Tuesday, November 12, 2019 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
Solarium, FA2, Falconer Hall, 84 Queens Park

Critical Analysis of Law Workshop 


K-Sue Park
Georgetown University

The Transformation of the Mortgage in Early America

Tuesday November 12, 2019
12:30pm – 2:00pm
Solarium (FA2), 84 Queen’s Park

In the early seventeenth century, the practice of mortgage foreclosure underwent a dramatic transformation when colonists began to use it to seize indigenous lands for nonpayment of unsecured debts in the American colonies. By the early eighteenth century, mortgage foreclosure was a routine event between colonists in many parts of America, and in 1732, Parliament passed the Debt Recovery Act, making lands liable for unsecured debts across all the colonies. How, over the course of the seventeenth century, did the mortgage shift from a tool reserved exclusively to extract indigenous lands, to become a tool of general use and a primary mechanism of the real estate market in the American colonies? In this paper, I track the different ways that colonists’ use of the mortgage changed in response to different market challenges that arose as their settlements expanded. Through this history, land became central to the creation of credit and a mutually reinforcing dynamic between racial formation and capital formation became critical to economic growth. 

K-Sue Parkis Associate Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center. She was previously the Critical Race Studies fellow at the UCLA School of Law and an Equal Justice Works fellow and staff attorney at Texas RioGrande Legal Aid. Her teaching and scholarship explore the creation of the American real estate system and the historical connections between property law, immigration law, and American Indian law.Her writings have appeared, among other places, in the Harvard Law Review, The History of the Present, Law & Social Inquiry, and the N.Y. Times.

If you would like more information about these workshops, please send an email to events.law@utoronto.ca