The story of homesteading is one of the most popular narratives within the history of the American West. Rugged individuals moving west in search of free land is told and retold in well-known fictions such as Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! (New York, 1913), O. E. Rolvaag’s Giants in the Earth (New York, 1927), and Laura Ingalls Wilder’s nine Little House on the Prairie novels (New York, 1932–1971). Much of the historical evidence seems to follow along, portraying “homesteaders as hardy and deserving recipients of federal largesse, common folks who used their opportunity to make farms for themselves, turn the United States into a food-producing colossus, and help create the vast American middle class” (1). Either the 1862 Homestead Act was “one of the most important laws which have been enacted in the history of the country,” as Gates, a land historian, suggested, or according to many of the New Western...
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August 01 2018
Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History
Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History. By
University of Nebraska Press,
David D. Vail
University of Nebraska, Kearney
Online Issn: 1530-9169
Print Issn: 0022-1953
© 2018 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and The Journal of Interdisciplinary History, Inc.
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2018) 49 (2): 341–343.
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David D. Vail; Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History. The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 2018; 49 (2): 341–343. doi: https://doi.org/10.1162/jinh_r_01287
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