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Unformatted text preview: 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 petty producers into a state of dependency"...
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course LS 140 taught by Professor Brown during the Spring '08 term at University of California, Berkeley.
- Spring '08