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Julius Wilm—”Populist Politics and Settlement Practice: Free Land in Arkansas from the 1830s to the 1920s”

CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies Presents LEGACIES & LUNCH

Speaker: Julius Wilm

Historians typically associate homesteading (the practice of settlers claiming government land free of charge through improvement) with the Great Plains states. Yet, one could argue that Arkansas is a particularly prominent location in this history: As early as the 1830s, petition campaigns from the Arkansas Territory demanded such a law, and beginning in 1840, the state government distributed tax-forfeited lands under conditions that anticipated the 1862 federal Homestead Act. Moreover, statistics show that from the 1870s to 1920s, tens of thousands of Arkansans used the federal law to acquire farms within their state.

In his talk, scholar Julius Wilm traces the long history of free land in Arkansas from the campaigns of the 1830s to the settlements of the Reconstruction and post-Reconstruction eras. In doing so, he presents his research and poses questions about Arkansas’s social history that have yet to be definitively answered.

Julius Wilm is a postdoctoral researcher at Leipzig University’s Collaborative Research Project 1199: “Processes of Spatialization under the Global Condition.” In his book Settlers as Conquerors: Free Land Policy in Antebellum America (2018), he traces the history of early federal free land schemes and their role as instruments of conquering Indigenous land. This year, he published (with Robert K. Nelson and Justin Madron) the web map “Land Acquisition and Dispossession: Mapping the Homestead Act, 1862–1912” (https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/homesteading/). His current research focuses on the intersection of democratic and imperial spatialization imperatives in the post–Civil War United States.

Register for Webinar

Legacies & Lunch is a hybrid program—offering participants the opportunity to attend either in person or virtually via Zoom. To participate in person, join us in Room 124 of the CALS Roberts Library (401 President Clinton Ave). Parking is available in the surface lot south of Roberts or the CALS Parking Deck across Rock Street. Parking will be validated. Bring your lunch; we will provide drinks and cookies. To participate virtually, register for the webinar using the button above.

This program will be live-streamed to YouTube and the recording will be available immediately following the event.


About Legacies & Lunch

Legacies & Lunch is a free monthly program of CALS Butler Center for Arkansas Studies about Arkansas-related topics.

Past Legacies & Lunch Events