As in contemporary Germany and Japan, the new American nation-state that emerged during the Civil War was committed to rapid economic development. Congress adopted policies that promoted economic growth and permanently altered the nation’s financial system. With the South now unrepresented, the lawmakers adopted pohcies long advocated by many northerners. To spur agricultural development, the Homestead Act offered 160 acres of free public land to settlers in the West. It took effect on January 1,1863, the same day as the Emancipation Proclamation, and like the Proclamation, tried to implement a vision of freedom. By the 1930s, more than 400,000 families had acquired farms under its provisions. In addition, the Land Grant College Act assisted the states in establishing “agricultural and mechanic colleges.”

Sheet music for two of the best-known patriotic songs written during the Civil War.

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