The Development of Inefficient Property Rights in the Postbellum U.S South


After the end of the American Civil War in 1865, private property rights were adopted across the abundant rural land of the American South, despite significant costs of fencing and low value of land.

This project seeks to establish why these new rights were established when the potential benefits appeared to be outweighed by the costs. At present there is a gap in understanding why this happened due to the lack of historical data on property legislation.

A database will be created, collecting key information on all property rights legislation across 1,207 counties of the 11 states of the American South between 1850 and 1880. Thanks to the John Fell Fund, two research assistants will support Jorge Mangonnet on this project.

It is hoped future research projects into property rights will evolve from the foundations of this preliminary work.