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Golden RulesThe Origins of California Water Law in the Gold Rush$
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Mark Kanazawa

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226258676

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226258706.001.0001

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Origins of the Common Law of Mining and Water Rights

Origins of the Common Law of Mining and Water Rights

(p.157) Chapter Six Origins of the Common Law of Mining and Water Rights
Golden Rules

Mark Kanazawa

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 6 examines the movement from the unofficial law of water rights as developed in the mining camps to the official law, as promulgated in the state courts. This movement occurred as camps experienced various sources of instability, including corruption, enforcement costs, internal camp politics, and increasing generalized dissatisfaction with camp rules. These factors made it increasingly difficult over time for camps to keep order and enforce rights, encouraging miners to increasingly favor reliance on external governance mechanisms, both legislative and judicial. The state courts would largely defer to local mining camp rules and customs, lending lasting influence to the rules crafted in the mining camps. Thus, miners ended up with the substance of many of their own rules and were backed by the enforcement machinery and resources of the states.

Keywords:   property rights, mining camps, mining codes, enforcement costs, mining camp politics, claim monopolization

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