When Is a Land Title Criminal?

Email Print


This article
is excerpted from chapters 10 and 11 of The
Ethics of Liberty
. Audiobook versions of these chapters,
read by Jeff Riggenbach, are now available for
podcast or download

Problem of Land Theft (Listen
to MP3

particularly important application of our theory of property titles
is the case of landed property. For one thing, land is
a fixed quotal portion of the earth, and therefore the ground land
endures virtually permanently. Historical investigation of land
titles therefore would have to go back much further than for other
more perishable goods. However, this is by no means a critical problem,
for, as we have seen, where the victims are lost in antiquity, the
land properly belongs to any non-criminals who are in current possession.

Suppose, for
example, that Henry Jones I stole a piece of land from its legitimate
owner, James Smith. What is the current status of the title of current
possessor Henry Jones X? Or of the man who might be the current
possessor by purchasing the land from Henry Jones X? If Smith and
his descendants are lost to antiquity, then title to the land properly
and legitimately belongs to the current Jones (or the man who has
purchased it from him), in direct application of our theory of property

A second problem,
and one that sharply differentiates land from other property, is
that the very existence of capital goods, consumers goods,
or the monetary commodity, is at least a prima facie demonstration
that these goods had been used and transformed, that human
labor had been mixed with natural resources to produce them. For
capital goods, consumer goods, and money do not exist by themselves
in nature; they must be created by human labor’s alteration of the
given conditions of nature. But any area of land, which is given
by nature, might never have been used and transformed;
and therefore, any existing property title to never-used
land would have to be considered invalid. For we have seen that
title to an unowned resource (such as land) comes properly only
from the expenditure of labor to transform that resource into use.
Therefore, if any land has never been so transformed, no
one can legitimately claim its ownership.


Franois Millet (1814–1875) “The Gleaners” (1857)


Suppose, for
example, that Mr. Green legally owns a certain acreage of land,
of which the northwest portion has never been transformed from its
natural state by Green or by anyone else. Libertarian theory will
morally validate his claim for the rest of the land – provided,
as the theory requires, that there is no identifiable victim (or
that Green had not himself stolen the land.) But libertarian theory
must invalidate his claim to ownership of the northwest portion.

Now, so long
as no “settler” appears who will initially transform the northwest
portion, there is no real difficulty; Brown’s claim may be invalid
but it is also mere meaningless verbiage. He is not yet a criminal
aggressor against anyone else. But should another man appear
who does transform the land, and should Green oust him by force
from the property (or employ others to do so), then Green becomes
at that point a criminal aggressor against land justly owned by
another. The same would be true if Green should use violence to
prevent another settler from entering upon this never-used land
and transforming it into use.

Thus, to return
to our Crusoe “model,”
Crusoe, landing upon a large island, may grandiosely trumpet to
the winds his “ownership” of the entire island. But, in natural
fact, he owns only the part that he settles and transforms
into use. Or, as noted above, Crusoe might be a solitary Columbus
landing upon a newly-discovered continent. But so long as no other
person appears on the scene, Crusoe’s claim is so much empty verbiage
and fantasy, with no foundation in natural fact. But should a newcomer
– a Friday – appear on the scene, and begin to transform
unused land, then any enforcement of Crusoe’s invalid claim
would constitute criminal aggression against the newcomer and invasion
of the latter’s property rights.

Note that we
are not saying that, in order for property in land to be valid,
it must be continually in use.[1]
The only requirement is that the land be once put into use, and
thus become the property of the one who has mixed his labor with,
who imprinted the stamp of his personal energy upon, the land.[2]
After that use, there is no more reason to disallow the land’s remaining
idle than there is to disown someone for storing his watch in a
desk drawer.[3]

One form of
invalid land title, then, is any claim to land that has never been
put into use. The enforcement of such a claim against a first-user
then becomes an act of aggression against a legitimate property
right. In practice, it must be noted, it is not at all difficult
to distinguish land in its natural virgin state from land that has
at some time been transformed by man for his use. The hand of man
will in some way be evident.

