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History 605 S3; Ep 17: New ideas about the old Homestead

In this episode, we learn an important lesson about why we do our own thinking. We chat with Jacob Friefeld and Rebecca Wingo about their book, "Homesteading the Plains: Toward a New History," and the impact on the nation of the 1862 Homestead Act. Their work shows that historians for decades have taught this issue incorrectly. For farmers and ranchers, for blacks and whites, for men and women who "proved up" on their claim, the law was tremendously successful at achieving Congress' aim. For American Indians in South Dakota, the law accelerated dispossession. Want to wade through some of the data for yourself or get more information about the book? See: Our Data (