Public Domain (land)

Public Domain (land)

Public domain lands are those not under private or state ownership during the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States, as the country was expanding. These lands were obtained from the 13 original colonies, from Native American tribes, or from purchase from other countries. The domain was controlled by the federal government and sold to state and private interests through the auspices of the General Land Office. For most of the nation's early history, the government sought to promote settlement of the expanding frontier by selling off the public domain after it had been acquired. The authority for this came under laws such as the Homestead Act, the Timber and Stone Act, and the Morrill Act.

The creation of the first public domain of the United States, the Northwest Territory, began an epoch in American political history. It was decided early that new states would be created from it, to be added to the union in full equality to the original 13 states. Its subsequent expansion, the mode of its administration, legislation for its government, its relation to constitutional questions, the diplomacy and politics involved in its acquisition, its international boundary questions, the enactment of settlement laws, the attraction of immigrants and growth of population, internal improvements and increased facilities of transportation, the discovery of precious metals, and other similar topics of interest might be cited here in connection with the public domain.

Read more about Public Domain (land):  History

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