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Pioneering on the Plains
Class set order code: 6218S
The Homestead Act of 1862 opened the land of the American Midwest to anyone willing to work for it, and this book tells the stories of two of the pioneers who battled Mother Nature to make a living in those vast, wind-swept prairies.
When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Homestead Act into law in 1862, people all over the world—not just Americans—jumped at the chance to become landowners in the vast Midwest of the United States. The purpose of the act was twofold: to encourage western expansion across the country, and to give people who might not otherwise have one a chance to better themselves as property owners. It was an incredible opportunity, especially for former slaves, women, and immigrants who wanted to build a new life for themselves in America.
That 270 million acres were settled as a result of the Homestead Act—a full 10% of the country—belies the facts of how hard it was to homestead in the Great Plains. It was backbreaking work, and it was not for everyone. People in the eastern states often came to sudden and sharp realizations about the work involved and the challenges that might ultimately foil their attempts at success. Still, however, the dedicated pressed on, and eventually small farms dotted the horizon that previously had been unbroken, often by even a single tree.
This book contains only two stories, and each of them is longer than many of the stories in the other novels that make up the broader collection of Adventures on the American Frontier books. However, these two stories follow characters through their experiences in more depth and with more detail than the others, almost like small novellas rather than short stories. Each story presents a picture of life on the prairie, one in Iowa and one in Kansas, that will stay with readers long after they turn the last page.
This book is also available as a series of dyslexia-friendly books. (See below.)