Martin Armstrong Asks "Do The Feds Really Own The Land In Nevada?"

Tyler Durden's picture


QUESTION: Is it true that nearly 80% of Nevada is still owned by the Federal Government who then pays no tax to the State of Nevada? This seems very strange if true as a backdrop to this entire Bundy affair.


Via Martin Armstrong of Armstrong Economics,


REPLY: The truth behind Nevada is of course just a quagmire of politics. Nevada was a key pawn in getting Abraham Lincoln reelected in 1864 during the middle of the Civil War. Back on March 21st, 1864, the US Congress enacted the Nevada Statehood statute that authorized the residents of Nevada Territory to elect representatives to a convention for the purpose of having Nevada join the Union. This is where we find the origin of the fight going on in Nevada that the left-wing TV commenters (pretend-journalists) today call a right-wing uprising that should be put down at all costs. The current land conflict in Nevada extends back to this event in 1864 and how the territory of Nevada became a state in order to push through a political agenda to create a majority vote. I have said numerous times, if you want the truth, just follow the money.

The “law” at the time in 1864 required that for a territory to become a state, the population had to be at least 60,000. At that time, Nevada had only about 40,000 people. So why was Nevada rushed into statehood in violation of the law of the day? When the 1864 Presidential election approached, there were special interests who were seeking to manipulate the elections to ensure Lincoln would win reelection. They needed another Republican congressional delegation that could provide additional votes for the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment to abolish slavery. Previously, the attempt failed by a very narrow margin that required two-thirds support of both houses of Congress.


The fear rising for the 1864 election was that there might arise three major candidates running. There was Abraham Lincoln of the National Union Party, George B. McClellan of the Democratic Party, and John Charles Frémont (1813–1890) of the Radical Democracy Party. It was actually Frémont who was the first anti-slavery Republican nominee back in the 1940s. During the Civil War, he held a military command and was the first to issue an emancipation edict that freed slaves in his district. Lincoln maybe credited for his stand, but he was a politician first. Lincoln relieved Frémont of his command for insubordination. Therefore, the Radical Democracy Party was the one demanding emancipation of all slaves.

With the Republicans splitting over how far to go with some supporting complete equal rights and others questioning going that far, the Democrats were pounding their chests and hoped to use the split in the Republicans to their advantage. The New York World was a newspaper published in New York City from 1860 until 1931 that was the mouth-piece for the Democrats. From 1883 to 1911 it was under the notorious publisher Joseph Pulitzer (1847–1911), who started the Spanish-American war by publishing false information just to sell his newspapers. Nonetheless, it was the New World that was desperately trying to ensure the defeat of Lincoln. It was perhaps their bravado that led to the Republicans state of panic that led to the maneuver to get Nevada into a voting position.

The greatest fear, thanks to the New York World, became what would happen if the vote was fragmented (which we could see in 2016) and no party could achieve a majority of electoral votes. Consequently, the election would then be thrown into the House of Representatives, where each state would have only one vote. Consequently, the Republicans believed they needed Nevada on their side for this would give them an equal vote with every other state despite the tiny amount of people actually living there. Moreover, the Republicans needed two more loyal Unionist votes in the U.S. Senate to also ensure that the Thirteenth Amendment would be passed.  Nevada’s entry would secure both the election and the three-fourths majority needed for the Thirteenth Amendment enactment.



The votes at the end of the day demonstrate that they never needed Nevada. Nonetheless, within the provisions of the Statehood Act of March 21, 1864 that brought Nevada into the voting fold, we see the source of the problem today. This Statehood Act retained the ownership of the land as a territory for the federal government. In return for the Statehood that was really against the law, the new state surrendered any right, title, or claim to the unappropriated public lands lying within Nevada. Moreover, this cannot be altered without the consent of the Feds. Hence, the people of Nevada cannot claim any land whatsoever because politicians needed Nevada for the 1864 election but did not want to hand-over anything in return. This was a typical political one-sided deal.