One problem,
however, that sometimes arises in the validity of land titles is
the question of “adverse possession.” Let us suppose that a man,
Green, comes upon a section of land not obviously owned by someone
– there is no fence perhaps, and no one on the premises. Green
assumes that the land is unowned; he proceeds to work the land,
uses it for a length of time, and then the original owner of the
land appears on the scene and orders Green’s eviction. Who is right?

The common
law of adverse possession arbitrarily sets a time span of twenty
years, after which the intruder, despite his aggression against
the property of another, retains absolute ownership of the land.
But our libertarian theory holds that land needs only to be transformed
once by man to pass into private ownership. Therefore,
if Green comes upon land that in any way bears the mark of a former
human use, it is his responsibility to assume that the
land is owned by someone. Any intrusion upon his land, without further
inquiry, must be done at the risk of the newcomer being an aggressor.

It is of course
possible that the previously owned land has been abandoned;
but the newcomer must not assume blithely that land which has obviously
been transformed by man is no longer owned by anyone. He must take
steps to find out if his new title to the land is clear, as we have
seen is in fact done in the title-search business.[4]
On the other hand, if Green comes upon land that has obviously never
been transformed by anyone, he can move onto it at once and with
impunity, for in the libertarian society no one can have a valid
title to land that has never been transformed.

In the present
world, when most land areas have been pressed into service, the
invalidating of land titles from never being used would not be very
extensive. More important nowadays would be invalidating a land
title because of a continuing seizure of landed property
by aggressors. We have already discussed the case of Jones’s ancestors
having seized a parcel of land from the Smith family, while Jones
uses and owns the land in the present day. But suppose that centuries
ago, Smith was tilling the soil and therefore legitimately owning
the land; and then that Jones came along and settled down near Smith,
claiming by use of coercion the title to Smith’s land, and extracting
payment or “rent” from Smith for the privilege of continuing to
till the soil. Suppose that now, centuries later, Smith’s descendants
(or, for that matter, other unrelated families) are now tilling
the soil, while Jones’s descendants, or those who purchased their
claims, still continue to exact tribute from the modern tillers.
Where is the true property right in such a case?

It should be
clear that here, just as
in the case of slavery
, we have a case of continuing
aggression against the true owners – the true possessors –
of the land, the tillers, or peasants, by the illegitimate owner,
the man whose original and continuing claim to the land
and its fruits has come from coercion and violence. Just as the
original Jones was a continuing aggressor against the original Smith,
so the modern peasants are being aggressed against by the modern
holder of the Jones-derived land title. In this case of what we
might call “feudalism” or “land monopoly,” the feudal or monopolist
landlords have no legitimate claim to the property. The current
“tenants,” or peasants, should be the absolute owners of their property,
and, as in the case of slavery, the land titles should be transferred
to the peasants, without compensation to the monopoly landlords.[5]

Note that “feudalism,”
as we have defined it, is not restricted to the case where the peasant
is also coerced by violence to remain on the lord’s land
to keep cultivating it (roughly, the institution of serfdom).[6]
Nor is it restricted to cases where additional measures of violence
are used to bolster and maintain feudal landholdings (such as the
State’s prevention by violence of any landlord’s sale or bequest
of his land into smaller subdivisions).[7]

All that “feudalism,”
in our sense, requires is the seizure by violence of landed property
from its true owners, the transformers of land, and the continuation
of that kind of relationship over the years. Feudal land rent, then,
is the precise equivalent of paying a continuing annual tribute
by producers to their predatory conquerors. Feudal land rent is
therefore a form of permanent tribute.

Note also that
the peasants in question need not be the descendants of the original
victims. For since the aggression is continuing so long as this
relation of feudal aggression remains in force, the current peasants
are the contemporary victims and the currently legitimate property
owners. In short, in the case of feudal land, or land monopoly both
of our conditions obtain for invalidating current property titles:
for not only the original but also the current land title is criminal;
and the current victims can very easily be identified.

