Writing & Language
One of the primary shortcomings of the Homestead Act of 1862, a program through which the federal government offered free plots of land to US citizens willing to establish farms in the American West, was that the plots were too small to sustain a farm. Land in the semiarid Great Plains region received twenty or fewer inches of rain per year, so plots there were best left half unplanted each growing season to conserve water. With farms consisting of a mere 160 acres, however, this practice would not have produced sufficient harvests. Moreover, raising cattle was impossible because the tiny homesteads would quickly become overgrazed. Between 1862 and 1904, only 80 million of the 500 million acres disbursed by the General Land Office went to homesteaders.
Which choice most effectively provides support for the paragraph's primary claim?
B.Regarding the Homestead Act, President Ronald Reagan once said, "I've long believed that one of the mainsprings of our own liberty has been the widespread ownership of property among our people."
C.According to geologist and explorer John Wesley Powell, sustainable homesteads on the Great Plains actually needed to be a staggering 2,560 acres.
D.In later years, the government passed amendments to the Homestead Act of 1862.