The Guardian of Every Other Right

The Guardian of Every Other Right : A Constitutional History of Property Rights

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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 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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 240 pages
  • 139.7 x 203.2 x 20.32mm | 294.83g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised
  • 3rd Revised edition
  • 18 b/w halftones
  • 0195323335
  • 9780195323337
  • 1,410,448

Table of contents

Editor's Preface ; Preface ; Introduction ; 1. The Origins of Property Rights: The Colonial Period ; 2. The Revolutionary Era, 1765-1787 ; 3. "Property Must Be Secured": Establishing a New Constitutional Order ; 4. The Development of Property Rights in the Antebellum Era, 1791-1861 ; 5. The Gilded Age and the Challenge of Industrialization ; 6. Progressive Reform and Judicial Conservatism, 1900-1932 ; 7. The New Deal and the Demise of Laissez-Faire Constitutionalism ; 8. Property Rights and the Regulatory State ; 9. Epilogue ; Notes ; Bibliographical Essay ; Index of Cases ; Index
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Review quote

Acclaim for previous editions
"A wonderfully compact odyssey through the history of constitutional protection for property rights in this country. Tracing the winding evolution of Supreme Court decisions that affected the uses and enjoyment of property, as well as the government's attempts to regulate the same, Ely constructs a comprehensive, yet surprisingly readable examination of the issues. * The Journal of Southern History * Acclaim for previous editions
"Greatly clarifies the pivotal place of private property in the American system. Through a sophisticated historical analysis, Ely illuminates two recurring issues of great importance: the constitutional limits on government regulation of property and the complex relationship between property ownership and individual liberty. * Norman Dorsen, New York University School of Law * Acclaim for previous editions
"This slender volume should serve well on reading lists both in introductory American history courses and in upper-division legal history or constitutional law courses. * The American Historical Review * Acclaim for previous editions
"An informative and balanced account of the history of property rights protections under the Constitution. * The American Journal of Legal History *
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About James W. Ely

James W. Ely, Jr. is Milton R. Underwood Professor of Law and Professor of History at Vanderbilt University. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Ambivalent Legacy: A Legal History of the South (1984), An Uncertain Tradition: Constitutionalism and the History of the South (1989), The Bill of Rights in Modern America: After 200 Years (1993), The Chief Justiceship of Melville W. Fuller, 1888-1910
(1995), and Railroads and American Law (2001).
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Rating details

20 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 20% (4)
4 25% (5)
3 40% (8)
2 15% (3)
1 0% (0)
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