By John Mattingly
Throughout our history, conditions and perceptions have affected several events with unexpected consequences, including:
1. Incorruptible Peasants, aka Land Barons. When the U.S. opened up the Western United States to homesteading, the intent was to stimulate the Jeffersonian “incorruptible peasants” by granting them 160 acres – or 320 acres to a peasant and his wife, thus creating a landed peasant class, unique to the U.S. Going west from Washington D.C. out to the 100th meridian, which is approximately the Colorado-Kansas border, 320 acres was, for the most part, an economic unit for a peasant. The ground was fertile enough, and received enough natural moisture to sustain an incorruptible operation.