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Public Lands and Political MeaningRanchers, the Government, and the Property between Them$
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Karen Merrill

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520228627

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520228627.001.0001

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Property Rights and Political Meaning

Property Rights and Political Meaning

Chapter:
(p.169) Chapter 6 Property Rights and Political Meaning
Source:
Public Lands and Political Meaning
Author(s):

Karen R. Merrill

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520228627.003.0007

This chapter argues that the gulf between Harold Ickes' and Farrington Carpenter's understandings of the Taylor Grazing Act reflected the act's own profound ambiguities, which help explain the political explosions over the issue in the 1940s. Carpenter's seeming reluctance to build an administration was, in Ickes' view, matched only by his inability or unwillingness to engage in truly administrative work. As soon as Pat McCarran's hearings got off the ground in 1941, there was considerable criticism of the expanding bureaucracy of the Grazing Service. On the ranchers' side, the Taylor Grazing Act helped to create a belief that they had established property interests in the public lands. The grazing fee controversy was solved by the appointment of a California cattle rancher, Rex Nicholson, to make a study of fees and present a new set of proposals, just as Dan Casement had done in the late 1920s.

Keywords:   Harold Ickes, Farrington Carpenter, Taylor Grazing Act, Pat McCarran, bureaucracy, property rights, political meaning, Rex Nicholson, public lands

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