A Legislative History of the Forfeiture of Railroad Land Grants, 1867-1894

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Authors
Vering, Alice
Issue Date
1948
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en_US
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The first important grant to aid in the construction of railroads was a grant to Illinois, Mississippi and Alabama In aid of the Illinois Central and Mobile and Ohio railroads. This grant was of especial importance not only because it served as a model for later grants but because the success of one land grant bill made easier the passage of later bills. |One of the chief objections to this grant was the constitutional argument against grants to states to aid internal improvements. To meet this objection, those favoring the grant spoke of the government as a great landed proprietor which should dispose of the lands in such a way as to increase the value of the remaining lands. In accord with this theory the state was given the alternate even numbered sections on each side of the road. To compensate the government for this loss, the price of the odd numbered sections was doubled. The conflict between the land grant policy and the homestead policy was foreshadowed in this debate when one member declared that the increase in price of the odd numbered sections was a tax on settlers for the benefit of railroads. He favored granting the lands to the states to aid settlers.
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Creighton University
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