Tamara Venit Shelton is Assistant Professor of History at Claremont McKenna College.
"Solidly researched, impeccably written, and filled with insights."—CHOICE
“This bold and ambitious book argues that resistance to land monopoly in the 1850s and 1860s informed later political and intellectual debates over industrial combinations and the shape of American institutions. From the perceived threat Mexican land grants posed to natural rights in an agrarian republic; to the growing fear of the 1870s and 1880s that the railroad and other corporations would crush free competition and equal opportunity; to the conclusion of many reformers by the 1890s that combination produced efficiencies of scale and organization that should be regulated rather than broken up, A Squatter’s Republic
demonstrates the value of taking a new look at the relationship between nineteenth-century land policies and American politics, institutions, and values.” —Donald J. Pisani, University of Oklahoma
“Land reform and anti-monopoly politics have long been discussed obliquely, as an ever-present but poorly understood element in Gilded Age labor and farmers’ movements. No longer. Tamara Venit Shelton has made compelling sense of a central thread in nineteenth-century American politics, social movements, and social thought. A Squatter’s Republic
is an important and satisfying book.” —Reeve Huston, Duke University
“In this first full-length historical study of ‘the land question,’ Tamara Venit Shelton dispels any lingering notions of a dichotomy between speculators and squatters—moral/immoral, agrarian/capitalist, rich/poor, or otherwise—and boldly asserts that the quest for squatters’ rights dominated local and state politics well beyond the Gold Rush. This book is a must read for scholars interested in the Golden State’s controversial history. Those looking to liven up their reading lists for their California and U.S. history seminars would also do well to consider it.” —David Vaught, Texas A&M University