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Hibbard, Benjamin Horace, 1870-1955 / The history of agriculture in Dane County, Wisconsin
(1904)

Chapter III: The purchase of land from the government,   pp. 91-104 PDF (3.3 MB)


Page 104


BULLETIN OF TIlE UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN.
per acre and Avas at once put upon the market."4  The money
received for this land was to constitute a permanent fund, hence
it was even more desirable to leave it in the form of good secur-
ity than to have it paid in cash. This being the case, the sales
were made on remarkably easy terms, one-tenth down and the
balance on thirty years' time at seven per cent. interest. By this
means many a poor man was enabled to get a firm grip on a
farm, and in not a few instances these lands are still in the hands
of the original purchasers. The other state land was sold on
twenty years' time at ten per cent. interest, and even this was a
desirable bargain owing to the low price per acre.
   With the above facts before us it is easy to comprehend the
force of the remarks already made as to the difficulty in making
a fortune in holding land for a rise; there were too many alter-
natives open to the buyer, and with all his hardships he was
seldom at the mercy of the land shark until after the last of the
desirable public land had become private property. It was during
the early '50's that the greater part of the state land was sold
and it was also at this time that the first considerable rise in the
price of land occurred. Had the state during its early history
adopted the policy of selling land for what it would bring, there
would be a different story to tell in the matter of state finance,
but they followed persistently the first determination to offer land
at as low a price as possible and in this way encourage immigra-
tion, blindly trusting to the generosity of the tax payers to pro-
vide all necessary funds for future needs. This as a policy is
as unfair as it is inexpedient. It is unfair because only a limited
number of settlers can profit by the low prices; it is inexpedient
because. as seen in the sequel, the men who get land for a tenth
of its real value are not willing to give as freely as they have
received when contributions are asked for public expenditures.
"wisconsin Aseembly Journal, 1850.
104


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