In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

Exhibit Theme

The First Homesteaders

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H.R. 125, The Homestead Act,...
Image Caption

H.R. 125, The Homestead Act, printed House bill with Senate changes, March 3, 1862

Congress passed the Homestead Act during the Civil War and included in the legislation a bounty for Union soldiers, who could deduct their period of military service from the five-year residency required for title to the land. Homesteads were granted only to those who had “never borne arms against the United States government.”

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To secure homesteads to actual settlers on the public domain, and to provide a bounty for soldiers, in lieu of grants of the public lands.

Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration