The surveyor and the state

Patrick Chura

in Thoreau the Land Surveyor

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780813034935
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038278 | DOI:
The surveyor and the state

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  • Literary Studies (19th Century)


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Land surveying has long been a tool of empire, linked not coincidentally with the development and hegemony of white European society over Native peoples in the New World. Once land was formally located and officially acquired, the multiple purposes of establishing individual ownership, taxable value, and legal jurisdiction were embodied in the person of the land surveyor. The surveyor not only carried considerable state-invested power but swore an oath that affirmed his honesty, the accuracy of his measures, and his loyalty to the state's protocols of property definition and distribution.

Keywords: land surveying; state power; property definition; measurement; landowner; surveyor

Chapter.  8014 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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