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The federal government was not created to be the owner of the land; it was created expressly to get the “right of soil” out of the hands of a king – that is, out of the hands of government..
The sovereign right of the king to own, to tax and control the use of land led directly to the Declaration of Independence in 1776, and, after six years of bloody war, to the Treaty of Paris in 1783. This treaty was not with the federal government, which did not yet exist. The treaty was between the king of England and each of the enumerated states. The treaty specifically recognizes these states:
…to be free sovereign and independent states, that he [the king] treats with them as such, and for himself, his heirs, and successors, relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety, and territorial rights of the same and every part thereof.
In 1863 the first claim under the Homestead Act was made by Daniel Freeman for a farm in Nebraska. The Homestead Acts were several United States federal laws that gave an applicant ownership of land, typically called a "homestead", at little or no cost. Between 1862 and 1934, the federal government granted 1.6 million homesteads and distributed 270,000,000 acres (420,000 sq mi) of federal land for private ownership. This was a total of 10% of all land in the United States.
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