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From 1862 to 1986, the United States government ran a homestead program that gave 2,992,058 white settlers and European immigrants (both documented and undocumented) a minimum of 160 acres of land from the Mississippi River to the West coast of America, including the Alaskan territory.

Authorized by the Homestead Act of 1862, this land giveaway program ended for all participating states in 1976 and ended for land awards in Alaska in 1986.

White recipients in the land giveaway program were recruited through a widespread, government-sponsored advertising campaign in newspapers in America and Europe. The land was awarded to applicants who promised to live on it and develop the land for five years. Title to the property vested at the end of this five-year period.

Claimants paid total filing fees of $18 and $1.25 per acre after six-months of residency. These below-market land acquisition rates essentially made the land a free gift to the recipients.

Congress passed additional laws in 1873 that allowed the government to award larger tracts of land to these white settlers and immigrants. A lot of the land grants included property that had timber rights, mineral rights, and oil and gas reserves, all of which the government eventually released to the land owners through various legislative enactments.

In all, more than 270 million acres of valuable land — about ten percent of the land area of the United States — was given to white settlers and immigrants.

The Homestead Act of 1862 was a 124-year-long, government-sponsored, wealth transfer program for a particular class of people — white settlers and immigrants. It was the longest running, race-based, affirmative action program in United States history.

Ironically, some of the descendants of the beneficiaries of this affirmative action program for whites were the first ones to claim their status as the “victims” of “reverse discrimination” in the 1970s and 80s.

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Source of original article: Black Star News (www.blackstarnews.com).
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