Republican Ronald Reagan had argued for the turnover of the control of such lands to the state and local authorities back in 1980. Clearly, the surrender of all claims to any land for statehood was illegal under the Constitution. This is no different from Russia seizing Crimea. The Supreme Court actually addressed this issue in Pollard’s Lessee v. Hagan, 44 U.S. 212 (1845) when Alabama became a state in 1845. The question presented was concerning a clause where it was stated “that all navigable waters within the said State shall forever remain public highways, free to the citizens of said State, and of the United States, without any tax, duty, impost, or toll therefor imposed by said State.” The Supreme Court held that this clause was constitutional because it conveys no more power over the navigable waters of Alabama to the Government of the United States than it possesses over the navigable waters of other States under the provisions of the Constitution.”

The Pollard decision expressed a statement of constitutional law in dictum making it very clear that the Feds have no claim over the lands in Nevada. The Supreme Court states:

The United States never held any municipal sovereignty, jurisdiction, or right of soil in and to the territory of which Alabama, or any of the new States, were formed, except for temporary purposes, and to execute the trusts created by the acts of the Virginia and Georgia legislatures, and the deeds of cession executed by them to the United States, and the trust created by the treaty of the 30th April, 1803, with the French Republic ceding Louisiana.

So in other words, once a territory becomes a state, the Fed must surrender all claims to the land as if it were still just a possession or territory.

Sorry, but to all the left-wing commentators who call Bundy a tax-cheat and an outlaw, be careful of what you speak for the Supreme Court has made it clear in 1845 that the Constitution forbids the federal rangers to be out there to begin with for the Feds could not retain ownership of the territory and simultaneously grant state sovereignty. At the very minimum, it became state land – not federal.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
chumbawamba's picture

The people own the land.  The federal government holds it in trust and has "primary disposal of the soil", i.e. the prerogative to grant certain sections of it to the people as per their will enacted through the Congress.

I am Chumbawamba.

chumbawamba's picture

Also, I believe Armstrong's analysis is muddled.  The Alabama case likely (I have not read it but what he cited seems to make it clear enough to me) had more to do with the fact that Alabama was a colony and then became one of these united States, whereas Nevada was a territory and all territories were under federal government jurisdiction originally.  The case seems to be talking about merely delegated authority that the federal government took over after the union was formed.

As far as the clause about "all the navigable waterways..." that's standard language as far as I know.  That phrase is verbatim in the act to allow California into the union.  I'll bet it is also in most of the other western states.

I am Chumbawamba.

fonzannoon's picture

" they’ve long since bought and paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, and the City Halls. They’ve got the judges in their back pockets."


Chumba the courts will rule against the rancher for the above reason. The rancher, who seems sincere in his words, will not adhere to the court ruling. The question is, what happens after that?

old naughty's picture

...b,b,but NV sovereignty bill was stalled.


TeamDepends's picture

"The Feds" own your scrotum, assuming of course you agree to this BULLSHIT.  In other words, Mr. Rothschild and/or Mr. Rockefeller, your rule is worth about as much as your phony fiat script:   A SQUIRT OF PISS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Look at you trying to push the "price of gold/silver" down!!!!  Calling you out!  Bitch!  THIS IS FIGHT CLUB, LET'S GO, RIGHT NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oldwood's picture

The question should be

"do the feds actually own ANYTHING?

Everything that is in their possession is actually ours, paid for with our tax dollars and the blood of those preceeding us.

Rusty Shorts's picture

Bundy owes BLM a Million bucks for grass.


...grass that was growing there anyway...grass!

ebworthen's picture

Well, the abjectly corrupt Harry Reid and his bad seed Son sure the fuck don't own it.

That fucking stain on the nation and insult to the Constution called the protestors "domestic terrorists".

No dis-honorable tampon of a man Reid, that would be you!

Hang those fuckers and their ilk already patriots.

Where is the U.S. Military?  Rise.

mvsjcl's picture

"...Pulitzer (1847–1911), who started the Spanish-American war by publishing false information just to sell his newspapers."


