The Colorado Doctrine
Water Rights, Corporations, and Distributive Justice on the American Frontier
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.
"Schorr draws upon his meticulous research into documents from the early Colorado mining camps and nascent territorial and state water law." —Water History~Water History