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In What Way That American Western Land Policy Affects United States's Economy - Research Paper Example

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In what ways that American Western Land Policy affects United State’s Economy? Introduction: If we look at the history of America we will notice that each part, north, south and East, had a unique economic attraction…
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In What Way That American Western Land Policy Affects United Statess Economy
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"In What Way That American Western Land Policy Affects United States's Economy"

Download file to see previous pages Generally in European countries at that time landlords owned most of the territories and peasants were working as a lower class servants. But US federal government, far sighting the future, came up with a different policy. They acquired the whole land and then redistributed it to common man. The Land Ordinance of 1785 made it easy for a settler to acquire a land of his own. The distribution of the land was intelligently crafted into sections of square mile with four equal subsections of 160 acre. (White 1991). These subsections were then sold at public auctions. Federal Land Policy: The distribution of land was initiated at a fair price of $2 per acre but the condition was to minimally buy the whole subsector of 160 acre. To ease the burden the money can be given over four years. Although the aim of land policy was to encourage a common man in buying the land, this policy also favored the speculators. They bought a lot of land with a vision that raised price in future will provide them with a hefty profit. In the beginning, however, the process of land distribution was not well organized as federal land offices were located miles away from the distributed lands. But much amendments were made in the 1820s when the price of per acre was reduced to 1.2$ and minimum land acquisition requirement reduced to 80 acres only. Also the federal land offices were placed at convenient locations to facilitate the process. These changes significantly increase the number of buyer as more and more common men could afford the price now. Problem of squatter was on the rise and Pre-Emption Act was introduced to allow them buy the respective land at a discounted price of 1.25$ per acre (White 1999). Homestead Act: In 1862, despite the civil war in progress, congress came up with a homestead act. This was to facilitate availability of land to the real settlers on the public domain. Under this act an individual who is an American citizen or migrated here and is in process of citizenship can apply for a land in public domain. The maximum area under this was about a quarter sections. If a person resides on the land for five years, the land is granted in his name. But the condition applies that he should not leave the place for more than 6 months or in else the land can be taken back by the government. Or the person can buy this land at discounted rates. In the span of 122 years (1862-1986) government sold about 25% of land under Homestead Act. It provided capital for stabilizing economy as well as provided a new home and settlement for many citizens. Railway Road Grants: Between 1862 and 1872 congress gave railway road grants to develop railway tracks. About 125 million acre of land was granted for such development. This was to result in economic boost with no theoretical loss of money in grants. It was speculated that the land near the railway tracks will have double the actual value hence recovering the money lost in land grants. (White 1991). These rail roads acted as a catalyst in increasing the rate of settlement. Many new settlements emerged along the tracks. Also it supported the farmers as they found a medium for cheap transportation of their goods. As a simple rule of economics, before a significant large scale production of any commodity is achieved, it is very important to have an access to open markets where these products could be sold. Another important ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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