The Guardian of Every Other Right chronicles the pivotal role of property rights in fashioning the American constitutional order from the colonial era to the current controversies over eminent domain and land use controls. The book emphasizes the interplay of law, ideology, politics, and economic change in shaping constitutional thought and ...Read MoreThe Guardian of Every Other Right chronicles the pivotal role of property rights in fashioning the American constitutional order from the colonial era to the current controversies over eminent domain and land use controls. The book 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. Since publication of the original edition of this work, both academic and popular interest in the constitutional rights of property owners has markedly increased. Now in its third edition, this text has been revised to incorporate a full treatment of important judicial decisions, notable legislation, and scholarship since the second edition appeared in 1997. In particular, Ely provides helpful background and context for understanding the controversial Kelo decision relating to the exercise of eminent domain power for "public use." Covering the entire history of property rights in the United States, this new edition continues to fill a major gap in the literature of constitutional history and is an ideal text for students of legal and constitutional history.Read Less
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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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