The Homestead Act hastened the day when the American farm belt would become the world’s most productive farmland. The universities established by the Morrill Act helped produce the world’s most educated workforce. The transcontinental railroad knit a continent-sized nation together without the need for centralized autocracy: an achievement then unique in world history. Each of these pieces of legislation was simple. Complex calculations were left to the homesteaders, to students and professors, to the workers who laid the track and the engineers who helped find a path through the mountains. They, not some 19th-century Timothy Geithner, were the ones who put in 15-hour days in order for these laws to succeed. The results were abundantly positive. These three laws helped America become both the world’s workshop and the world’s farm–a combination no other nation has achieved.