solid surface of Earth that is not permanently covered by water
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- Globalization made the large open spaces of the Americas, its “open frontiers,” valuable. Often these frontiers were only mythically open, since they were inhabited by indigenous peoples who were brutally dispossessed. All the same, the scramble for this newly valuable resource was one of the defining processes of the Americas in the second half of the nineteenth century. The sudden opening of this valuable frontier led not to parallel processes in the United States and Latin America, but to a further divergence, shaped by the existing institutional differences, especially those concerning who had access to the land. In the United States a long series of legislative acts, ranging from the Land Ordinance of 1785 to the Homestead Act of 1862, gave broad access to frontier lands. Though indigenous peoples had been sidelined, this created an egalitarian and economically dynamic frontier. In most Latin American countries, however, the political institutions there created a very different outcome. Frontier lands were allocated to the politically powerful and those with wealth and contacts, making such people even more powerful.
- Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Poverty, and Prosperity (2012), p. 49
- How far, O rich, do you extend your senseless avarice? Do you intend to be the sole inhabitants of the earth? Why do you drive out the fellow sharers of nature, and claim it all for yourselves? The earth was made for all, rich and poor, in common. Why do you rich claim it as your exclusive right? The soil was given to the rich and poor in common—wherefore, oh, ye rich, do you unjustly claim it for yourselves alone? Nature gave all things in common for the use of all; usurpation created private rights. Property hath no rights. The earth is the Lord's, and we are his offspring. The pagans hold earth as property. They do blaspheme God.
- LAND, n. A part of the earth's surface, considered as property. The theory that land is property subject to private ownership and control is the foundation of modern society, and is eminently worthy of the superstructure. Carried to its logical conclusion, it means that some have the right to prevent others from living; for the right to own implies the right exclusively to occupy; and in fact laws of trespass are enacted wherever property in land is recognized. It follows that if the whole area of terra firma is owned by A, B and C, there will be no place for D, E, F and G to be born, or, born as trespassers, to exist.
- The Negro voter ... had, then, but one clear economic ideal and that was his demand for land, his demand that the great plantations be subdivided and given to him as his right. This was a perfectly fair and natural demand and ought to have been an integral part of Emancipation. To emancipate four million laborers whose labor had been owned, and separate them from the land upon which they had worked for nearly two and a half centuries, was an operation such as no modern country had for a moment attempted or contemplated. The German and English and French serf, the Italian and Russian serf, were, on emancipation, given definite rights in the land. Only the American Negro slave was emancipated without such rights and in the end this spelled for him the continuation of slavery.
- W. E. B. Du Bois, Black Reconstruction in America (1935), p. 611
- When they laid down their arms, we murdered them. We lied to them. We cheated them out of their lands. We starved them into signing fraudulent agreements that we called treaties which we never kept. We turned them into beggars on a continent that gave life for as long as life can remember. And by any interpretation of history, however twisted, we did not do right. We were not lawful nor were we just in what we did. For them, we do not have to restore these people, we do not have to live up to some agreements, because it is given to us by virtue of our power to attack the rights of others, to take their property, to take their lives when they are trying to defend their land and liberty, and to make their virtues a crime and our own vices virtues.
- Generally speaking, no young tree is allowed to stand on copyhold land.
- Edward Coke, 3rd Rep. 15; reported in James William Norton-Kyshe, Dictionary of Legal Quotations (1904), p. 147. Hence the maxim, that "the oak scorns to grow except on free land."
- The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.
- The equal right of all men to the use of land is as clear as their equal right to breathe the air — it is a right proclaimed by the fact of their existence. For we cannot suppose that some men have a right to be in this world, and others no right.
- This land is your land, this land is my land
From California to the New York Island
From the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land is made for you and me.
- This land is the house we have always lived in
- Linda Hogan (writer) Dark. Sweet.: New & Selected Poems (2014)
- The emigration should be voluntary, for it would be as cruel as unjust to compel the aborigines to abandon the graves of their fathers and seek a home in a distant land. But they should be distinctly informed that if they remain within the limits of the States they must be subject to their laws. In return for their obedience as individuals they will without doubt be protected in the enjoyment of those possessions which they have improved by their industry. But it seems to me visionary to suppose that in this state of things claims can be allowed on tracts of country on which they have neither dwelt nor made improvements, merely because they have seen them from the mountain or passed them in the chase.
- Our system is to live in perpetual peace with the Indians, to cultivate an affectionate attachment from them, by everything just and liberal which we can do for them within the bounds of reason, and by giving them effectual protection against wrongs from our own people. The decrease of game rendering their subsistence by hunting insufficient, we wish to draw them to agriculture, to spinning and weaving. The latter branches they take up with great readiness, because they fall to women, who gain by quitting the labors of the field for those which are exercised within doors. When they withdraw themselves to the culture of a small piece of land, they will perceive how useless to them are their extensive forests, and will be willing to pare them off from time to time in exchange for necessaries for their farms and families. To promote this disposition to exchange lands, which they have to spare and we want, for necessaries, which we have to spare and they want, we shall push our trading uses, and be glad to see the good and influential individuals among them run in debt, because we observe that when these debts get beyond what the individuals can pay, they become willing to lop them off by a cession of lands.
- Look at the legacy of poor Eve's exile from Eden: the land shows the bruises of an abusive relationship. It’s not just land that is broken, but more importantly, our relationship to land.
