Government Honors Thesis: Caroline Carmer

Title: First Come First Served: Land Ownership in Early America

Author: Caroline Carmer


This thesis examines the complex development of land ownership in America after the Revolution and during the founding years. The thesis predicts that boundary conflicts and conflicting political positions about how the land should be used were the two main principles defining land ownership in early America.

The research model is a comparative case study of the land laws from Virginia, Kentucky, Ohio and the federal government. Throughout this work, who received legal land ownership in America and why is examined by studying how the laws resolved boundary disputes and differing political opinions about land in each state.

The body of this text divulges the conflicts resolution in the land laws. And, the laws verify the prediction that conflicts about boundaries and differing political positions about land influenced the foundation of American land ownership. The resolutions of boundary disputes fortify the physical boundaries of national, state, and local governments in America and allow for a strong government to enforce land ownership. And, the resolution of conflicting political positions about land expose how the government distributes the land and who receives land ownership.