Our above
hypothetical case
of the King of Ruritania and his relatives
is one example of a means by which feudalism can get started in
a land area. After the king’s action, he and his relatives become
feudal landlords of their quotal portions of Ruritania, each one
extracting coercive tribute in the form of feudal “rent” from the

We do not of
course mean to imply that all land rent is illegitimate and a form
of continuing tribute. On the contrary there is no reason, in a
libertarian society, why a person transforming land may not then
rent it out or sell it to someone else; indeed, that is precisely
what will occur. How, then, can we distinguish between feudal rent
and legitimate rent, between feudal tenancies and legitimate tenancies?

Again, we apply
our rules for deciding upon the validity of property titles: we
look to see if the origin of the land title is criminal, and, in
the current case, whether the aggression upon the producers of the
land, the peasants, is still continuing. If we know that
these conditions hold, then there is no problem, for the identification
of both aggressor and victim is remarkably clear-cut. But if we
don’t know whether these conditions obtain, then (applying
our rule), lacking a clear identifiability of the criminal, we conclude
that the land title and the charge of rent are just and legitimate
and not feudal. In practice, since in a feudal situation criminality
is both old and continuing, and the peasant-victims are
readily identifiable, feudalism is one of the easiest forms of invalid
title to detect.

Monopoly, Past and Present (Listen
to MP3

Thus, there
are two types of ethically invalid land titles:[8]
“feudalism,” in which there is continuing aggression by titleholders
of land against peasants engaged in transforming the soil; and land-engrossing,
where arbitrary claims to virgin land are used to keep first-transformers
out of that land. We may call both of these aggressions “land monopoly”
– not in the sense that some one person or group owns all the
land in society, but in the sense that arbitrary privileges to land
ownership are asserted in both cases, clashing with the libertarian
rule of non-ownership of land except by actual transformers, their
heirs, and their assigns.[9]

Land monopoly
is far more widespread in the modern world than most people –
especially most Americans – believe. In the undeveloped world,
especially in Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America, feudal landholding
is a crucial social and economic problem – with or without
quasi-serf impositions on the persons of the peasantry. Indeed,
of the countries of the world, the United States is one of the very
few virtually free from feudalism, due to a happy accident of its
historical development.[10]

Largely escaping
feudalism itself, it is difficult for Americans to take the entire
problem seriously. This is particularly true of American laissez-faire
economists, who tend to confine their recommendations for the backward
countries to preachments about the virtues of the free market. But
these preachments naturally fall on deaf ears, because “free market”
for American conservatives obviously does not encompass an end to
feudalism and land monopoly and the transfer of title to these lands,
without compensation, to the peasantry.

And yet, since
agriculture is always the overwhelmingly most important industry
in the undeveloped countries, a truly free market, a truly
libertarian society devoted to justice and property rights, can
only be established there by ending unjust feudal claims to property.
But utilitarian economists, grounded on no ethical theory of property
rights, can only fall back on defending whatever status quo may
happen to exist – in this case, unfortunately, the status quo
of feudal suppression of justice and of any genuinely free market
in land or agriculture. This ignoring of the land problem means
that Americans and citizens of undeveloped countries talk in two
different languages and that neither can begin to understand the
other’s position.

American conservatives,
in particular, exhort the backward countries on the virtues and
the importance of private foreign investment from the advanced countries,
and of allowing a favorable climate for this investment, free from
governmental harassment.

This is all
very true, but is again often unreal to the undeveloped peoples,
because the conservatives persistently fail to distinguish between
legitimate, free-market foreign investment, as against investment
based upon monopoly concessions and vast land grants by the undeveloped
states. To the extent that foreign investments are based on land
monopoly and aggression against the peasantry, to that extent do
foreign capitalists take on the aspects of feudal landlords, and
must be dealt with in the same way.