Ummm, no Martin. Pulitzer published false information just to start a war.

xavi1951's picture

Wait just one minute!  According to the infallible George Washington (and his blog), Bankers are Behind the Wars and All Wars Are Bankers' Wars  Could he have been wrong?  A war started by someone other than a Banker?

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

You think bankers won't be involved in the financing of fracking & solar farms on stolen Nevada land?

yrbmegr's picture

The question should be, "do the feds have the power to exclude Bundy from using the land?'

hwwesq3's picture

ALL military bases in the U.S., by this reasoning, are on PUBLIC land, so the gummint has no right to keep us out!

A Nanny Moose's picture

He who has all the guns, a legal monopoly on the initiation of force, and the obedience of the subjects, possesses whatever he desires.

gcjohns1971's picture

2nd to last paragraph of Article 1 section 8 of the Constitution (which lists the powers of Congress) says:

"(Power) To exercise exclusive Legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places puchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards and other needful Buildings;"

So, the Federal government CAN have legislative authority over a parcel of land IF TWO OF THREE CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN MET:

1) A State CEDED IT - Washington DC.

2) The Federal government BOUGHT IT FROM A STATE.

3) The purchase or cession was for the erection of a Fort, Magazine, Arsenal, dock-Yard, or other needful building.


As for the proposition that the Fed can DECLARE OWNERSHIP of part or all of a State by fiat - That is totally baseless if we are talking about the United States established in 1776 and the United States Government Constituted in 1791 under the document entitled "The Constitution of the United States". 

If we are talking about some other government using the same name, or PRETENDING to be the United States Government - well, that is a different matter. 


Flagit's picture


yes, thats why they shut down all the fedeal parks and monuments back when the budget was being held up.


chumbawamba's picture

The people have spoken.  The people are the sovereignty.

End of story.

I am Chumbawamba.

El Oregonian's picture


The answer is right in their name for crying out loud! Nevada!!!

Q: How much land should belong to the Federal Government?



Go pound sand you government domestic terrorists, disband and leave us alone!

Colonel Klink's picture

The District of Criminals only.  It's not a state but federal creation for government seat without a state being able to claim the capitol.

Frankly they can keep it.

ebear's picture

Uh... actually Nevada means snowy or snow covered.

Keyser's picture

Let us know how you're doing in the FEMA camp. That is if you live through the arreat and trial for those views. Not saying you are not correct, just saying that TPTB will never allow such an argument... 


Milestones's picture

Good straight right hand to the ole snot locker. Rifgt to point. Good post Chumba.             Milestones

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

'what happens after that'? probably nothing good. i continue to hope for a non violent solution to this, but who knows. I am silly, I keep wondring why this govt claims to own 80% of a state's land. and why some beaurocrat claims to be able to appropriate this land to a foreign company. but i guess you said it all. they have paid for the senate, congres, etc.

withglee's picture

If the government owns 80% of Nevada lands, how much did they own when Nevada became a state? How much did they pay for it? If they didn't own 100% after Nevada became a state, why not? And if greater then 80% how did they deed over the land reducing holdings to 80%? ... to whom did they deed it? for what consideration? and by what authority? And how does this compare to states carved out of the northwest territory purchased by Jefferson. And to New Mexico? Is there a principle here?

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Deed? Authority?
Silly Murrikin.
America took land at gun point using mass murder.
That's how land title is transfered still.
Any other delusion is purely wishful thinking.
Guns are pointed, land title is transfered. The prior party leaves horizontally or vertically but the negotiation is non-verbal.

fedupwhiteguy's picture


It means its GO TIME!!!! No more pussy footing around. If you're waiting for that one perfectly pure incident to get your juices flowing then go back to sleep. Its time to get our houses and effects in order, draw that line in the sand, and act to take back what is/was ours.

Just Fed Up

LetThemEatRand's picture

"The Supreme Court held that this clause was constitutional because it “conveys no more power over the navigable waters of Alabama to the Government of the United States than it possesses over the navigable waters of other States under the provisions of the Constitution.”"

