Thursday, December 27, 2012

George Will on foreign-born homesteaders

In a concise column yesterday, George Will recounts the Homestead Act of 1862 and its effect on immigration in the 19th century. Noteworthy elements are the statistics on the share foreign-born along the frontier in the Census of 1870, approaching 40 percent; and that less than a sixth of the land dispersed by 1904 had actually gone to homesteaders rather than "sharpies" (speculators, railroads). Love that word! Then Will closes with the oft-heard but worth repeating remark about the value of immigration in the context of an aging population with rising entitlements.