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How did government policy change American agriculture in the period 1865–1900? 

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The Homestead Act opened up land in the West to new settlement. Many German and Eastern European immigrants came to the Great Plains and saw land that looked a lot like home. They planted wheat and made the United States the breadbasket of the world.

The United States also underwent a railroad boom after the Civil War. The Transcontinental Railroad, finished in 1869, united California with the rest of the United States. The federal government also gave land grants to railroads, thus giving them incentive to build more branch lines. Thanks to the railroad, cattle from Texas could be driven to rail heads in Kansas and then shipped East where the demand for them was quite high. Railroads also controlled shipping prices and often gouged farmers. This led to the Grange...

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