Land Title Origins: A Tale of Force and Fraud
By Alfred N. Chandler
2000/05 - Beard Books
1893122891 - Paperback - Reprint - 565 pp.
The engrossing story of early land ownership in America, based primarily on manipulation and land grabbing by powerful politicians.
A large part of the history of mankind is the story of the increase in population compelling the migration of people to acquire land on which to live and maintain themselves, and of wars to govern and exact tribute of others. Mass migration of Europeans to America was caused, not by widespread desire for religious freedom as often declared but by craving for land, and to escape the poverty in Europe emanating from feudalism. Thus begins this fascinating, exhaustively researched treatise on land ownership in North America, rich with detail on land holdings, transfers, and prices. Land tenure was manipulated by European monarchs from the early 1600's through the Revolutionary War. In the first century of the existence of the United States Government, greedy and unscrupulous men of political power and influence grabbed vast expanses of the public domain. Stopping short of nationalization, the author proposes a reform plan that would permit landowners to keep title to their properties, but require that rents be paid to the state. A story to be enjoyed by all historians,
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Alfred N. Chandler's family arrived in the New World in 1687. He taught for many years at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and was a tireless advocate of land reform.