Viewing "Pre-emption Law." (1859)
The passage of the Pre-emption Act of 1841 marked a change in federal policy from the sale of public land to raise revenue to offering lands to encourage the settlement of western states and territories. Pre-emptors--or settlers or squatters--could acquire title by making minor "improvements" to the land they lived on. To make the process understandable to settlers, many of whom were foreign-born, newspapers printed articles on how to file a pre-emption claim with the local federal Land Office. On May 19, 1859, "The Belle Plaine Enquirer" published "Pre-emption Law," which listed the requirements of the legislation.