Dividing the Land: Early American Beginnings of Our Private Property Mosaic
University of Chicago Press, Apr 15, 1995 - Business & Economics - 410 pages
Many property lines drawn in early America still survive today and continue to shape the landscape and character of the United States. Surprisingly, though, no one until now has thoroughly examined the process by which land was divided into private property and distributed to settlers from the beginning of colonization to early nationhood.
In this unprecedented study, Edward T. Price covers most areas of the United States in which the initial division of land was controlled by colonial governments—the original thirteen colonies, and Maine, Vermont, Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana, and Texas. By examining different land policies and the irregular pattern of property that resulted from them, Price chronicles the many ways colonies managed land to promote settlement, develop agriculture, defend frontiers, and attract investment. His analysis reveals as much about land planning techiniques carried to America from Europe as innovations spurred by the unique circumstances of the new world.
Price’s analysis draws on his thorough survey of property records from the first land plans in Virginia in 1607 to empresario grants in Texas in the 1820s. This breadth of data allows him to identify regional differences in allocating land, assess the impact of land planning by historical figures like William Penn of Pennsylvania and Lord Baltimore of Maryland, and trace changes in patterns of land division and ownership through transfers of power among Britain, the Netherlands, France, Spain, Mexico, and the Republic of Texas.
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Framework of the Land
Diffusion of Townships
Commercially Founded Towns
Control and Disposition of Land
SeventeenthCentury Land Division
EighteenthCentury Colonial Land Division
Land Division in New Jersey and on
The Penn Proprietorship
Land Division Initiated
The Many Templates of Texas Land Division
Summary Conclusion Aftermath
Surveying and Property Boundaries
Size Distribution Samples of Land Grants
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Common terms and phrases
acres actually American became boundaries bounds century changes claims colonies common Company Connecticut County developed directions distribution divided Dutch earlier early east England English estates farmers farms fifty five followed four French Georgia grid half headrights held History holdings included Indians individual irregular Jersey laid land division land grant larger later least limited lines longlots lots Louisiana Maine manors Maryland Massachusetts miles Neck North Northern offered Office original owners parcels patents patterns Pennsylvania period plantations policies present Press probably proprietors purchase range received rectangular regular remained residents River roads separate settled settlement settlers shares shows side sold South Carolina Southern speculators square strips survey surveyors tenants Texas town townships tracts United University usually village Virginia West Jersey western York
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