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Both the Federal and State governments are prohibited from granting "titles of nobility" under the US Constitution (Art. 1, Sec. 9 & 10).

My understanding is that "titles of nobility" are commonly read to mean, titles (ie, special names) that are: -- inheritable -- tied to the land -- confer legal privileges -- granted by the executive authority of the relevant sovereign

My understanding of the "century farm" programs, common in many States (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Century_Farm), is that many meet all these conditions...

Are they then unconstitutional?

  • What "legal privileges" are gained by the Century Farm designation? What can a Century Farm legally do that a regular farm can't? – BlueDogRanch Jan 25 at 18:24
  • It varies from state to state... but at the minimum it provides the right to use an official title that others cannot. Isn't one of the privileges of office, the privilege of using that title? – SJC_99 Jan 25 at 18:38
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The most such a "Century Farm" designation gives is a title that carries no legal weight or privileges; having the "title" of being the owner of or resident on a Century Farm won't get you out of a traffic ticket or allow you to flog recalcitrant farm workers in the same ways that past nobility could do, and can no longer do.

In some cases, states (and the Federal Govt.) have established laws that can govern historical land and features, or there are non-profit NGOs that give historical status to tracts of land and buildings. But such state and federal statutes and non-profit legal frameworks are established case law have yet to be shown to be unconstitutional overall.

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