The Homestead Act was designed to lure people to the West, and offered people 160 acres of land if they moved to that area while following a few stipulations. Those stipulations included living on the land for 5 continuous years and paying a filing fee.
The Homestead Act became law during President Abraham Lincoln's presidency in 1862. It was notable because it also allowed freed slaves to participate. The Homestead Act, however, was not as wonderful as many people thought it would be, as many of the people who moved to the West did not have the resources or the knowledge to build successful farms in order to support themselves.