this monumental piece of legislation can be detected throughout America today, decades after the cry of "Free Land!" What debts are not protected against by a Homestead Declaration? They had to live on the designated land, build a home, make improvements, and farm it for a minimum of five years. Homestead Act. The Kinkaid Amendment of 1904 granted a full section—640 acres (260 ha)—to new homesteaders settling in western Nebraska. President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law in 1862. In 1868, five years after the Homestead Act was signed, the first claim was made for land in what is now North Dakota. Claimants were required to “improve” the … This land claim was in the same area where Alexander Henry had raised his vegetables almost 70 years earlier. Learn more about the creation of Homestead National Monument of America. With the introduction of the Taylor Grazing Act by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934, the end of the Homesteading allocation of vacant land under the Homestead Act of 1862 was virtually at an end. … During this time, the claims for Homesteads would sharply decline. Similar in intent, the British Crown Lands Acts were extended to several of the Empire's territories, and many are still in effect, to some extent, today. The Free Soil Party of 1848–52, and the new Republican Party after 1854, demanded that the new lands opening up in the west be made available to independent farmers, rather than wealthy planters who would develop it with the use of slaves forcing the yeomen farmers onto marginal lands. Despite these difficulties, millions of Americans applied for homesteads throughout the life of the bill. Claimants were required to “improve” the … , Nonetheless, in 1995, a random survey of 178 members of the Economic History Association found that 70 percent of economists and 84 percent of economic historians disagreed that "Nineteenth-century U.S. land policy, which attempted to give away free land, probably represented a net drain on the productive capacity of the country. US Department of the Interior, National Park Service. "Women homesteaders on the Great Plains frontier. By 1934, over 1.6 million homestead applications were processed and more than 270 million acres—10 percent of all U.S. lands—passed into the hands of individuals. There are no concrete numbers to document the number of Civil War veterans who participated in the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act of 1862 has been called one of the most important pieces of Legislation in the history of the United States. Any citizen who had never taken up arms against the U.S. government (including freed slaves after the fourteenth amendment) and was at least 21 years old or the head of a household, could file an application to claim a federal land grant. The Free-Soil Party from the 1840s and 1850s was a huge proponent of free land. Between 1862 and 1934, the federal government granted 1.6 million homesteads and distributed 270,000,000 acres (420,000 sq mi) of federal land for private ownership. They had to live there for five years, build a house and cultivate a third of the land, if already open, or a fifth if bush had to be cleared. The first of the acts, the Homestead Act of 1862, opened up millions of acres. The Homestead Act was signed into law on May 20, 1862. The first Homestead Act was passed on May 20, 1862 for the purposes of accelerating the settlement of the western territories. Recognizing that the Sandhills (Nebraska) of north-central Nebraska, required more than 160 acres for a claimant to support a family, Congress passed the Kinkaid Act which granted larger homestead tracts, up to 640 acres, to homesteaders in Nebraska. It was also notable for the opportunity it gave African Americans to own land. 1862 Homestead Act for kids Abraham Lincoln was the 16th American President who served in office from March 4, 1861 to April 15, 1865. In all, more than 160 million acres (650 thousand km2; 250 thousand sq mi) of public land, or nearly 10 percent of the total area of the United States, was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders; most of the homesteads were west of the Mississippi River.  George Henry Evans famously coined the phrase "Vote Yourself a Farm" in a bid to garner support for the movement.. Although not necessarily fraud, it was common practice for the eligible children of a large family to claim nearby land as soon as possible.  This contributed to rapid deforestation. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave free land to Americans willing to improve it, regardless of race, sex, or nation of origin. A small percentage of employees returned to work after the union called off the strike. When Did the Act Finish? Homestead Act summary: The Homestead Act was a U.S. law that enabled adult Americans to acquire ownership of land in the United States at the minimum cost. The government developed no systematic method to evaluate claims under the homestead acts. Women were eligible. The property was to be improved with a building. ... At the end of the five years, they received the land deed. The Donation Land Claim Act allowed settlers to claim land in the Oregon Territory, then including the modern states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and parts of Wyoming. The 1877 Land Act in Auckland Province used the term Homestead, with allocation administered by a Crown Lands Board. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture. The Homestead Act of 1862 is recognized as one of the most revolutionary concepts for distributing public land in American history. Starting July 1955, improvement was required to be minimum of 400 sq. Land offices relied on affidavits from witnesses that the claimant had lived on the land for the required period of time and made the required improvements. The Results of a Survey on Forty Propositions", The Free Grants and Homestead Act of 1868, The Rainy River Free Grants and Homestead Act, 1886, "Canada's Last Homesteaders: How Determined Pioneers Turn the Yukon's Wild Crown Land Into Successful Farms", "1. From 500 million acres that the homestead act had, only 80 million were occupied. For landowners, the Homestead Act of 1862 was considered to be one of the most important steps in United States history for land distribution. We got to Homestead when it opened. It ended up in the hands of people seeking profit.  