Common Sense or Commonwealth - Common Sense or Commonwealth...

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Common Sense or Commonwealth? The Fence Law and Institutional Change in the  Postbellum South Shawn Everett Kantor & J. Morgan Kousser Saturday, March 08, 2008 10:36 PM Fence Laws o Should owners of livestock be liable for damages to crops by livestock if the  livestock was not fenced in  - "Stock law" Post-Civil War legislation allowed voters in counties to adopt laws o Or should crop owners fence out livestock - "Fence Law" Prevailing law pre Civil War   "under the fence law, the owners of grazing animals could let them run free on  other peoples' land. This law therefore encouraged stock raisers to increase the  size of their herds beyond the size they would have maintained if they had to  confine and feed the animals on their own property" pp 205   "Since every farmer under an open-range regime has an economic incentive to  transfer his own cost of raising livestock onto others, private contracts in this  setting are difficult, if not impossible, to negotiate and enforce when there are many  farmers" pp 205       Postbellum southern society and politics o Struggles between "agrarian bourgeoisie" and those who believed in "a  cooperative principle that challenged the tenets of bourgeois individualism and  property" Hahn Critics of Stock Law "was the starkest instance of efforts by the emerging postbellum elite to cast 
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