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The economic development of the American West is, in microcosm, an exemplar of that of the world. This is even significant in that the critical early stages of development that determined its essential character and the transition from one stage of development to the next were condensed into a single generation. This was the period from 1862, with the passage of Abraham Lincoln's Homestead Act, to the Panic of 1893 that signaled a wholesale change in the U.S. economy from an ownership-based system to a wage system. In this context, economic development is the qualitative measure of progress in an economy as seen in the adoption of new technologies and the transition to different bases of economic activity, for example, from hunting-gathering to agriculture and ...

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