By Mohsen Manutchehr-Danai
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Many land grants were sold to speculators who used them to accumulate great tracts of property. BIBLIOGRAPHY Oberly, James W. Sixty Million Acres: American Veterans and the Public Lands before the Civil War. Kent, Ohio: Kent State University Press, 1990. Paul W. Gates / a. r. See also Bounties, Military; Land Grants: Land Grants for Railways. LAND CLAIMS. In 1783, Great Britain ceded to the new republic sovereignty over about one-fourth of the land area of the present-day United States. S. sovereignty across the continent to the Paciﬁc Ocean.
Thus, in colonial America on the Atlantic seaboard, a connection was made between the surveying of a land tract and its “patenting” as private property. After the American Revolution and the ratiﬁcation of the Constitution, the Treasury Department was placed in charge of managing the public lands of the new nation. Public lands came to cover all the territory of the nation except the original thirteen states plus Vermont, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. The Treasury Department, and after 1812, the General Land Ofﬁce, called the granting of title to a buyer of public land a “patent,” so the name continued, even after the end of British rule.
Yes, the transportation network was completed, but settlement did not occur rapidly enough to make the railways proﬁtable as ongoing private enterprises. “Premature enterprise,” as one scholar termed it, had its beneﬁts, but also its costs. A third type of land grant was made to American veterans of past wars as a sort of old-age pension. This particularly applied to veterans of the War of 1812 (1812– 1815) and the host of Indian wars that the United States fought between 1800 and 1860. Pensions in cash were strictly limited to those soldiers who had been wounded and disabled in battle, a relatively small number of individuals.