Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, by Barbara Rasmussen

By Barbara Rasmussen

Absentee landowning has lengthy been tied to fiscal misery in Appalachia. during this vital revisionist research, Barbara Rasmussen examines the character of landownership in 5 counties of West Virginia and its results upon the counties' financial and social development.

Rasmussen untangles an online of out of doors domination of the sector that began prior to the yank Revolution, making a legacy of difficulty that keeps to plague Appalachia at the present time. The vendors and exploiters of the zone have integrated Lord Fairfax, George Washington, and, such a lot lately, the U.S. wooded area Service.

The overarching quandary of those absentee landowners has been to regulate the land, the politics, the govt., and the assets of the fabulously wealthy Appalachian Mountains. Their early and constant domination of politics guaranteed a land tax method that also favors absentee landholders and concurrently impoverishes the state.

Class alterations, a capitalistic outlook, and an ethic of progress and improvement pervaded western Virginia from earliest cost. citizens, even if, have been speedy outspent via wealthier, extra strong outsiders. lack of confidence in landownership, Rasmussen demonstrates, is the main major distinction among early mountain farmers and early American farmers in every single place.

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Extra info for Absentee Landowning and Exploitation in West Virginia, 1760-1920

Sample text

The Indiana Company announced plans to sell lands before 1777, but this triggered an immediate hostile response from Virginia. 28 In the throes of the American Revolution, Virginians wrote into their state constitution a ban on claims to land based on Indian treaties until the legislature could determine ownership or grant state sanction. Nearly all out-of-state claimants relied on such Indian treaties. Virginia further declined to recognize the sovereignty of the United States over western lands conveyed to Virginia in its charter from England.

Public attitudes concerning such land transactions often reflected the prevailing public policy concerning sale of public lands. " 4 Generally, after 1828 pioneers settling west of the Ohio River found a more sympathetic federal attitude toward their rights and claims than did their predecessors in the Appalachian transmontane. The changed governmental attitude was expressed by definite policies that were designed to protect settler interests rather than the interests of speculators. When the trans-Allegheny region was first settled in the 1760s, those who would later frame the new American government personally controlled great amounts of western land.

This claim was never patented in Richmond. The presence of documentation of this nature in the Deakins family papers demonstrates that, at least part of the time, settlers and land agents were claiming the same land and that holders of treasury warrants sometimes considered challenging settlers. The continued Settler Politics 37 pressure of speculation on the frontier added to the confusion. Investors were actively involved in influencing developments along the frontiers. Since 1760 they had been the largest and most powerful owners of Virginia's transmontane.

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