© 2019

The Half Breed Tracts in Early National America

Changing Concepts of Land and Place


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. David Ress
    Pages 19-35
  3. David Ress
    Pages 53-61
  4. David Ress
    Pages 63-76
  5. David Ress
    Pages 91-102
  6. David Ress
    Pages 103-113
  7. David Ress
    Pages 115-125
  8. Back Matter
    Pages 127-130

About this book


In 1824 and 1830, over one hundred thousand acres across Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska were set aside as a home for descendants of Native American women and white traders and trappers. The treaties that established these so-called Half Breed Tracts left undefined exactly who held claim to the land, and by the end of the 1850s, settlers and speculators had appropriated virtually every acre for themselves. But in an era of ravenous westward expansion, why did the process of dispossession require three decades of debate and legal maneuvering? As David Ress argues, the fate of the Half Breed Tracts challenges longstanding ideas about land tenure and community in early national America.


Native American history settler colonialism American frontier Land tenure Property Rights Land use U.S. land policy Sac and Mesquakie nations Midwestern history John Locke squatters severalty scrip westward expansion

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Newport NewsUSA

About the authors

David Ress is a journalist and honorary research associate at the University of New England, Australia. He is the author of Municipal Accountability in the American Age of Reform (Palgrave, 2018) and Governor Edward Coles and the Vote to Forbid Slavery in Illinois, 1823–1824 (2006).

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title The Half Breed Tracts in Early National America
  • Book Subtitle Changing Concepts of Land and Place
  • Authors David Ress
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Pivot, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-030-31466-8
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-31469-9
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-030-31467-5
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages IX, 130
  • Number of Illustrations 0 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics US History
    Imperialism and Colonialism
    Legal History
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