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Homestead Act launches a new era in Montana

(part 2 of 3)

Several short-term trends helped trigger Montana's remarkable homestead boom. The most significant was the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909, which doubled the free land available to settlers to 320 acres. In 1912, Congress went even farther, lowering the required waiting period for land acquisition from five to three years, while also permitting homesteaders to be absent from their lands five months of each year. Together, these laws generated an eager response, ensuring that nearly 32 million acres of Montana land would pass from public to private hands.

Equally significant in attracting homest...


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