Prequel to Homestead

65 Pages Posted: 29 Nov 2017

See all articles by Thomas Simmons

Thomas Simmons

University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law

Date Written: November 25, 2017


Homestead exemption laws reflect societal value judgments balancing the free functioning of commercial enterprise against a family's interests in shelter and security. In South Dakota’s history, this tension has been displayed in legislative enactments, judicial reasoning, and even statewide referendums. An examination of the significant events at two ends of this chronology reveals the expression of societal values in law and the dynamics of the pre-statehood origins of homestead laws in the context of competing policies and interests. This article proceeds by outlining the general purposes and sources for homestead laws, followed by a sketch of existing homestead laws under the contemporary statutory framework. Second, the history leading up to the enactment of constitutional homestead protections in South Dakota's 1889 Constitution is considered. This is the first in a series of two articles considering South Dakota's homestead exemption.

Keywords: Homestead, Property, Exemption, Debtor-Creditor, Asset Protection, Economics, Policy

JEL Classification: K11

Suggested Citation

Simmons, Thomas, Prequel to Homestead (November 25, 2017). South Dakota Law Review, Vol. 62, No. 2, 2017, Available at SSRN:

Thomas Simmons (Contact Author)

University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law ( email )

414 E. Clark Street
Law School suite 212
Vermillion, SD 57069
United States
605.658.3533 (Phone)
605.677.5417 (Fax)


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