Land Settlement for the Unemployed

October 19, 1933

Report Outline
New and Old Policies in Federal Land Settlement
Origin and Aim of Subsistence Homesteads Project
Plans for Use of the Subsistence Homesteads Fund
Federal Colonization Proposals; State Experiments
Land Settlement Practices of Foreign Countries

New and Old Policies in Federal Land Settlement

Acquisition by the Department of the Interior of land in West Virginia on which will be established a colony for unemployed coal miners and their families, announced last week, constituted the intitial step in actual application of a new federal experiment in land settlement. The West Virginia project and a somewhat similar enterprise started by the Dayton (Ohio) Council of Social Agencies, which has been given federal support, are the first to benefit from a $25,000,000 fund provided by Congress to aid in the purchase of subsistence homesteads. This little-understood venture, authorized by an inconspicuous eight-line section of the National Recovery Act, has been undertaken as a means of permanently improving the economic position of a segment of the unemployed population. In its broader aspects, it is a movement which has as its ultimate objective the decentralization of industry and the development in the United States of a better balanced society based on a carefully planned economic order.

The present program for providing government assistance in placing families on the land differs distinctly from the homestead policies under which the public domain was opened for settlement. The great resources of the public land areas of the West and the absence of crop surplus problems such as those which have depressed agriculture during the last decade permitted the federal government in earlier days to pass laws offering liberal inducements to prospective settlers on vacant lands, with no provision for directing or supervising the movement from the standpoint of economic or human considerations. While the Bureau of Reclamation has given careful attention to such matters in carrying out its irrigation and settlement projects, settlements under the homestead laws, which reached their peak in 1913, were encouraged by a policy based only on the idea of bringing about the occupation “of the wilderness areas and the creation of additional states beyond the frontiers of the original thirteen states.”

In contrast, the policy behind the current homestead project aims at supervised utilization of small land areas rather than unrestrained development of vast tracts. It has a social rather than a political purpose. And it is advanced chiefly as a corrective of industrial conditions unknown in the earlier period.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
New Deal, Great Depression, and Economic Recovery
Feb. 20, 2009  Public-Works Projects
Jul. 25, 1986  New Deal for the Family
Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
Nov. 18, 1944  Postwar Public Works
Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
Jun. 08, 1937  Experiments in Price Control
Jan. 05, 1937  Credit Policy and Control of Recovery
Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
Dec. 11, 1935  Capital Goods Industries and Recovery
Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
Dec. 04, 1934  Rural Electrification and Power Rates
Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
Jan. 02, 1934  The Adjustment of Municipal Debts
Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
Oct. 19, 1933  Land Settlement for the Unemployed
Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
May 03, 1933  Economic Readjustments Essential to Prosperity
Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
Feb. 25, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Brokers' Loans
Economic Crises
Unemployment and Employment Programs