A moving expression
of these truths was delivered in the form of a message to the American
people by the prominent left-wing Mexican intellectual, Carlos Fuentes:

You have
had four centuries of uninterrupted development within the capitalistic
structure. We have had four centuries of underdevelopment within
a feudal structure…. You had your own origin in the capitalistic
revolution…. You started from zero, a virgin society, totally
equal to modern times, without any feudal ballast. On the contrary,
we were founded as an appendix of the falling feudal order of
the Middle Ages; we inherited its obsolete structures, absorbed
its vices, and converted them into institutions on the outer rim
of the revolution in the modern world…. We come from …
slavery to … latifundio [enormous expanses of land
under a single landlord], denial of political, economic, or cultural
rights for the masses, a customs house closed to modern ideas….
You must understand that the Latin American drama stems from the
persistence of those feudal structures over four centuries of
misery and stagnation, while you were in the midst of the industrial
revolution and were exercising a liberal democracy.[11]

We need not
search far for examples of land aggression and monopoly in the modern
world; they are indeed legion. We might cite one example not so
very far removed from our hypothetical king of Ruritania:

“The Shah
owns more than half of all arable land in Iran, land originally
taken over by his father. He owns close to 10,000 villages. So
far, this great reformer has sold two of his villages.”[12]

A typical example
of foreign investment combined with land aggression is a North American
mining company in Peru, the Cerro de Pasco Corporation. Cerro de
Pasco, having legitimately purchased its land from a religious convent
a half century ago, began in 1959 to encroach upon and seize the
lands of neighboring Indian peasants. Indians of Rancas refusing
to leave their land were massacred by peasants in the pay of the
company; Indians of Yerus Yacan tried to contest the company’s action
in the courts, while company men burned pastures and destroyed peasant
huts. When the Indians retook their land through mass non-violent
action, the Peruvian government, at the behest of the Cerro de Pasco
and the regional latifundia owners, sent troops to eject,
assault, and even murder the unarmed Indians.[13]

What, then,
is to be our view toward investment in oil lands, one of the major
forms of foreign investment in underdeveloped countries in today’s
world? The major error of most analyses is to issue either a blanket
approval or a blanket condemnation, for the answer depends on the
justice of the property title established in each specific case.
Where, for example, an oil company, foreign or domestic, lays claim
to the oil field which it discovers and drills, then this is its
just “homesteaded” private property, and it is unjust for the undeveloped
government to tax or regulate the company. Where the government
insists on claiming ownership of the land itself, and only leases
the oil to the company, then (as we will see further
in discussing the role of government), the government’s
claim is illegitimate and invalid, and the company, in the role
of homesteader, is properly the owner and not merely the renter
of the oil land.

On the other
hand, there are cases where the oil company uses the government
of the undeveloped country to grant it, in advance of drilling,
a monopoly concession to all the oil in a vast land area, thereby
agreeing to the use of force to squeeze out all competing oil producers
who might search for and drill oil in that area. In that case, as
in the case above of Crusoe’s arbitrarily using force to squeeze
out Friday, the first oil company is illegitimately using the government
to become a land-and-oil monopolist.

any new company that enters the scene to discover and drill oil
is the proper owner of its “homesteaded” oil area. A
fortiori, of course, our oil concessionaire who also uses the
State to eject peasants from their land by force – as was done,
for example, by the Creole Oil Co. in Venezuela – is a collaborator
with the government in the latter’s aggression against the property
rights of the peasantry.

are now able to see the grave fallacy in the current programs for
“land reform” in the undeveloped countries. (These programs generally
involve minor transfers of the least fertile land from landlords
to peasants, along with full compensation to the landlords, often
financed by the peasants themselves via state aid.) If the landlord’s
title is just, then any land reform applied to such land
is an unjust and criminal confiscation of his property; but, on
the other hand, if his title is unjust, then the reform is picayune
and fails to reach the heart of the question. For then the only
proper solution is an immediate vacating of the title and its transfer
to the peasants, with certainly no compensation to the aggressors
who had wrongly seized control of the land. Thus, the land problem
in the undeveloped countries can only be solved by applying the
rules of justice that we have set forth; and such application requires
detailed and wholesale empirical inquiry into present titles to

In recent years,
the doctrine has gained ground among American conservatives that
feudalism, instead of being oppressive and exploitative, was in
fact a bulwark of liberty. It is true that feudalism, as these conservatives
point out, was not as evil a system as “Oriental despotism,” but
that is roughly equivalent to saying that imprisonment is not as
severe a penalty as execution.

The difference
between feudalism and Oriental despotism was really of degree rather
than kind; arbitrary power over land and over persons on that land
was, in the one case, broken up into geographical segments; in the
latter case, land tended to concentrate into the hands of one imperial
overlord over the land-area of the entire country, aided by his
bureaucratic retinue. The systems of power and repression are similar
in type; the Oriental despot is a single feudal overlord with the
consequent power accruing into his hands.

Each system
is a variant of the other; neither is in any sense libertarian.
And there is no reason to suppose that society must choose between
one and the other – that these are the only alternatives.

thinking on this entire matter was shunted onto a very wrong road
by the statist German historians of the late 19th century: by men
such as Schmoller, Bücher, Ehrenberg, and Sombart.[14]
These historians postulated a sharp dichotomy and inherent conflict
between feudalism on the one hand and absolute monarchy, or the
strong State, on the other.

They postulated
that capitalist development required absolute monarchy
and the strong State to smash local feudal and guild-type restrictions.
In upholding this dichotomy of capitalism plus the strong
central State vs. feudalism, they were joined, from their own special
viewpoint, by the Marxists, who made no particular distinction between
“bourgeoisie” who made use of the State, and bourgeoisie who acted
on the free market.

Now some modern
conservatives have taken this old dichotomy and turned it on its
head. Feudalism and the strong central state are still considered
the critical polar opposites, except that feudalism is, on this
view, considered the good alternative.

The error here
is in the dichotomy itself. Actually, the strong state and feudalism
were not antithetical; the former was a logical outgrowth
of the latter, with the absolute monarch ruling as the super-feudal
overlord. The strong state, when it developed in Western Europe,
did not set about to smash feudal restrictions on trade; on the
contrary, it superimposed its own central restrictions
and heavy taxes on top of the feudal structure.

The French
Revolution, directed against the living embodiment of the strong
state in Europe, was aimed at destroying both feudalism
with its local restrictions, and the restrictions and high taxes
imposed by the central government.[15]
The true dichotomy was liberty on the one side versus the
feudal lords and the absolute monarch on the other. Furthermore,
the free market and capitalism flourished earliest and most strongly
in those very countries where both feudalism and central
government power were at their relative weakest: the Italian city-states,
and seventeenth-century Holland and England.[16]

North America’s
relative escape from the blight of feudal land and land monopoly
was not for lack of trying. Many of the English colonies made strong
attempts to establish feudal rule, especially where the colonies
were chartered companies or proprietorships, as in New York, Maryland,
and the Carolinas. The attempt failed because the New World was
a vast and virgin land area, and therefore the numerous receivers
of monopoly and feudal land grants – many of them enormous
in size – could only gain profits from them by inducing settlers
to come to the New World and settle on their property.

Here were not,
as in the Old World, previously existing settlers on relatively
crowded land who could easily be exploited. Instead, the landlords,
forced to encourage settlement, and anxious for a quick return,
invariably subdivided and sold their lands to the settlers. It was
unfortunate, of course, that by means of arbitrary claims and governmental
grants, land titles were engrossed ahead of settlement. The settlers
were consequently forced to pay a price for what should have been
free land. But once the land was purchased by the settler,
the injustice disappeared, and the land title accrued to its proper
holder: the settler. In this way, the vast supply of virgin land,
along with the desire of the land grantees for quick profits, led
everywhere to the happy dissolution of feudalism and land monopoly,
and the establishment in North America of a truly libertarian land

Some of the
colonial proprietors tried to keep collecting quitrents
from the settlers – the last vestige of feudal exactions –
but the settlers widely refused to pay or to treat the land as anything
but their own. In every case, the colonial proprietors gave up trying
to collect their quitrents, even before their charters
were confiscated by the British Crown.[17]

In only one
minor case did feudal land tenure persist (apart from the vital
case of slavery and the large Southern plantations) in the English
colonies: in the Hudson Valley counties in New York, where the large
grantees persisted in not selling the lands to settlers,
but in renting them out. As a result, continuing resistance and
even open warfare were waged by the farmers (who were even known
as “peasants”) against their feudal landlords. This resistance culminated
in the “Anti-Rent” wars of the 1840s, when the quitrent exactions
were finally ended by the state legislature, and the last vestige
of feudalism outside the South finally disappeared.

