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No United States governmental action has so rankled revisionist New Mexico land grant scholars as the Supreme Court Sandoval decision in 1897. In that ruling the court held that Spanish and Mexican law had not vested in New Mexico's extensive community land grants a sufficient title to the unallotted common lands within the grant boundaries to bring those lands within the property guarantees of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848. The Supreme Court employed at best opaque Spanish and Mexican legal authority to justify its decision; the historical legal analysis has been roundly, if not universally, criticized on that basis. But no one could fail to see the decision's effect: those New Mexico community land grants not fortunate enough to have secured prior United States confirmation found themselves stripped of title to their unallotted common lands.

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New Mexico Historical Review



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