The purpose of this Article is to analyze the historical development of Washington's alien land law from the birth of the territory in 1853 to the drafting of the state constitution in 1889. Because alien land law necessarily involves relationships among people, this Article focuses not only on historical legal sources such as statutes, constitutional material, and judicial opinions, but also on the underlying social forces that compelled change in the law. This Article consists of three sections, the first of which is a brief discussion of the common-law roots of alien land disability in feudal England and its subsequent application and transformation in colonial and post-Revolutionary War America. The second section traces the origins of Washington Territory's first alien land statute and considers the factors responsible for the pre-statehood evolution of that law. The third section explores the drafting of the state's constitutional provision that restricted the landowning rights of aliens. The Article concludes by summarizing the main themes of the historical development of Washington's alien land law.
Mark L. Lazarus III, An Historical Analysis of Alien Land Law: Washington Territory and State 1853-1889, 12 SEATTLE U. L. REV. 197 (1989).