Agrarian Reform in Latin America

Agrarian Reform in Latin America

Agrarian Reform in Latin America

Agrarian Reform in Latin America

Excerpt

. . . . great confiscations of Tory estates were carried out by the state legislatures, generally in the height of the war. New Hampshire confiscated twenty-eight estates, including the large property of its governor, Sir John Wentworth. In Massachusetts a sweeping act confiscated at one blow all the property of all who had fought against the United States or bad even retired into places under British authority without permission from the American government. Among the lands confiscated by special mention were those of Sir William Pepperell, the second baronet of that name, whose vast estate in Maine extended so far along the coast that it was said he could ride all the way from Kittery Point to Saco, a distance of thirty miles, on his own land. In New York, all lands and rents of the crown and all estates of fifty-nine named persons were confiscated, the greatest among them, probably being that of the Philipse connection. Probably something like three hundred square miles of the old Philipse estate were confiscated, bringing value of several hundred thousand dollars. By 1782 the state of New York had confiscated royal property in land valued at $2,500,000 in hard money. In all, the state probably received $3,150,000 Spanish dollars for forfeited real estate. . . . Altogether it is evident that a great deal of land changed hands, and that the confiscation of Tory estates contributed powerfully to break up the system of large landed properties, since the state usually sold the lands thus acquired in much smaller parcels. . . .

THIS QUOTATION describes agrarian reform in the United States during the American Revolution. In essence, the changes here were like agrarian reform anywhere else: land belonging to one group of people was taken away and transferred to another group. As in Latin America, agrarian reform in the United States took place in an atmosphere of revolutionary change and it profoundly altered the society and economy of the states in which it was carried out. It also provoked some of' the same questions. Should large landholdings be divided into small family farms? Should those whose land is seized be compensated for their losses? Should those who receive land under agrarian reform have to pay for it?

In Latin America, agrarian reform has been carried out in several countries during the present century, And in all twenty re-

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