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Yazoo Land Fraud Essay

1012 words - 5 pages

The American Revolution marked the beginning of a new era for the colonies. The newly established states were met with a set of unique challenges. One of the challenges Georgia encountered was settling an international land dispute with Spain. In 1783, the Treaty of Paris formally ended the Revolutionary War and Spain was given back their Florida territory. However, Spain had also asserted ownership of land east of the Mississippi and North of the Yazoo River which Georgia had also claimed. Georgia was left to settle this international land dispute on their own. Georgia’ solution to this land dispute was to settle the Yazoo Lands. Georgia legislatures needed to ensure that they could quickly ...view middle of the document...

While land speculation is not illegal, the deals made behind the scenes had caused uproar amongst the people of Georgia (Brief History of Georgia pp. 56-59). It was discovered that the companies had acquired thirty-five million acres of land for a mere $500,000, and that Georgia state legislators had also made private deals amongst the companies as well. Each acre of land was sold for around two-cents each, and the companies were selling the land at a much higher and unfair price to further increase their profits. It was also discovered that twenty-eight out of the twenty-nine Georgia legislators who approved of the companies offers had taken bribes. Once news of the scandal broke out, many legislators had fled the state and the capital of Georgia was moved to Louisville (NGE: Yazoo Land Fraud). Republican senator, James Jackson, was outraged by the scandal and resigned his seat to return to Georgia to assist in overturning the sale. In 1796, The Rescinding Act would nullify the Yazoo sale and ordered the destruction of all material related to the scandal. In 1798, Georgia created a new state constitution that would include material from the Rescinding Act. James Jackson furthered his attempts to reverse the effects of the scandal by preventing those who claimed Yazoo lands from being able to cession until republicans were in full control (Brief History of Georgia pp. 57-60). However, in the case of Fletcher v. Peck (1810), Chief Justice John Marshall ruled, “that the Rescinding Act had been an unconstitutional violation of the right to contract,”; Congress created a solution for the claimants by giving five million dollars of the proceeds to be shared by the claimants with the land shares of the Mississippi. (NGE: Yazoo Land Fraud).
In 1802, the Compact of 1802 was put into action, “under the Compact of 1802, Georgia sold the areas that are today Alabama and Mississippi to the federal government…it...

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