Due to a special event, on Wednesday, July 8, there will be no tours of the U.S. Capitol after 11 a.m. Emancipation Hall and Exhibition Hall in the Capitol Visitor Center will be unavailable all day. While reservations prior to 11 a.m. will be honored, same-day passes will not be available. The Capitol Visitor Center will close at noon except for individuals on official business and those going to the House and Senate Galleries.

Exhibit Theme

The First Homesteaders

Next Image Next Image Previous Image Previous Image
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.”

Click here to view an excerpt

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