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Peopling the Land by Lottery? The Market in Public Lands and the Regional Differentiation of Territory on the Georgia Frontier

David F. Weiman
The Journal of Economic History
Vol. 51, No. 4 (Dec., 1991), pp. 835-860
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2123395
Page Count: 26
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Peopling the Land by Lottery? The Market in Public Lands and the Regional Differentiation of Territory on the Georgia Frontier
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Abstract

Organized markets in public lands enabled large slaveholders to establish a foothold on the frontier, often in advance of their actual settlement. Their "pre-emptive" purchases of prime cotton lands fostered the regional differentiation of territory by displacing yeoman households to more marginal soils. An analysis of the land market in western Georgia in the 1820s demonstrates the regional patterning of the new territory at the very onset of settlement. The state's land policy, a lottery system, ordained this outcome, as it instituted markets in public lands to which wealthy slaveholders had greater access.

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