SAT Subject US History Practice Question 1064: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 1064

3. The purpose of the Homestead Act was to

A. attract people to settle in the West.
B. promote the development of railroad building in the West.
C. raise revenue for the federal government.
D. preserve open lands in the West for future generations to enjoy.
E. transfer large tracts of land to giant agricultural concerns.

Correct Answer: A


The government hoped to attract people to the West by offering them free land if they made a commitment to stay there for five years. The government did promote railroad development in the West by granting land to the railroad companies, but not through the Homestead Act. The land was given away; it did not directly raise money for federal government. The act encouraged settlement, not preservation, of lands in the West. The government did later move to preserve some Western lands through the creation of national parks. Choice (E) sounds plausible, because much of the homesteaded land did eventually end up in the hands of large farming concerns, but this was not the purpose of the act.

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