Chapter

Property Rights and Political Meaning

Karen R. Merrill

in Public Lands and Political Meaning

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2002 | ISBN: 9780520228627
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520926882 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520228627.003.0007
Property Rights and Political Meaning

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This chapter argues that the gulf between Harold Ickes' and Farrington Carpenter's understandings of the Taylor Grazing Act reflected the act's own profound ambiguities, which help explain the political explosions over the issue in the 1940s. Carpenter's seeming reluctance to build an administration was, in Ickes' view, matched only by his inability or unwillingness to engage in truly administrative work. As soon as Pat McCarran's hearings got off the ground in 1941, there was considerable criticism of the expanding bureaucracy of the Grazing Service. On the ranchers' side, the Taylor Grazing Act helped to create a belief that they had established property interests in the public lands. The grazing fee controversy was solved by the appointment of a California cattle rancher, Rex Nicholson, to make a study of fees and present a new set of proposals, just as Dan Casement had done in the late 1920s.

Keywords: Harold Ickes; Farrington Carpenter; Taylor Grazing Act; Pat McCarran; bureaucracy; property rights; political meaning; Rex Nicholson; public lands

Chapter.  15976 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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