Homestead Act(redirected from Homesteads Act)
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An act passed by Congress in 1862 enabling persons who settled on undeveloped 160-acre tracts of land to gain title after meeting certain criteria, such as residing on and cultivating the land for five years after the initial claim.
1. (Law) an act passed by the US Congress in 1862 making available to settlers 160-acre tracts of public land for cultivation
2. (Law) (in Canada) a similar act passed by the Canadian Parliament in 1872
a special act of Congress (1862) that made public lands in the West available to settlers without payment, usu. in lots of 160 acres, to be used as farms.