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David Wishart

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Glanz, T.A. (2020). Federal land-use policy and resettlement in the Great Plains: An experiment in community development during the New Deal years, 1933-1941. Retrieved from


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Geography, Under the Supervision of Professor David Wishart. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2020

Copyright 2020 Theresa A. Glanz


In 1933, the United States federal government authorized the National Industrial Recovery Act to help the country recover from the Great Depression. Section 208, Title II of the National Industrial Recovery Act authorized the creation of subsistence homesteads to aid in the recovery of destitute rural families and the urban unemployed. Between 1933 and 1941, the United States federal government authorized the construction of 207 rural and urban resettlement communities to house impoverished farm families and unemployed urban workers. The projects were located throughout the United States, including in the territories of Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The resettlement communities were designed as small-scale farmsteads that allowed the residents space to grow produce and raise livestock for family consumption with the goal of keeping the settlers off government relief rolls. The Division of Subsistence Homesteads, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, and the Resettlement Administration were the primary federal agencies with administrative oversight of the various projects. Despite the support of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt for the resettlement communities, they never did receive congressional support and as a result the Resettlement Administration was defunded in 1937 by the Bankhead-Jones Farm Tenant Act. This dissertation examines the federal agencies involved in the resettlement projects’ creation and describes the communities built within the United States with an emphasis on the communities built in Nebraska.

Advisor: David Wishart

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