- Associated Press - Saturday, October 13, 2018

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska congressman is seeking to reclassify the Homestead National Monument in southeastern Nebraska as a National Historical Park.

Republican Rep. Adrian Smith, who represents Nebraska’s vast rural 3rd District, announced his bill Thursday in a news release. Smith says the bill in intended to ensure the cultural and historical value of the 100-acre site just west of Beatrice.

The monument commemorates the Homestead Act of 1862, which allowed any adult citizen or intended citizen, who had never fought against the U.S. government, could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. They had to improve the land by putting up homes and farming it, too. After five years, the filers were entitled to the land.

America gave away 270 million acres between January 1863 and 1976 under the act.

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