The important
exception to this agrarian idyll, of course, was the flourishing
of the slave system in the Southern states. It was only the coercion
of slave labor that enabled the large plantation system in staple
crops to flourish in the South. Without the ability to own and coerce
the labor of others, the large plantations – and perhaps much
of the tobacco and later the cotton culture – would not have
pervaded the South.

have indicated above that there was only one possible moral solution
for the slave question: immediate and unconditional abolition, with
no compensation to the slavemasters. Indeed, any compensation should
have been the other way – to repay the oppressed slaves for
their lifetime of slavery. A vital part of such necessary compensation
would have been to grant the plantation lands not to the slavemaster,
who scarcely had valid title to any property, but to the slaves
themselves, whose labor, on our “homesteading” principle, was mixed
with the soil to develop the plantations.

In short, at
the very least, elementary libertarian justice required not only
the immediate freeing of the slaves, but also the immediate turning
over to the slaves, again without compensation to the masters, of
the plantation lands on which they had worked and sweated.

As it was,
the victorious North made the same mistake – though “mistake”
is far too charitable a word for an act that preserved the essence
of an unjust and oppressive social system – as had Czar Alexander
when he freed the Russian serfs in 1861: the bodies of
the oppressed were freed, but the property which they had worked
and eminently deserved to own, remained in the hands of their former
oppressors. With the economic power thus remaining in their hands,
the former lords soon found themselves virtual masters once more
of what were now free tenants or farm laborers. The serfs and the
slaves had tasted freedom, but had been cruelly deprived of its


This was the use-theory of landed property propounded by Joshua
K. Ingalls in the nineteenth century. On Ingalls, see James J. Martin,
Against the State
(DeKalb, Ill.: Adrian Allen Associates,
1953), pp. 142–52.

As Leon Wolowski and Emile Levasseur have eloquently written in
“Property,” Lalor’s Cyclopedia
of Political Science, etc.
(Chicago: M.B. Cary, 1884),
vol. 3, p. 392:

Nature has
been appropriated by … [man] for his use; she has become
his own; she is his property. This property
is legitimate; it constitutes a right as sacred for man as is
the free exercise of his faculties. It is his because it has come
entirely from himself, and is in no way anything but an emanation
from his being. Before him, there was scarcely anything but matter,
since him, and by him, there is interchangeable wealth. The producer
has left a fragment of his own person in the thing which has thus
become valuable, and may hence be regarded as a prolongation of
the faculties of man acting upon external nature. As a free being
he belongs to himself; now, the cause, that is to say, the productive
force, is himself; the effect, that is to say, the wealth produced
is still himself. Who shall dare contest his title of ownership
so clearly marked by the seal of his personality?

There are, as I have demonstrated elsewhere, excellent economic
reasons why land, in particular, may remain unused; for above-subsistence
living standards depend on the supply of labor being scarcer than
the supply of land, and, when that happy situation obtains, considerable
land will be “sub-marginal” and therefore idle. See Murray N. Rothbard,
Economy, and State
(Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1962),
pp. 504, 609. For a fascinating example of recurring property titles
in land according to a migratory calendar worked out by numerous
tribes in southern Persia, see Fredrik Barth, “The Land Use Pattern
of Migratory Tribes of South Persia,” Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift,
Bind 17 (1959–1960): 1–11.

Of course, everyone should have the right to abandon any
property he wishes; in a libertarian society, no one can be forced
to own property which he wishes to abandon.

The term “feudalism,” as used here, is not intended to apply to
any specific landed or other relation during the Middle Ages; it
is used here to cover a single kind of action: the seizure of land
by conquest and the continuing assertion and enforcement of ownership
over that land and the extraction of rent from the peasants continuing
to till the soil. For a defense of such a broader use of the term
“feudalism,” see Robert A. Nisbet, The
Social Impact of the Revolution
(Washington, D.C.: American
Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1974), pp. 4–7.

