7 million acres of communal land since community and

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community and communal holdings were more common than individual grants, and they had lessmoney, they were more vulnerable. More than 80 percent of the grant holders lost their lands. The slowness of litigation fell hardest on small farmers and herders, who did not have the means to survive the processThe santa fe ring and the land grab money drove the influence of the Santa Fe Ring. In the early stages of the occupation, some Mexicans competed in economic enterprises such as freighting. Lawyers were used and government contants to make killing real estast dealsThe cabal accumulated ill-gotten profits by forming joint stock companies and private investment pools. The Santa Fe Ring was complemented by a host of individual speculators and numerous smaller rings who were active in land deals, railroads, mills, farming, small-scale manufacturing, and shipping.44 The ring’s most audacious caper was its takeover of the MaxwellLand Grant: Charles Beaubien and Guadalupe Miranda had received the grant in 1841.after the rebels killed a business agent, the company retaliated by raising a 23-man posse to trackdown the killers. Mexicans burned crops, cut fences, destroyed buildings, and slaugh- tered cattle. As the spring wore on, armed outbreaks became even more common. In responding to the stiff resistance, the company changed its tactics and began to give Mexicans preferential treatment, hoping to turn U.S. farmers against themThroughout the violence, the Santa Fe group shamelessly manipulated the legal system. The territo- rial legislature passed laws authorizing the courts to partition grants if even the smallest owner of the prop- erty requested a partition. This meant that the ring could buy out a minority holder and force the sale of the entire grant.Today, the federal government owns 34.9 percent of the land in New Mexico. The state government owns 12 percent, while federal Indian reservations own 6.8 percent. Thus the state and federal governments together own 53.7 percent of New Mexico, with the U.S. Forest Servicecontrolling one-third of the state’s land.47 It is important to note that government control of public lands did not ensure public use or the public good. Special interests that had greater accessto government and its resources consequently were able to monopo- lize New Mexico’s wealthLincoln county warthe arrival of large numbers of Euro-Americans seeking to make a killing by run- ning cattle on the open rangeland in places like Lincoln County pushed Mexicans off the land. The cow- boys clashed with the Mexicans, who herded sheep on the range, and invented the fiction that sheep and cattle could not graze on the same land.The Murphy clan hired outlaws as rustlers to steal cattle for their beef-supply enterprise. Many Tex- ans, renowned for their hatred of Mexicans, joined the Murphy gang. By January 27, 1874, the Sante Fe New Mexican editorialized that Lincoln County had exploded into an “unfortunate war between the Texans and the Mexicans.”
The Lincoln County War broke out in the spring of 1877 when Englishman John H. Tunstall

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