The Colorado Doctrine

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Water Rights, Corporations, and Distributive Justice on the American Frontier

David Schorr

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Making extensive use of archival and other primary sources, David Schorr demonstrates that the development of the “appropriation doctrine,” a system of private rights in water, was part of a radical attack on monopoly and corporate power in the arid West. Schorr describes how Colorado miners, irrigators, lawmakers, and judges forged a system of private property in water based on a desire to spread property and its benefits as widely as possible among independent citizens.  He demonstrates that ownership was not dictated by concerns for economic efficiency, but by a regard for social justice.

David Schorr is senior lecturer at Tel Aviv University, where he chairs the Law and Environment Program at the Faculty of Law.

"Schorr draws upon his meticulous research into documents from the early Colorado mining camps and nascent territorial and state water law." —Water History

The Colorado Doctrine is an excellent work with a thought-provoking thesis. Schorr has delved deep into the historical archives, so his conclusions have a sound footing in original source documents.”—Douglas E. Kupel, Western Legal History

ISBN: 9780300134476
Publication Date: November 27, 2012
256 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
15 b/w illus.
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