Thursday, August 04, 2016

This Land Was Made for You and Me

The states never owned this land. Vast stretches of the American West were bought by the federal government (Louisiana Purchase of 1803, Gadsden Purchase of 1853) or were acquired by treaty with the federal government (Transcontinental Treaty of 1819, Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo of 1848, the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, the Oregon Country Treaty of 1846), and were settled with land openly stolen from the remaining indigenous people with help from federal troops, and railroad and road expansion funded by eastern taxpayers. State governments before 1900 were weak, and state treasuries generally threadbare without the means to provide basic services, such as road maintenance, fire suppression, police power, or water storage.

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