Reclamation Act (1902)

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  • The Reclamation Act, also called the National Reclamation Act—or the Newlands Act, after its sponsor, Rep. Francis Newlands, D-Nev.—was signed into law on June 17, 1902. The act was the result of a popular movement to reclaim arid lands and make them suitable for agriculture. It was believed that reclamation would attract settlers who would be able to make a living on 160 acres of irrigated land. Momentum for the idea increased during the 1890s, when a series of irrigation congresses urged the federal government to pass a reclamation law, arguing that only the federal government had the resources to build large irrigation projects. President Theodore Roosevelt supported passage of the bill in the belief that people living in crowded cities would see new opportunities ...

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