The Guardian of Every Other Right provides a comprehensive survey of the pivotal relationship between property rights and the Constitution, examining the role of property ownership from the colonial era to current controversies over land use. The text emphasizes the interplay of law, ideology, politics, and economic change in shaping ...
The Guardian of Every Other Right provides a comprehensive survey of the pivotal relationship between property rights and the Constitution, examining the role of property ownership from the colonial era to current controversies over land use. The text emphasizes the interplay of law, ideology, politics, and economic change in shaping constitutional thought, and provides a historical perspective on the contemporary debate about property rights. Ely examines such issues as the link between private property and political liberty, the extent to which the government may interfere with private contracts, and the manner in which discourse about private property changed as American society became industrialized. Now in its second edition, The Guardian of Every Other Right has been revised to take into account the heightened interest in the constitutional rights of property owners since the first edition appeared in 1991. It focuses on the major legal developments in the field of property rights and offers a full treatment of important judicial decisions and notable legislation during the 1990s. Particular attention is paid to the Supreme Court decisions which have enlarged the protection afforded property owners under the fifth amendment. It also examines the reach of federal authority under the commerce clause and the important innovations at the state level. Covering the entire history of property rights, the revised edition of The Guardian of Every Other Right fills an important gap in the literature of constitutional history and is an ideal text for legal and constitutional history courses.
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I got this book because of the recent flap about imminent domain. I had the mistaken impression that the taking of private property and giving it to other private parties was a recent development. This book cleared that up very nicely. The Federal and State governments have been taking private property and giving it to other private citizens since the Republic began. An example of an early taking that was labeled as "public use" was the allowing of grain mills to build dams for power and flood your land without any reimbursement, for the good of the community. Voltaire wrote, in Candide, "private misfortunes are public benefits, so that the more private misfortunes there are the greater is the general good." Governments stealing from there citizens for "the general good" is nothing new.
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