Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1936

Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1936

Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1936

Our Landed Heritage: The Public Domain, 1776-1936

Excerpt

With the executive withdrawals of all public lands from private entry in 1935, the opportunity for individual settlement on the public domain officially came to an end. For the future there remained only the consideration of the permanent national domain -- national parks, forest reserves, game reserves, grazing and mineral lands. The time is thus ripe for a synthesis on the history of the public lands of the United States.

This volume presents perhaps the first attempt to integrate American land history with the other forces that have shaped our civilization. It is not all political, economic and legal; considerable social history is inextricably bound up with public land settlement, which helps to make the whole story livelier and more interesting. This volume therefore constitutes not only a study in history and in public administration, but also a study in American democracy. Hence it is hoped that the research in this book will help to sustain within certain stipulated limitations that portion of Frederick Jackson Turner's frontier hypothesis as stated in 1903:

"Whenever social conditions tended to crystallize in the East, whenever capital tended to press upon labor or political restraints to impede the freedom of the mass, there was this gate of escape to the free conditions of the frontier. These free lands promoted individualism, economic equality, freedom to rise, democracy. . . . In a word then, free lands meant free opportunities."

The author is deeply indebted to the Social Science Research Council for a grant-in-aid awarded in 1937 for the purpose of making a study of public reaction to the conservation movement in the Rocky Mountain and Pacific Coast regions during the period, 1890 to 1920. Grateful acknowledgment is also made for the considerate assistance of the staffs of the following libraries: the Wisconsin State Historical Society Library, the Western Reserve Historical Society Library, the Library of Congress, the University of Washington Library, the Seattle Public Library, the Bancroft Library of the University of California, and the . . .

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