Daniel Freeman became the first person to file a claim under the new act. Settlers from all walks of life including newly arrived immigrants, farmers without land of their own from the East, single women and formerly enslaved people worked to meet the challenge of "proving up" and keeping this "free land".  Historian Michael Lanza argues that while the 1866 law pack was not as beneficial as it might have been, it was part of the reason that by 1900 one quarter of all Southern black farmers owned their own farms.. , The Legislative Assembly of Ontario passed The Free Grants and Homestead Act in 1868, which introduced a conditional scheme to an existing free grant plan previously authorized by the Province of Canada in The Public Lands Act of 1860. The Homestead Act remained in effect until it was repealed in 1976, with provisions for homesteading in Alaska until 1986. In these areas, people manipulated the provisions of the act to gain control of resources, especially water. After successful completion of this final form and payment of a $6 fee, the homesteader received the patent for the land, signed with the name of the current President of the United States. They funded a transcontinental railroad to take settlers to … Each homesteader had to live on the land, build a home, make improvements and farm for 5 years before they were eligible to "prove up". Signed into law in 1862 by Abraham Lincoln after the secession of southern states, this Act turned over vast amounts of the public domain to private citizens. The law (and those following it) required a three-step procedure: file an application, improve the land, and file for the patent (deed). Enacted in 1866 shortly after the end of the Civil War, the Southern Homestead Act (SHA) was supposed to function much like the original Act. Hannah L. Anderson, ‘That Settles It: The Debate and Consequences of the Homestead Act of 1862’, The History Teacher 45.1 (2011), p. 101, Felix Rohayton, 'Five: The Homestead Act' in Bold Endeavours: How Our Government Built America, And Why It Must Rebuild Now (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009), p. 87, Paul Wallace Gates, "Federal Land Policy in the South 1866-1888. , The last claim under this Act was made by Ken Deardorff for 80 acres (32 ha) of land on the Stony River in southwestern Alaska. During this struggle, the nation followed two competing paths of agricultural development: the industrialized North favored giving public lands to individual settlers, while the South clung to its tradition of slave labor. 68310, creation of Homestead National Monument of America. The homestead acts were much abused. In 1974, a young Vietnam veteran and native Californian named Kenneth Deardorff filed a homestead claim on 80 acres of land on the Stony River in southwestern Alaska. He fulfilled all requirements of the homestead act in 1979 but did not receive his deed until May 1988. It ended the labor shortage, as war veterans went to work on the railroad. , In 1916, the Stock-Raising Homestead Act was passed for settlers seeking 640 acres (260 ha) of public land for ranching purposes.. It was not very successful, as even the low prices and fees were often too much for the applicants to afford.. , The Homestead Acts had few qualifying requirements. Learn more about who was involved, why the strike occurred, what its outcome was, and what its lasting significance is. By the end of 1870, only 28 homestead claims had been filed in North Dakota. feet of space. Facts, information and articles about Homestead Act, an event of Westward Expansion from the Wild West. What was the most responsible for bringing an end to the era of the wide-open western frontier? ", Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Homestead National Monument: Frequently Asked Questions", "How Native Americans battled a brutal land grab by an expanding America". The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. The Homestead Act offered people a way of acquiring land without the needed capital.  After the South seceded and their delegates left Congress in 1861, the Republicans and other supporters from the upper South passed a homestead act. In the early 21st century, some land is still being granted in the Yukon Territory under its Agricultural Lands Program.. The Homestead Act arose from the struggle between the North and the South that culminated in the Civil War (1861–65). Any adult who had never taken up arms against the Federal government of the United States could apply. The Homestead Act of 1862; The Morrill Land Grant Act; The Pacific Railway Act “Head of a Family” The Homestead Act of 1862 stated that any current or future citizen, with a mere ten dollars, could claim a homestead of up to 160 acres of government land, and “improve” the land by putting it to use as a family plot. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 substantially decreased the amount of land available to homesteaders in the West. ", Shanks, Trina R.W. Women and immigrants who had applied for citizenship were eligible. – Land ownership – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand", "Provincial District of Auckland — The Land Act, 1877 | NZETC", "3. President Abraham Lincoln signed the act into law on May 20, 1862. The Legislative Assembly of Quebec did not expand the scope of the 1860 Province of Canada Act (which modern day Quebec was part of in 1860), but did provide in 1868 that such lands were exempt from seizure, and chattels thereon were also exempt for the first ten years of occupation. The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862, and took effect on January 1, 1863. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 substantially decreased the amount of land available to homesteaders in the West. ", Robert Higgs argues that the Homestead Act induced no long-term misallocation of resources. In the end, about 60% of homesteaders abandoned their lands. The Homestead Act remained in effect until it was repealed in 1976, with provisions for homesteading in Alaska until 1986. The Homestead Act was passed by Congress in opposition to President Lincoln's lenient plan for reunification of the United States. Alaska was one of the last places in the country where homesteading remained a viable option into the latter part of the 1900s. The act depleted the Native Americans in the United States of much of their land and natural resources as a result of it being allocated and sold to settlers. The Timber Culture Act granted up to 160 acres of land to a homesteader who would plant at least 40 acres (revised to 10) of trees over a period of several years. During the first year of the SHA, unoccupied southern land was offered exclusively to African Americans and loyal whites, but after 1867 even landless former Confederates applied. , According to Hugh Nibley, much of the rain forest west of Portland, Oregon was acquired by the Oregon Lumber Company by illegal claims under the Act. ... How did the end of the Civil War help railroad construction? , Its leading advocates were Andrew Johnson, George Henry Evans and Horace Greeley. in, Smith, Sherry L. "Single women homesteaders: the perplexing case of, This page was last edited on 21 November 2020, at 17:12.  It gave up to 75 acres (30 ha), with settlers just paying the cost of a survey. President Buchanan vetoed, a homestead act in 1860.  The land was forfeited if they didn't clear enough bush. These tracts may not usually be larger than 5 acres. Survey of the Homestead Strike, the violent labour dispute between the Carnegie Steel Company and many of its workers that occurred on July 6, 1892, in Homestead, Pennsylvania. The Timber Culture Act of 1873 granted land to a claimant who was required to plant trees—the tract could be added to an existing homestead claim and had no residency requirement. The last deed of title turned over to someone under the law was dated 1988, bringing about the end of an era in American history. Most Free-Soilers were absorbed into the Republican Party by the 1860 election. Often, the homestead consisted of several buildings or structures besides the main house. "BLM and the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Desert - A Brief History", "American History; The Homestead Act - Creating Prosperity in America", "Small Farms, Externalities, and the Dust Bowl of the 1930s", "Where is There Consensus Among American Economic Historians? Alaska was one of the last places in the country where homesteading remained a viable option into the latter part of the 1900s. creating a drain on the food supply of American Indians.  There was similar legislation in Westland. There w… In 1976, the Homestead Act in the continental United States was repealed; Alaska followed suit a decade later. , A massive influx of these new farmers, combined with inappropriate cultivation techniques and misunderstanding of the ecology, led to immense land erosion and eventually the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. On March 16, 1936 Congress passed Public Law 480 of the 74th Congress created a new unit in the National Park System on the site of the Daniel Freeman homestead. Learn more about Abraham Lincoln and the West. One of several related United States laws, Subsistence Homesteads provisions under the New Deal – 1930. Settlers found land and filed their claims at the regional land office, usually in individual family units, although others formed closer knit communities. A 5-acre tract would be one which is 660 feet long and 330 feet wide, or its equivalent. A common scheme was for an individual, acting as a front for a large cattle operation, to file for a homestead surrounding a water source, under the pretense that the land was to be used as a farm. In practice, some of these witnesses were bribed or otherwise colluded with the claimant. A homesteader had to be the head of the household or at least twenty-one years old. President Abraham Lincoln’s signing of the Homestead Act on May 20, 1862 granted Americans 160-acre plots of public land for the price a small filing fee. The homestead was an area of public land in the West (usually 160 acres or 65 ha) granted to any US citizen willing to settle on and farm the land. On March 19, 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the law and Homestead National Monument of America "as an appropriate monument to retain for posterity a proper memorial emblematical of the hardships and the pioneer life through which the early settlers passed in the settlement, cultivation and civilization of the Great West.". The Parliament of Canada passed the Dominion Lands Act in 1872 in order to encourage settlement in the Northwest Territories. The Homestead Acts were several laws in the United States by which an applicant could acquire ownership of government land or the public domain, typically called a homestead. Despite the 1840 Treaty of Waitangi provisions for sale of land, the Māori Land Court decided that all land not cultivated by Māori was 'waste land' and belonged to the Crown without purchase. The process had to be complete within seven years. The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 ended homesteading; by that time, federal government policy had shifted to retaining control of western public lands. CONS. Its application was restricted after the passage of the Natural Resources Acts in 1930, and it was finally repealed in 1950.  Homesteading was discontinued in 1976, except in Alaska, where it continued until 1986.  