This is a loaded paragraph, because the "navigable waterways" have ALWAYS been governed by admirality law, e.g., Federal law.  If you can float a boat and drift, sail or motor to the ocean on it, it's governed by federal law.  This is a simple thing that has led to much debate, but it's very simple -- the ocean affects all states, so it naturally belongs to the People as a whole instead of any given state.  It actually makes sense that a river that flows to the Gulf that flows to the ocean belongs to all of us.  What is completely missing from the analysis in this article is that We The People own these waterways. The Federal Government is supposed to be us, not them.  

Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

as a person who has taken the classes to get a captains license, there is a very precise definition of navigable waters. If the coast guard maintains a channel with lights and daymarkers, it is a navigable, and federal waterway.


Notsobadwlad's picture

It seems that the Federal EPA has redefined navigable waterways to include anything damp, so that they can have control over all water use.

sleigher's picture

Then they just spit on the ground during an argument and game over.

Notsobadwlad's picture

If navigable waterways and the ocean are the property of the entire nation, then why not roads and airports for the same reason?

ATM's picture

Because the Feds were never supposed to own roads except for Post roads as listed in Article 1, Section 8. Remember that the Federal government was supposed to be small and limited to only those enumerated powers.

It was never given the power to build interstate roads, was never given the power to buy or own lands other than from this:

"To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings"

Some God-foresaken desert in the far reaches of northern Nevada doesn't meet the definition does it?

ATM's picture

The Federal government is supposed to be limited and protect our individual liberties against the mob. It ain't this collective "us". It's a bulwark against the evil of democracy.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

"protect our individual liberties against the mob. "
The mob IS the individual liberties, there's no divergence.
To refer to democracy as evil is the same as referring to oxygen, water & food as evil.
Democracy is the singular, only system in the history of all civilization which does not feature mass murder of children & everyone under the foot of tyrants.
The removal of democracy is a demand, with no exception, for child-rape & village-burning. Zero times in history has this ever been untrue.
A republic, for example, can be built on slavery only: no Republic in history ever existed without elites killing slaves & abusing them, including the Republic of the USA.

withglee's picture

This is probably one of the few things the commerce clause actually does apply to ... was intended for.

Adahy's picture

Glad someone mentioned that.
Best place in the world to live, but maybe I'm a bit biased.

AnAnonymous's picture

The adjunction of the territory term is mere convenience to hide the fact that the US of A are colonial states.

A territory is a colony.

dirty belly's picture


Native American tribes in Nevada.

and you will know who owns the land.

Why ignore events before 1492?

AnAnonymous's picture

Why ignore?

Because that would break the 'american' narrative.

'Americans' would like to think they own the land on legitimate ground.

Anything that might lift the illusion must be dismissed.

Theft talks between thieves, each thief trying to sell the idea that thief is the legitimate owner.

This is how it works in an 'american' world.

Bearwagon's picture

How it works in an american world has already been explained by a real american to us, who was far more in the know than you'll ever be.
You go back to your hopium-pipe ...

sleigher's picture

I keep seeing the native american argument.  What the government did back then to the natives was wrong.  What the government is doing now is wrong too.  The trend here is the government, they are the only party that is involved in all of these fights.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

1 more trend: support is strong by non-government beneficiaries of actions OF a government.

MeelionDollerBogus's picture

no, he nailed it: USA = stolen land
An 'american' is an illegal immigrant.

An AMERICAN is someone whose tribal roots is North American no less than 2 thousand years.

Quinvarius's picture

So attack Harry Reid.  He is building his solar farm on one of your reservations.

overmedicatedundersexed's picture

blm acts like it owns the plant and animal life, the ground, the water and the air above it..EPA agrees, .gov DC, also, why won't the tax units understand? Look we own it cause we well own it. while ranchers over at least 100 years, made use of the land and spent $ to  improved it , seems the Feds, can overlook those facts, to protect the land and it's poor threatened wild life. cows it seems are not wild life, but for over 100 years they were the main wild life there.

A Nanny Moose's picture

"Your resevations?" Reservations are just another government program. FEMA camps for indians.