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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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Lux v. Haggin

Lux v. Haggin

Reclaiming the San Joaquin from Nature

(p.92) Chapter 4 Lux v. Haggin
Industrial Cowboys

David Igler

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the importance of land reclamation practices in bringing order and productivity to the land, explaining that land reclamation rapidly accelerated in California under the direction of capitalized enterprises such as Miller and Lux. It narrates that between 1875 and 1890, the Tulare Basin became a locus of controversy not over reclamation itself, but over legal, social, and environmental fallout from reclaiming the landscape. Lux v. Haggin (1881–1886), California's landmark water battle between Miller and Lux and James Haggin, served as a public forum for the conflict. The chapter explains that this battle raised attention to California's mounting conflict between riparian water rights and appropriative water rights; in short, between landowners whose property bordered a river, and those who appropriated a river's flow for irrigation. It also revealed tensions regarding agriculturalists who lacked capital and the power to reclaim their own land, and who struggled against the urban capitalists that controlled property and production.

Keywords:   land-reclamation practices, California, Miller and Lux, Tulare Basin, James Haggin, riparian water rights, appropriative water rights, landowners, flow of irrigation, urban capitalists

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