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Transactions of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters
volume IV (1876-1877)

Allen, William F.
Department of social and political sciences,   pp. [1]-6 PDF (1.8 MB)

Page [1]

                      By WILLIAM F. ALLEN,
          Professor of Latin and History in the University of Wisconsin.
  The investigations into the system of collective property in land,
which have recently thrown so much light upon the early history
of institutions, -have --been for the most part confined to the Teu-
tonic and Slavonic nations of Europe. Among these nations, col-
lective property in land has been fourld to have been nearly uni-
versal in early times, and in many of these, clear traces of it exist
to the present day. In regard to the nations of southern Europe,
the field has hardly been explored at all. Mr. Maine, in his last
work, "The Early History of Institutions," says, in relation
France, that "this darkness has recently given signs of lifting"
(p. 5), and that " M. Le Play and others have come upon plain
traces of such communities in several parts of France." Bonne-
mere, in his "Histoire des Paysans," devotes a chapter
to these
communities; La Chavanne, in his "Histoire des classes agri-
coles," discusses them at some length; and Laveleye, in his
"Primitive Property," describes them in two or three very
esting chapters. Nevertheless, there has been no systematic and
exhaustive examination of this 'subject for France, such as the
works of von Maurer and Thudichum for Germany, and of Nasse
for England.
  Some light may perhaps be thrown upon this inquiry by an ex-
amination of such registers of seignorial estates as are accessible,
to ascertain whether any traces are discernible in them of a sys-
tematic organization of the peasantry, such as is manifest to the most
superficial glance in England. I have, in former years, read to this

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