The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942 Page: 28
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Farming classes were resentful over the absentee ownership
of large tracts of fertile soil when it was becoming increasingly
difficult for them to get sufficient land for their needs. As
frontiersmen they had cleared the forests and laid the way
for prosperity, and now it seemed to them that the richer
classes were reaping the rewards. The solution of this problem
was the Alien Land Law, which struck a second time during
this session at the railroads. Under the general act of incor-
poration in Texas, corporations could in effect entail their
property-"corporations possibly of non-resident aliens." Crit-
icism of such a condition was severe.
If the ownership of realty can not be confined to
citizens of the United States, it would be safest to
repeal the feature which allows corporations to own
or control real estate beyond a limited and specified
amount.. A financial crisis, such as our country shows
to be possible, might crowd our ranchmen to the wall
and throw millions of acres into the hands of alien
owners and bring the hardships of absenteeism to our
Land speculation in the eighties had aroused sentiment
against corporations, but the basis of resentment was in the
feeling that Texas land should be sold to actual Texas settlers,
and in the suspicion, often verified by facts, that corporations
had used extra-legal if not illegal methods of acquiring their
lands. Agrarian-minded R. T. Milner was unmistakably in
favor of an alien land law, and for his advocacy he was bit-
terly assailed by those who opposed it. One example of this
was an editorial from the Fort Worth Gazette, which accused:
The Henderson Times is in favor of the alien land
law. . . . The Henderson Times lives in a section
that is favored. Rusk County pays to the state $9000
in state taxes, and $7000 in school taxes; but to Rusk
County the state kindly apportions from the school
fund over $21,000. In other words, the taxpayers of
Texas subsidize Rusk County to the extent of $5000
annually-Texas pays to Rusk County $5000 more an-
nually than Rusk County pays to Texas. And yet there
are a few Western newspapers who have joined hands
with The Times to kill West Texas (the goose that
lays the egg for Rusk County) with the alien land law,
as amended by Mr. Gossett. Rusk County needs no
128W. C. Walsh, Report of Commissioner of General Land Ofice (1882),
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 45, July 1941 - April, 1942, periodical, 1942; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146053/m1/34/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.