A survey of the evolution of property rights in the United States—from constitutional protections and due process to private property rights and government-takings doctrines.
The right of individuals to own property is one of the cornerstones of our Constitution. But could the founding fathers have anticipated that this right would be extended to a person's creativity, or even their biological makeup? What about property rights on the Internet? This book will show readers how America's unique and complicated property laws came about.
Legal opinions and public attitudes toward property rights have fluctuated over the years, from periods when almost any infringement of these rights was impermissible, to times in which the government was granted much wider latitude. This book examines the history of individual property ownership in the U.S. from the late colonial era to the present, explaining how property rights were established, defended, and sometimes later reinterpreted. Of special interest are rights that have developed over time, such as due process, just compensation for government "takings" of private property, and the rights landowners may assert against other persons.
Of particular interest to today's readers are government regulation of private property for environmental purposes, challenges to zoning regulations, and intellectual property rights in cyberspace.
• Alphabetical list of key people, cases, events, judicial decisions, statutes, and terms that are central to an understanding of property rights in the United States
• Reprints of key materials including constitutional provisions, excerpts from court rulings, and statutes
• Highlights the crucial role of the courts in defining and enforcing private property rights
• Covers recent developments in environmental land use, intellectual property, and biotechnology
• Explores the interaction between the constitutional concepts of due process and the takings clause