To: The George Mason University Community
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences is pleased to announce the following dissertation defense (updated to include the online videoconferencing link):
Friday, April 16, 2021
01:00 PM - 03:00 PM
George Mason University
Online via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/93601098996?pwd=Y05KZVBEaWxXRyt4YmZHZmdDN09OUT09
The standard narrative of Spanish and Mexican land grants in California and New Mexico concludes that after the Mexican-American War the U.S. federal government deliberately, consistently, and systematically dispossessed
non-Anglo land grant claimants in an inherently corrupt and racist process. This dissertation complicates this narrative through an analysis of judicial and economic outcomes for Anglo, Hispanic, and Pueblo land grant claimants; and a case study analysis
of selected individual and communal (ejido) land grants. Also, a discussion of trans-national connections between the U.S. and Mexico regarding land grant legislation and the influence of anti-corporate utilitarian thought on liberal legal philosophy provides
This dissertation explores the importance of timing on the judicial and economic success of land grant claimants in California and New Mexico. Placing events and outcomes concerning land grants into three separate eras between 1850 and 1925 reveals an evolving judicial philosophy that explains significant differences in the success of land grant claimants in each period. The first era takes place between 1850 and 1877. During this period, the success or failure of land grant claims were based on the validity of legal contracts between the grantee and the Spanish or Mexican government as well as local Mexican custom. Hispanic, Anglo, and Pueblo land grant claimants whose land grants were adjudicated during this period were generally successful in receiving confirmations to their claims and generally achieved long term economic success. The second era takes place between 1877 and 1897. This was a period of transition as a more complex version of white supremacy, anti-corporate ideology, and anti-monopolist ideology were adopted at the local, state, and federal levels of government. All three sentiments favored the rejection of remaining Spanish and Mexican land grant claims. However, the federal judiciary continued to protect the property rights of Anglo, Hispanic, and Pueblo individuals and communities by minimizing the impact of increasingly racist and anti-corporate state and federal legislation. The third era takes place between 1897 and 1925. During this period, the U.S. federal courts increasingly leaned toward anti-corporate utilitarianism as a guiding philosophy. This led to the rejection of both individual and communal (ejido) land grant claims that disproportionately disadvantaged Hispanic land grant claimants. After 1897, U.S. federal courts also no longer provided legal protection from state and local level regulation that specifically targeted multiple minority groups attempting to achieve economic success through land ownership.
All members of the George Mason University community are invited to attend.