4,000 previously classified Small Tracts were offered at public auction at fair market value, circa 1958, by the Los Angeles Office of BLM. Because Homestead is amazing; it celebrates the Homestead Act of 1862, which ultimately distributed about 10 percent of U.S. land to successful homesteaders. In 1938 Congress passed a law, called the Small Tract Act (STA) of 1938, by which it is possible for any citizen to obtain certain lands from the Federal Government for residence, recreation, or business purposes. The Homestead Act of 1860 did pass in Congress, but it was vetoed by President James Buchanan, a Democrat. Homestead Act of 1862, legislative action that promoted the settlement and development of the American West. An amendment to the Homestead Act of 1862, the Enlarged Homestead Act, was passed in 1909 and doubled the allotted acreage from 160 to 320 acres (65 to 129 ha) in marginal areas. A chart showing number of successful homesteaders by decade and another chart showing the number of acres of land transferred from the Public Domain to ownership by homesteaders over time. All of them were in the Pembina area. Beatrice , NE Under the Homestead Act… , The homesteads were criticized as too small for the environmental conditions on the Great Plains; a homesteader using 19th-century animal-powered tilling and harvesting could not have cultivated the 1500 acres later recommended for dry land farming. However, last person to receive land under this Act was in Alaska in 1988. In all, more than 160 million acres (650 thousand km ; 250 thousand sq mi) of public land, or nearly 10 percent of the total area of the United States, was given away free to 1.6 million homesteaders; most of the homesteads were west of the Mississippi River. This paper was often proudly displayed on a cabin wall and represented the culmination of hard work and determination. A homesteader had only to be the head of a household or at least 21 years of age to claim a 160 acre parcel of land. Because by the early 1900s much of the prime low-lying alluvial land along rivers had been homesteaded, the Enlarged Homestead Act was passed in 1909. , The intent of the first Homestead Act, passed in 1862, was to liberalize the homesteading requirements of the Preemption Act of 1841. Learn more about homestead records. Act of May 20, 1862 (Homestead Act), Public Law 37-64 (12 STAT 392), National Archives and Records Administration. , Newfoundland and Labrador provided for free grants of land upon proof of possession for twenty years prior to 1977, with continuous use for agricultural, business or residential purposes during that time. Which was something that was open to everyone that was now being given out to own. However, it is interesting to note that in 1872 the Homestead Act was extensively updated. This was a total of 10% of all land in the United States. Why did little of the free land offered by the Homestead Act end up being claimed by settlers? After a few generations, a family could build up a sizable estate. Pushing aside the Plains Indians, Republicans passed the Homestead Act to put every man on his own farm; they created public colleges and the Department of Agriculture to make sure poor farmers had access to the newest ideas. 270 millions acres, or 10% of the area of the United States was claimed and settled under this act. When all requirements had been completed and the homesteader was ready the take legal possession, the homesteader found two neighbors or friends willing to vouch for the truth of his or her statements about the land's improvements and sign the "proof" document.  Most New Zealand provinces had Waste Lands Acts enacted between 1854 and 1877. Another amended act, the national Stock-Raising Homestead Act, was passed in 1916 and granted 640 acres (260 ha) for ranching purposes.  The original free grant provisions for settlers were repealed in 1951, and the remaining provisions were repealed in 1961.. And we ended up staying for more than three hours. However, the secession of southern states at the outbreak of the U.S. Civil War brought an end to major opposition. Some 270 million acres were distributed under it.  Although the intent was to grant land for agriculture, in the arid areas east of the Rocky Mountains, 640 acres (260 ha) was generally too little land for a viable farm (at least prior to major federal public investments in irrigation projects).  Later known as the Settlers Protection Act, it was repealed in 1984. Over the years, the Taylor Grazing Act (founded in 1934) would considerably decrease the amount of land that was available to homesteaders.  Similar programs continued to operate in Alberta and British Columbia until 1970. Because much of the prime land had been homesteaded decades earlier, successful Homestead claims dropped sharply after this time. In 1976 the Homestead Act was repealed. Once the land was granted, other cattle ranchers would be denied the use of that water source, effectively closing off the adjacent public land to competition. Some scholars believe the acreage limits were reasonable when the act was written, but reveal that no one understood the physical conditions of the plains. – Land ownership – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand", U.S. Bureau of Land Management Homesteading Timeline, National Archives and Records Administration, "Adeline Hornbek and the Homestead Act: A Colorado Success Story", Homesteaders and Pioneers on the Olympic Peninsula, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Homestead_Acts&oldid=989895364, United States federal public land legislation, History of agriculture in the United States, Articles with dead external links from November 2017, Articles with permanently dead external links, Articles with French-language sources (fr), Short description is different from Wikidata, All Wikipedia articles written in American English, Articles needing additional references from May 2018, All articles needing additional references, Articles with trivia sections from October 2018, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Phillips, Sarah T., 2000, "Antebellum Agricultural Reform, Republican Ideology, and Sectional Tension. Pinkertons ended up surrendering and at the end three Pinkertons and Seven workers were killed.
2020 when did the homestead act end