The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 171
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Book Reviews and Notices
determination of the efficacy of public land as a "source or system
of public revenue." Eight specific, but subordinate, objectives of
inquiry are pursued. Twenty-five statistical tables are included for
illustration and explanation.
Out of an estimated total of nearly 171,000,000 acres, left after
the sale of 67,000,000 acres to the United States in 1850, the State
of Texas appropriated nearly 52,000,000 acres to the public schools,
the University of Texas, and the eleemosynary institutions. Other
large grants of land listed in a table on page 244 were: 36,876,492
acres for bounties and donations; 32,400,000 acres for railway build-
ing; 4,494,806 acres for colonization contracts; 4,847,136 acres for
homesteads; and 3,050,000 acres for the State Capitol. 2,000,000
acres of University lands and some scattered tracts of school lands
remain unsold. Recent oil developments have vindicated the policy
of the Board of Regents of the University of Texas to withhold from
sale nearly all of the University's lands. The state still owns
1,722,800 acres of reserved submerged lands.
Practically speaking, the public domain is gone. Texas used
"both the fiscal and non-fiscal principles of land disposition." Dis-
regarding an excess of 26,000,000 acres granted by Spain and
Mexico, we find that the state derived the sum of $113,837,945.59
from its land, or 78 cents per acre. This sum is less than one-sixth
of the total state revenue collected during the period from 1835 to
1929. Has the policy of alienation paid? Professor Lang con-
cludes that it paid in "lower tax rates on an ever-increasing amount
of private wealth," obviated taxation to a certain extent through
the grants for education, increased the state's population and
wealth, and "was essential to state-building." On the other hand,
he regrets that more lands were not sold for revenue, especially
those set aside for education, and asserts that "the interests of the
educational funds should have been paramount." Although settle-
ment and home ownership needed stimulation, "it is exceedingly
doubtful if such a policy [that of selling educational lands] would
have produced any greater problem of farm tenancy than that which
now exists in Texas." The wisdom of a policy "looking primarily
to . . . revenue possibilities" is best seen in the administration
of the remaining University lands by the Board of Regents of the
University of Texas.
R. L. BIESELE.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/185/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.