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In 1862, Congress passed four landmark pieces of legislation: the Homestead Act, the Morrill Act, the Pacific Railroad Act, and the act to establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture; it was also the year of the fateful Dakota Conflict. These acts and events funda-mentally shaped the Great Plains as well as the nation.

Videos of our featured speaker's presentations are below.






Donald Worster

An Unquenchable Thirst:
How the Great Plains Created a Water Abundance and then Lost It

Donald Worster
University of Kansas

Co-sponsored by the E.N. Thompson Forum on World Issues

Elliott West

1862: Another Year of Decision

Elliott West
University of Arkansas
Martin Jischke

The Morrill Land Grant Act:
Investing in America's Future

Martin Jischke
Purdue University

Richard White

Too Early? Too Many? Too Bad?: Railroads and American Settlement on the Great Plains

Richard White
Stanford University

David Von Drehle

So Many Important Questions: The 37th Congress and the New America

David Von Drehle
Time Magazine

William Thomas III

Railroads, Art, and the Making of Modern America

William Thomas, III
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Myron Gutmann

Do People Matter? Population, Farming, and Environmental Change in the Settlement of the Plains

Myron Gutmann
University of Michigan

Sarah Carter

Erasing and Replacing: Prairie First Nations and the Homestead Order

Sarah Carter
University of Alberta

Daniel Wildcat

The Coming Tribal Reclamation of the Great Plains

Daniel Wildcat
Haskell Indian Nations University

David Wishart

The Dispossession of the Eastern Nebraska Indians, Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing, and Cultural Genocide

David Wishart
University of Nebraska-Lincoln