Separation or Separate Property: The Unsettling Prospect of Ownership

  • David Ress


The treaty creating the Iowa Half Breed Tract left unclear rights of use and possession of land, Maurice Blondeau soon realized. As the first would-be settlers drifted onto the Tract, the question of apportioning land arose. But the “Indian title” specified for the Tract, the fact that it was within territory that still belonged to Native peoples and was therefore outside the control of US courts and the General Land Office, and the lack of any community institutions capable of creating consensus on land rights or enforcing such rights, left the people of the Tract in limbo. At the same time, the model of outright ownership concerned a national government where many were anxious about the disorder acceptance of squatters rights might create and others believed the justification for invoking squatters rights—property right acquired in the Lockean manner by infusing labor into an object—was fundamental.


Property rights Squatters Severalty Landownership John Locke 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Ress
    • 1
  1. 1.Newport NewsUSA

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