Nay, the extent of ground is of so little value, without labor, that I have heard it affirmed, that in Spain itself a man may be permitted to plough, sow and reap, without being disturbed, upon land he has no other title to, but only his making use of it. But on the contrary, the inhabitants think themselves beholden to him, who, by his industry on neglected, and consequently waste land, has increased the stock of corn, which they wanted.
–John Locke, Second Treatise, sect. 36
“Is the land there owned by the peasants?”
“Most land is owned by those who farm it. Originally the land was owned by the state and by living on it and declaring the intention of improving it, a man could obtain title to a hundred and fifty hectares.”
“Tell me how this is done,” Agustin asked. “That is an agrarian reform which means something.”
Robert Jordan explained the process of homesteading. He had never thought of it before as an agrarian reform.
“That is magnificent,” Primitivo said.
–Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls, ch. 16.