The Illinois and Wabash Land Companies
Purchases and Petitions
This chapter discusses the case of Johnson v. M'Intosh. The case, from the beginning, is a story about land: 43,000 square miles of lush, rolling farmland commanding the junctures of four major river systems in Indiana and Illinois. It is a story of unintended consequences, of the way a spurious claim gave rise to a doctrine intended to be of limited application, which itself gave rise to a massive displacement of persons, and the creation of an entire legal regime.
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