Serfdom, like slavery, constituted a continuing aggression by the
lord against the person of the serf, as well as against his rightful
property. For a discussion of various definitions of feudalism,
see Marc Bloch, Feudal Society (Chicago: University of Chicago
Press, 1961), chap. 1.

Such measures include entail (forcibly preventing the landowner
from selling his land) and primogeniture (coercively preventing
him from bequeathing his land except intact to his eldest son).

In addition, of course, to government titles, for which

As I have indicated in Man,
Economy, and State
(Princeton, N.J.: D. Van Nostrand, 1962),
chap. 10, “monopoly” is properly defined as a receipt of exclusive
privilege to a property beyond the libertarian rule of
property rights.

This happy exception does not hold for those Mexican lands seized
from their owners and redistributed by the conquering Yankees –
as can be seen by the recent movement of Mexican-Americans, led
by Reies Lopez Tijerina, to return to the heirs of the victims the
land stolen from them by the US conquerors. On the theft of land
from the Mexican-Americans, see Clark S. Knowlton, “Land-Grant Problems
Among the State’s Spanish-Americans,” New Mexico Business
(June 1967): 1–13. Also see Clyde Eastman, Garrey Carruthers, and
James A. Liefer, “Contrasting Attitudes Toward Land in New Mexico,”
New Mexico Business (March 1971): 3–20.
On the Tijerina movement, see Richard Gardner, Grito!: Reies
Tuerina and the New Mexico Land Grant
War of 1967 (New York: Harper and Row, 1971).

Carlos Fuentes, “The Argument of Latin America: Words for the North
Americans,” in Whither
(New York: Monthly Review Press, 1963), pp. 10–12.

Michael Parrish, “Iran: The Portrait of a U.S. Ally,” The Minority
of One (December 1962): 12.

Sebastian Salazar Bondy, “Andes and Sierra Maestra,” in Whither
Latin America? p. 116, says:

From time
to time, the Lima newspapers publish stories about such and such
a community’s having “invaded” properties of latifundists or miners.
The informed reader knows what is happening. Disgusted with being
dispossessed, lacking official justice, the Indians have decided
to take through their own effort what has always belonged to them.

Ironically, Sombart’s later years were marked by an attack on the
notion of capitalist development. See e.g., Werner Sombart, A
New Social Philosophy
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 1937); also see Werner Sombart, Vom Menschen (Berlin,

On private property and feudalism in the French Revolution, see
Gottfried Dietze, In
Defense of Property
(Chicago: Regnery, 1963), pp. 140–41.

On the neglected case of the Dutch, see Jelle C. Riemersma, “Economic
Enterprise and Political Powers After the Reformation,” Economic
Development and Cultural Change (July 1955): 297–308.

On the American experience, see Murray N. Rothbard, Conceived
in Liberty
(New York: Arlington House, 1975), vol. 1.

In recent years, a new wave of pro-abolitionist historians –
such as Staughton Lynd, James McPherson, and Willie Lee Rose –
have recognized the critical importance of the abolitionist demand
for “forty acres and a mule,” for turning over the old plantations
to the slaves. See James M. McPherson, The
Struggle for Equality: Abolitionists and the Negro in the Civil
War and Reconstruction
(Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University
Press, 1964); and Willie Lee Rose, Rehearsal
for Reconstruction: The
Royal Experiment
(Indianapolis, Ind.: Bobbs-Merrill,
1964). Also see Claude F. Oubre, Forty
Acres and a Mule: The Freedmen’s Bureau and Black Land Ownership

(Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1978).

N. Rothbard
(1926–1995) was the author of Man,
Economy, and State
, Conceived
in Liberty
, What
Has Government Done to Our Money
, For
a New Liberty
, The
Case Against the Fed
, and many
other books and articles
. He was
also the editor – with Lew Rockwell – of The
Rothbard-Rockwell Report

Rothbard Archives

Email Print