- The federal government's Indian Removal policies wrenched many Native peoples from our homelands. It separated us from our traditional knowledge and lifeways, the bones of our ancestors, our sustaining plants—but even this did not extinguish identity. So the government tried a new tool, separating children from their families and cultures, sending them far away to school, long enough, they hoped, to make them forget who they were. [...] Children, language, lands: almost everything was stripped away, stolen when you weren't looking because you were trying to stay alive. In the face of such loss, one thing our people could not surrender was the meaning of land. In the settler mind, land was property, real estate, capital, or natural resources. But to our people, it was everything: identity, the connection to our ancestors, the home of our nonhuman kinfolk, our pharmacy, our library, the source of all that sustained us. Our lands were where our responsibility to the world was enacted, sacred ground. It belonged to itself; it was a gift, not a commodity, so it could never be bought or sold. These are the meanings people took with them when they were forced from their ancient homelands to new places. Whether it was their homeland or the new land forced upon them, land held in common gave people strength; it gave them something to fight for. And so—in the eyes of the federal government—that belief was a threat.
- The land knows you, even when you are lost.
- The truth of our relationship with the soil is written more clearly on the land than in any book.
- If we allow traditions to die, relationships to fade, the land will suffer.
- What’s good for the land is also good for the people.
- The land is the real teacher. All we need as students is mindfulness.
- It is an odd dichotomy we have set for ourselves, between loving people and loving land. We know that loving a person has agency and power—we know it can change everything. Yet we act as if loving the land is an internal affair that has no energy outside the confines of our head and heart.
- The story of our relationship to the earth is written more truthfully on the land than on the page. It lasts there. The land remembers what we said and what we did. Stories are among our most potent tools for restoring the land as well as our relationship to land. We need to unearth the old stories that live in a place and begin to create new ones, for we are storymakers, not just storytellers. All stories are connected, new ones woven from the threads of the old.
- If one cousin buys land, the other cousin gets a stomachache.
- The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, ... "The land shall not be sold in perpetuity, for the land is mine. For you are strangers and sojourners with me."
- The fate of North American Indian tribes frequently resembled that of the Australian Aborigines. European settlers arrived on their native territories and claimed the land for their own. When the Indians resisted, the settlers, supported by their colonial governments, or their national, state, and local governments, were quick to drive out or kill the Indians and their families or to force them onto reservations to live out their lives in alien surroundings. As in the case of the Aborigines, children were taken from Indian families, women were kidnapped and raped, promises of peace were made and broken, and claims of racial and civilizational superiority were used by the settlers to justify their land grabbing and their killing. North American native peoples, like the Aborigines, were highly susceptible to the diseases brought to their homelands by the settlers and prone to the abuse of alcohol, which the settlers purposely employed to undermine their ability to resist. Those settlers who raised livestock, primarily cows and sheep, tended to have the sharpest conlicts with the Indians, provoking massacres and outright warfare between Indian tribes and government and militia formations. The tendency of the North American settlers to see the Indians as hopelessly primitive and incapable of marshaling the resources of the land gave them “reason” to deprive those Indians of the most desirable lands and territories.
- Norman Naimark, Genocide: A World History (2017)
- After millennia of Native history, and centuries of displacement and dispossession, acknowledging original Indigenous inhabitants is complex. Many places in the Americas have been home to different Native Nations over time, and many Indigenous people no longer live on lands to which they have ancestral ties. Even so, Native Nations, communities, families, and individuals today sustain their sense of belonging to ancestral homelands and protect these connections through Indigenous languages, oral traditions, ceremonies, and other forms of cultural expression.
- Men did not make the earth. ... It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. ... Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds.
- Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice (1795).
- The land and all it contains, without which labor cannot be exerted, belong to no one man, but to all alike.
- Nor was thy Lord the one to destroy a land until He had sent to its centre an apostle, rehearsing to them Our Signs; nor are We going to destroy a land except when its inhabitants practise iniquity. The (material) things which ye are given are but the conveniences of this life and the glitter thereof; but that which is with Allah is better and more enduring: will ye not then be wise? Are (these two) alike?- one to whom We have made a goodly promise, and who is going to reach its (fulfilment), and one to whom We have given the good things of this life, but who, on the Day of Judgment, is to be among those brought up (for punishment)?
- Quran 28:59-61
- Buy land. They ain't making any more of the stuff.
- Will Rogers, as quoted in Land in America : Its Value, Use, and Control (1981) by Peter M. Wolf, p. 6
- Unsourced variant: Buy land, they aren't making any more of it.
- The first man who, having fenced off a plot of land, thought of saying, 'This is mine' and found people simple enough to believe him was the real founder of civil society. How many crimes, wars, murders, how many miseries and horrors might the human race have been spared by the one who, upon pulling up the stakes or filling in the ditch, had shouted to his fellow men: 'Beware of listening to this imposter; you are lost if you forget the fruits of the earth belong to all and that the earth belongs to no one.'
- The white men aren't friends to the Indians... At first they only asked for land sufficient for a wigwam; now, nothing will satisfy them but the whole of our hunting grounds from the rising to the setting sun.
- ¡Tierra y Libertad!
- Land and Liberty!
- A slogan popularized by Emiliano Zapata, quoted in Tierra y Libertad (1920) published by Imprenta Germinal; further attributed to Zapata in works in the 1930s and later, including, Without History: Subaltern Studies, the Zapatista Insurgency, and the Specter of History (2010) by José Rabasa, p. 122, where the influence of the anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón on its development is also attested.
- Land and Liberty!
- La tierra es de quien la trabaja con sus manos.
- The land belongs to those who work it with their hands.
- Emiliano Zapata, quoted as a slogan of the revolutionaries in Shirt-Sleeve Diplomat (1947) Vol. 5, p. 199, by Josephus Daniels, and specifically attributed to Zapata by Ángel Zúñiga in 1998, as quoted in Mexican Social Movements and the Transition to Democracy (2005), by John Stolle-McAllister.
- The land belongs to those who work it with their hands.