The Politics of the 1920 Mineral Leasing Act

Paul Sabin

in Crude Politics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780520241985
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931145 | DOI:
The Politics of the 1920 Mineral Leasing Act

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The national campaign for favorable treatment of the California oil companies, which culminated in the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and in the 1920s Teapot Dome scandal over bribery and oil leases, reveals many familiar aspects of American politics and business of the time. From the Taft land withdrawal in 1909 to the passage of the Mineral Leasing Act in 1920, the political representatives of the oil industry struggled to open Southern California oil lands for immediate development. During the two decades following the 1920 leasing act, oil land ownership provided the sole means for the federal government to achieve conservation. The politics that shaped the new property regime for mineral lands in California and the nation drew heavily on the political traditions of the nineteenth-century American system, distributing access to resources among private parties and generally promoting rapid development on the public domain.

Keywords: Mineral Leasing Act; California oil companies; American politics; American business; Taft land withdrawal; federal government; Southern California; oil lands; mineral lands

Chapter.  7368 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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