Fence Laws vs. Herd Laws: A Nineteenth-Century Kansas Paradox
This study considers the conflict between farmers and cattle raisers over the fencing of animals and crops in Kansas during the 1870s. At that time, Kansas counties were given the option to retain the traditional fence laws (requiring crops to be fenced in) or to adopt the herd laws (requiring the restraining of animals by means of herding). Since barbed wire fencing did not reach Kansas until later, and a detailed agricultural census was recorded in 1875, this study tests alternative hypotheses as to why in 1875 approximately half the counties chose fence laws while the others chose herd laws.
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