United States history: WRITTEN BY: The Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica Title: squatter’s rights. Preemption, also called Squatter’s Rights, in U.S. history, policy by which first settlers, or “squatters,” on public lands could purchase the property they had improved. Squatters who settled on and improved surveyed land were at risk that when the land was surveyed and put up forContinue reading “Pre-emption”