From Hacienda To Colony

MaríA E. Montoya

in Translating Property

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780520227446
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926486 | DOI:
From Hacienda To Colony

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This chapter describes how the new concept of property rested on ideas—myths, actually—about the American West. In particular, it examines the mythic belief that the West was an expanse of unsettled, unsocialized, natural wilderness waiting to be converted to the use of national capital markets. This myth underlayed U.S. territorial policy, the promotional literature of bonds salesman, and the politics of little surveys in the American West. But this concept of land came into direct conflict with the land regimes that had thrived under the patronage of Lucien B. Maxwell: informal and personal relations between the patrón and different sets of clients in which each party owed the patrón an ill-defined, but workable, set of services and payments in return for informally defined rights to use the land. The Maxwell Land Grant and Railway Company therefore ignored the reciprocal obligations and property relationships between Maxwell and his clients that had defined Maxwell's tenure on the land grant.

Keywords: myths; American West; patrón; Railway Company; territorial policy

Chapter.  19141 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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