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Industrial CowboysMiller & Lux and the Transformation of the Far West, 1850-1920$
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David Igler

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520226586

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520226586.001.0001

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Privatizing the San Joaquin Landscape in the 1870s

Privatizing the San Joaquin Landscape in the 1870s

(p.60) Chapter 3 Privatizing the San Joaquin Landscape in the 1870s
Industrial Cowboys

David Igler

University of California Press

This chapter explores the problem of land monopoly in California at the beginning of the 1870s. It then explains that a new awareness slowly emerged linking land monopoly with the consolidation of water rights, corporate growth, and industrial agriculture. The chapter notes that Miller and Lux's activities constituted a primary reason for the public's shifting concern, and narrates that Miller and Lux came under repeated attack during the decade as the state's largest land speculators. It explains that this land-centered business strategy changed with Miller and Lux's initial investments in the San Joaquin and King's River Canal and Irrigation Company. The chapter notes that Miller and Lux realized that whilst land acquisition allowed the company to increase cattle production and hedge bets against an uncertain environment, water rights and irrigation systems would ultimately determine who could profit from the valley's natural wealth.

Keywords:   California, San Joaquin, land monopoly, Miller and Lux, business strategy, San Joaquin, water rights, irrigation systems, profit

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