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The West, 1850-1900
Guide: Homestead Act

These resources on the Homestead Act provide insight into how the act helped to develop the West. Use these resources to develop your students' understanding of how the Homestead Act affected westward expansion. Use the Export to My Lists button above to turn this into a research list for your students.

Time Period Key Understandings

  • Opportunities have been extended to certain groups of Americans while denied to other groups.
  • Social and economic changes due to technological advancement can have positive and negative effects.
  • Wealth can be used to influence people and politics in positive and negative ways.
  • Immigrants' decisions to leave their homeland are based on push and pull factors.
  • Organizations and people can advocate for and obtain social change.

Key Questions

  • What was the Homestead Act? How did it impact Native Americans?
  • Who were the Exodusters? How were their experiences different than those of white settlers?
  • What challenges and opportunities did the various groups of people face during westward expansion?


  1. Overview: Homestead Act
  2. Visuals: Homestead Act (Visual)
  3. Outlines: Outline
  4. Transcripts: Transcript
  5. Lesson: Introduction
  6. Lesson: 1-Politics of the Bill
  7. Lesson: 2-Farming on the Great Plains
  8. Lesson: 3-Daily Life on the Great Plains
  9. Lesson: Closing
  10. Investigate Activities: My Ántonia
  11. Photos & Illustrations: Overland Trail stagecoach
  12. Reference Articles: American settlers in the Pacific Northwest
  13. Reference Articles: California Gold Rush
  14. Reference Articles: Chinese Immigrants
  15. Reference Articles: Exodusters
  16. Reference Articles: Granger movement
  17. Reference Articles: West, The, 1850–1900
  18. Reference Articles: Oklahoma land rush
  19. Political Cartoons, Posters & Document Images: Homestead Act: advertisement
  20. Political, Government & Court Documents: Chinese Exclusion Act (1882)
  21. Political, Government & Court Documents: Homestead Act (1862)
  22. Political, Government & Court Documents: Kansas-Nebraska Act (1854)
  23. Political, Government & Court Documents: Morrill Act (1862)
  24. Maps: Westward Migration, 1830-1848
  25. Maps: Transcontinental Railroads, 1900

MLA Citation

"Homestead Act." History Hub, ABC-CLIO, 2019, historyhub.abc-clio.com/Support/Content/2153109?cid=256. Accessed 15 Oct. 2019.

Entry ID: 2153109

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