Liberating our Lands
Quick Fact #5
Congress and Eastern States Made the Case
By Rep. Ken Ivory
Utah House of Representatives
The evidence is overwhelming that Congress has ever been duty-bound to transfer title to the public lands within a reasonable time from the new states being admitted into the Union. Congress itself said so. So did the formerly "western states" of Illinois, Florida, Missouri, Louisiana, and many others.
"When these States stipulated not to tax the lands of the United States until they were sold, they rested upon the implied engagement of Congress to cause them to be sold, within a reasonable time. No just equivalent has been given those States for a surrender of an attribute of sovereignty so important to their welfare, and to an equal standing with the original States. ... A remedy for such great evils may be found in carrying into effect the spirit of the Federal Constitution, which knows of no inequality in the powers and rights of the several States." 20th U.S. Congress, Public Lands Committee Report, February 5, 1828. (Read more.)
Delaying the transfer of public lands "would not only contravene the spirit of the several acts of cession which have been adverted to, but would be inconsistent with the several compacts between the general government and the new States on their admission." And would "have been pronounced on all hands a violation of the compact, and a most revolting breach of good faith on the part of the United States?" 23rd U.S. Congress, Public Lands Committee Report, December 27, 1833. (Read more.)
"To advance, then, the interests of the general government, as well as those of our own Territory, your memorialists would respectfully suggest that the laws of the United States regulating the primary disposal of the public lands should be so altered as to permit the same to be disposed of in the manner proposed in the bill introduced in the Senate of the United States by the Hon. Thomas H. Benton, a senator in Congress from the State of Missouri." 20th Congress, 1st Session, December 31, 1827. (Read more.)
"... the causes which induce us, in Florida, to desire a change in the manner of disposing of public lands were more numerous and powerful that in any other section of the United States." 20th Congress, 1st Session, January 12, 1828 and 20th Congress, 1st Session, January 14, 1828. (Read here and here.)
Illinois "cannot resist impressing in on the serous attention of the Congress of the Union how injurious must be the operation of such a retarded disposition of the vast bodies of public land lying within this State, and how inevitably it must check its increase and population, and consequent improvement and resources, proving highly detrimental to the State, in point of revenue, by withholding from taxation such vast proportions of its soil."
Delaying the disposal of the public lands "operates as a virtual infraction of the compact."
"From the terms of that compact, and upon the supposition that the same is obligatory upon the parties to it, any act on the part of the government to delay the sales of the land in a reasonable period, whether accomplished by a positive refusal to sell, or by demanding for it a sum greatly beyond its value, by which the sales would be defeated, in a great measure, if not wholly so, would doubtless be an infraction of the compact itself."
"Should the present oppressive system continue, and no amelioration take place, it will not be denied that this question is susceptible of being presented in so grave an aspect as to involve considerations of the deepest magnitude, and demand the most serious and enlightened reflection of those charged with the interests of the confederacy." 20th Congress, 2nd Session, February 2, 1829. (Read more.)
"... this State, being a sovereign, free, and independent State, has the exclusive right to the soil and eminent domain of all the unappropriated lands within her acknowledged boundaries." 20th Congress, 2nd Session, February 10, 1829. (Read more.)
"... it is deemed a matter of the utmost importance to the interests of the State that it should have and possess the sole and exclusive jurisdiction of the unappropriated lands within its limits."
"That our senators in Congress be instructed, and our representatives requested, to exert their utmost abilities to obtain from the federal government a cession to this State of the public and unappropriated lands claimed by the United States, at as early a period and on such terms as may be beneficial to the State and advantageous to our citizens." 20th Congress, 2nd Session, January 26, 1829. (Read more.)
"... the system of disposing of the public lands of the United States now pursued is highly injurious, in many respects, to the States in which those lands lie, and to none, perhaps, more so than to the State of Missouri. ... under existing circumstances, ... a policy more injurious both to the United States and to the States in which the public lands lie could not, as your memorialists confidently believe, be pursued."
"... the true interests of the United States, as well as the interests of the new States, require a radical change in the system of disposing of the public lands ... - to increase the wealth and strength of the United States, and consequently the ability to bear the burdens of government in times of war or other public calamity, - to augment the revenue of the United States ... and increase the revenue of the States in which the public lands lie, are blessings and advantages which must arise from a change in the system of disposing of the public lands, and which are surely not to be treated lightly by a wise nation." 20th Congress, 2nd Session, January 26, 1829 and 20th Congress, 2nd Session, February 22, 1828. (Read here and here.)
Just like in 1828, once Congress honors to today's western states the same promise it made and kept with all states east of Colorado, the trillions of dollars in abundant minerals and natural resources locked up today in federally controlled lands can help to not only ensure education equality and economic self-reliance for the western states, but also grow the economic pie to help solve the very dire national debt, trillion-dollar deficits, and inestimable unfunded federal obligations. The American Lands Council is a public-private organization committed to securing local control of land access, land use and land ownership. Get involved now and join us in taking action.
First, Having presented this information to very supportive receptions throughout Washington, DC, next we will be presenting throughout the western states. Please click here to help with the expenses of moving this important work forward!
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