Through a compelling story about the conflict over a notorious
Mexican-period land grant in northern New Mexico, David Correia
examines how law and property are constituted through violence and
Spain and Mexico populated what is today New Mexico through large
common property land grants to sheepherders and agriculturalists.
After the U.S.-Mexican War the area saw rampant land speculation
and dubious property adjudication. Nearly all of the huge land
grants scattered throughout New Mexico were rejected by U.S. courts
or acquired by land speculators. Of all the land grant conflicts in
New Mexico's history, the struggle for the Tierra Amarilla land
grant, the focus of Correia's story, is one of the most
sensational, with numerous nineteenth-century speculators ranking
among the state's political and economic elite and a remarkable
pattern of resistance to land loss by heirs in the twentieth
Correia narrates a long and largely unknown history of property
conflict in Tierra Amarilla characterized by nearly constant
violence-night riding and fence cutting, pitched gun battles, and
tanks rumbling along the rutted dirt roads of northern New Mexico.
The legal geography he constructs is one that includes a surprising
and remarkable cast of characters: millionaire sheep barons,
Spanish anarchists, hooded Klansmen, Puerto Rican terrorists, and
undercover FBI agents. By placing property and law at the center of
his study, Properties of Violence provocatively suggests
that violence is not the opposite of property but rather is
essential to its operation.
Subjects: Population Studies, Sociology, History
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