Land in the American West

Private Claims and the Common Good

Edited by William G. Robbins and James C. Foster

  • $30.00s paperback (9780295980201) Add to Cart
  • hardcover not available
  • Published: 2000
  • Subject Listing: History / Western History; Environmental Studies
  • Bibliographic information: 224 pp., 2 maps, 6 x 9 in.
  • Territorial rights: World Rights
  • Contents

Throughout the history of the United States, the concepts of "land" and "the West" have fired the American imagination and fueled controversy. The essays in Land in the American West deal with complex, troublesome, and interrelated questions regarding land: Who owns it? Who has access to it? What happens when private rights infringe upon the public good, or when one ethnic group is pitted against another, or when there is a conflict between economic and environmental values? Many of these questions have deep historical roots. They all have special significance in the modern American West, where natural resources are still abundant and large areas of land are federally owned.

"This collection speaks directly to the most vexing political divisions within the New West, from urban and rural frictions to disputes over the management of non-renewable and renewable resources. The authors address an impressive range of issues from philosophical, legal, environmental, social, and political viewpoints."
-William Lang, Portland State University

"Land is a perennial 'hot button' issue in the American West, and this compilation takes the most pressing, and often most controversial, issues to agitate westerners during the past two decades and explains them well."
-Carlos A. Schwantes, University of Idaho

Introduction: In Search of Western Lands - William Robbins

PART I: Three Perspectives on Property Rights
Private Property and the Public Interest: Land in the American Idea - Daniel Bromley
Property Rights, Freedom, and Evolving Social Order - Bruce Yandle
New Property Rights Debates: The Dialectics of Naming, Blaming, and Claiming - Sarah Pralle and Michael McCann

PART II: Urban and Rural Vantage Points on Property
Land for Cities, Scenery for City People: Managing Urbanization in the American Grain - Carl Abbott
From Open Range to Closed Range on the Public Lands - William Rowle
PART III: Three Case Studies of Land Use
Dividing the Land: The Taylor Ranch and the Case for Preserving the Limited Access Commons - Maria Montoya
Public Lands and Public Sentiment: A Comparative Look at national Parks - Arthur Gomez
Owning It All in Alaska: The Political Power of a Rhetorical Paradigm - Stephan Haycox

Contested Terrain: The Business of Land in the American West - Richard White