Sep 16, 2011

Immigration Realities: America's Illegal Pioneers

Here's a largely unknown bit of history that challenges a piece of what many today accept as 'conventional wisdom'.

Forbes: "Everyone knows that America was settled by immigrants. But few realize how much of this settlement was done illegally. Shortly after winning independence, Congress enacted legislation that called for newly acquired western lands to be divided into large 640-acre plots and sold for a dollar an acre.

This scheme proved proved impractical. As economist Hernando de Soto has written, few settlers had either $640 or the legal expertise to navigate America’s cumbersome property laws. And so thousands of migrants simply ignored the law and settled illegally on vacant land."

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