Rural Land Tenure in the United States: A Socio-Economic Approach to Problems, Programs, and Trends

By Alvin L. Bertrand; Floyd L. Corty et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE Basic Types
of Land Tenure Systems

THE PARTICULAR TENURE forms to be found in any country appear to a great extent to be the function of government. They are closely related to the social and economic well-being of the people. The latter fact sets the stage for the discussion in this chapter. Its concern is the major forms or systems of land tenure and the distinct patterns of social and economic relationships characteristic of each.


The Relation of Land Tenure Systems to Social and Economic
Organization

Pitirim Sorokin, Carle Zimmerman, and Charles Galpin developed the idea that forms of land ownership and land possession, as well as forms of social structure and function, should be considered in classifying types of rural population aggregates. 1 In so doing they pointed out that cultivators (farmers) could be divided into two broad groups —owners and nonowners. Farm owners might further be divided into individual owners (including families) and collective owners such as village communities. Nonowners were divided into: (a) tenants of private landlords and tenants of collective landlords (both public and private), and (b) laborers and employees of private and collective landlords. The thesis of these scholars is that social organization in a given rural community would reflect orientation to a particular tenure system. By way of illustration they point out, among other examples, that individualism and individual initiative are usually more developed in a community of individual farm-owners on small holdings than in a community where one or a few men own all the land and

____________________
1
Pitirim A. Sorokin, Carle C. Zimmerman, and Charles J. Galpin, A Systematic Source Book in Rural Sociology (2 vols.; Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 1930), I, 558-645.

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