Still, Bell rightly notes that the act was an immigration law in effect as well as intent. By 1870, the foreign-born population of Wyoming and Montana was 39 percent; of Dakota Territory's, 34 percent; of Nebraska's, 25 percent. And the peak years of national immigration, 1905-14, were the peak years of homestead claims.
Skeptics will say that the Homestead Act which welcomed immigrants to a sparsely populated continent is irrelevant to today. Skeptics should consider not only that immigration is still an entrepreneurial act but also that as the entitlement state buckles beneath the weight of an aging population, America's workforce needs replenishing.
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