60 years of the BLM

Part 2 - Settling a Nation

[Text from History of the BLM video, part 2]

Slide #10 History/Settling a Nation (Title)

  • With the major acquisitions complete, the task of settling the public lands began.

Slide #11 The Settlement Era

  • The Settlement Era began with a dual problem: The people were restless and there was little money in the Treasury.
  • American ingenuity provided a solution: make use of the lands acquired, starting with the 237 million acres ceded by the original 13 colonies to the newly formed United State government.

Slide #12 The Idea for a Land Office

  • The challenge then became – how to get these lands into the hands of the new U.S. citizens for cultivation and settlement.
  • Alexander Hamilton, then Secretary of the Treasury, conceived the idea of a new government agency, which he called the General Land Office.
  • Like many good ideas in government -- this one took time – two years actually – to be enacted into law.
  • But this new agency became the forebear of today’s Bureau of Land Management.
  • The transfer of public lands into private ownership was done through formal Land Patents.

Slide #13 Great Westward Migration

  • Starting in Ohio, the GLO established offices to sell tracts of land to settlers.
  • To complete these transfers, land surveys were done and title documents completed by the thousands.
  • Indiana and Michigan were next, then south and west to Tennessee and Georgia.
  • The “interior” of the United States now warranted its own Cabinet-level Department and the General Land Office became an agency within the new U.S. Department of the Interior.
  • Thomas Ewing of Ohio, who came from the General Land Office, became the first Interior Secretary.

Slide #14 The Great Land Rush (photo)

  • In scenes like this one repeated throughout this period, hardy settlers gathered in government tents.
  • They looked at large maps and townsites hastily established.
  • And chose their own section of land – starting out at the bargain price of 2 cents an acre -- to move the nation’s Manifest Destiny westward.

60 Years of the BLM - History video, part 2: broadband, dial-up