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"Landed Republick": Squatters, Speculators, and the Early American West
Ross, Joseph Thomas

2018, Master of Arts (MA), Ohio University, History (Arts and Sciences).
This thesis examines the role that federal land policy played in the settlement and political development of the Northwest Territory from 1780 to 1802. In the waning years of the American Revolution the United States sought to acquire and use the lands of the trans-Appalachian West as a fund for extinguishing its public debt. The claims of the individual states and of Native Americans would be transferred to the United States, which would then exchange those lands for Continental securities. By placing emphasis on public creditors, Congress deliberately ignored the interests of actual settlers, including many who were squatting on these federal lands. At first the Confederation Congress adopted a policy of uniform land sales overseen by the federal government, but with disappointing results. In 1787 Congress decided to privatize western settlement by selling large amounts of land to private companies at a discount, who would then resell the land to actual settlers for a profit. This was also a disappointment, as these land companies experienced a myriad of problems from Native American violence to legal disputes with settlers, all of which had to be solved by the federal government. Prompted by western settlers, including squatters, the federal government resumed the responsibility of western settlement. This thesis also shows how federal power was used to influence local politics. New laws allowed for squatters to negotiate with federal officials over the lands they wanted. One official, Thomas Worthington, used the influence he had in these negotiations to incorporate the squatters into his own political interest. During the statehood movement of 1801-1802, Worthington was able to link this interest to the national Republican Party. The mobilization of his interest and the introduction of partisanship into the movement allowed Worthington to successfully accomplish statehood for Ohio.
Brian Schoen (Advisor)
Sarah Kinkel (Committee Member)
Chester Pach (Committee Member)
105 p.

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Ross, J. (2018). "Landed Republick": Squatters, Speculators, and the Early American West. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Ross, Joseph. ""Landed Republick": Squatters, Speculators, and the Early American West." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio University, 2018. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 20 Jul 2018.

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Ross, Joseph ""Landed Republick": Squatters, Speculators, and the Early American West." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio University, 2018. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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