Chapter

Privatizing the San Joaquin Landscape in the 1870s

David Igler

in Industrial Cowboys

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2001 | ISBN: 9780520226586
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520938939 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520226586.003.0004
Privatizing the San Joaquin Landscape in the 1870s

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This chapter explores the problem of land monopoly in California at the beginning of the 1870s. It then explains that a new awareness slowly emerged linking land monopoly with the consolidation of water rights, corporate growth, and industrial agriculture. The chapter notes that Miller and Lux's activities constituted a primary reason for the public's shifting concern, and narrates that Miller and Lux came under repeated attack during the decade as the state's largest land speculators. It explains that this land-centered business strategy changed with Miller and Lux's initial investments in the San Joaquin and King's River Canal and Irrigation Company. The chapter notes that Miller and Lux realized that whilst land acquisition allowed the company to increase cattle production and hedge bets against an uncertain environment, water rights and irrigation systems would ultimately determine who could profit from the valley's natural wealth.

Keywords: California; San Joaquin; land monopoly; Miller and Lux; business strategy; San Joaquin; water rights; irrigation systems; profit

Chapter.  12716 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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