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Old 09-26-2012, 02:15 PM  
La literatura La literatura is offline
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History Trivia Question: 40 acres and a mule

You might remember from your history classes about the radical Republican idea to provide former slaves with "40 acres and a mule."

My question to you all: where did they come up with the 40 acres?
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Literature View Post
There is no book that I can find about this huge project of surveying the entire country west of the Allegheny Mtns, and there should be one. I guess I'll have to do it.
I have access to a vast collection of maps.....some very old. Mainly california though...but quite a few scattered random older maps.
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:51 PM   #17
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If you want i can see what the oldest map I have of that area is
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:56 PM   #18
La literatura La literatura is offline
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Okay, here is a book for all those interested in this enormously influential project: http://www.amazon.com/Measuring-Amer...ref=pd_sim_b_1
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Old 09-26-2012, 03:57 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by JonesCrusher View Post
Is starting a thread the first thought that comes to mind when you have a random question?
No, I've had this in my mind for a couple of days now.
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Old 09-26-2012, 04:02 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Pawnmower View Post
I have access to a vast collection of maps.....some very old. Mainly california though...but quite a few scattered random older maps.
Pictured you as Ron Burgandy as I read that.
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Old 09-26-2012, 05:26 PM   #21
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That's what I thought the question was. If it's as Amno is stating, yeah, it was a swath of abandoned, but still titled, land in the SE US.

The mules weren't part of the proclamation, Sherman just had a bunch of mules left over from the campaign that he let applicants pick from to run their farming operations.

If it's as I original understood it, 40 acres is 1/4 mile x 1/4 mile. Original surveyors designated Sections as 1x1 mi., then divided 1/2x1/2 and subdivided into 16 40 acre plots in a square mile.

The cynic in me is half expecting Jenson to bring in some theory that 40 acres was 1/4 of a Homestead, like N***ers were 1/4 of a citizen.
Wouldn't they then get 3/5 of an acre?
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:20 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Literature View Post
Yeah, you guys know your stuff. 640 acres is a square mile, and that's how the entire frontier was basically chalked off. And within that square mile, you divided into quarters, which could again be. and commonly was, divided into quarters.

And every title abstract and legal description of land that's not platted in a city (and maybe some that is), starts off being called something like "The NW1/4 of the SE1/4 of [that particularly labeled square mile (e.g., Sec. 12 of Township 13 of Range 14)
Is that where terms like "the back 40" came from when referencing a seemingly randomly sized large patch of land?
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:35 PM   #23
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Wouldn't they then get 3/5 of an acre?
As it turns out, they each got a nice, round 0/5.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:52 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saul Badguy View Post
Is that where terms like "the back 40" came from when referencing a seemingly randomly sized large patch of land?
Back 40 comes from Homesteads, which are 160 acres total.

Front 40 was where the house/barn was, and was closest to thoroughfares.

Middle 80 were where crops were cultivated

Back 40 was usually left to nature, often the most problematic from a cultivation standpoint, where the stands of trees, creeks and wild animal habitats were.
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Old 09-26-2012, 06:54 PM   #25
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As it turns out, they each got a nice, round 0/5.
I know it doesn't sound like much, but they sure add up.
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Old 09-26-2012, 10:22 PM   #26
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:57 AM   #27
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C'mon, man. Don't just drop the one-word answer. What is Biblical? The 40 acres, or the mule?
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Old 09-27-2012, 01:18 PM   #28
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:02 PM   #29
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:42 PM   #30
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It's the total square footage of 20 basketball courts divided by the surface area of a pack of Kools.
That is just so wrong,

very funny, but wrong
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