Translating Property (Hardcover)
The Maxwell Land Grant and the Conflict over Land in the American West, 1840-1900
University of California Press, 9780520227446, 315pp.
Publication Date: March 29, 2002
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We meet Jicarilla Apaches, whose identity is rooted in a sense of place; Mexican governors and hacienda patrons seeking status as New World feudal magnates; "rings" of greedy territorial politicians on the make; women finding their own way in a man's world; Anglo homesteaders looking for a place to settle in the American West; and Dutch investors in search of gargantuan returns on their capital. The European and American newcomers all "mistranslated" the prior property regimes into new rules, to their own advantage and the disadvantage of those who had lived on the land before them. Their efforts to control the Maxwell Land Grant by wrapping it in their own particular myths of law and custom inevitably led to conflict and even violence as cultures and legal regimes clashed.