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The right to property, or the right to own property (cf.
ownership Ownership is the state or fact of exclusive right In Anglo-Saxon law Anglo-Saxon law (Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germ ...
) is often classified as a
human right Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin ''morālis'') is a message that is conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a narrative, story or wikt:event, event. The moral may be left to the hearer, reader, or viewer to determine for themse ...
for
natural person In jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of the propriety of law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to ...
s regarding their possessions. A general recognition of a right to
private property Private property is a legal designation for the ownership of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the prope ...
is found more rarely and is typically heavily constrained insofar as property is owned by
legal person In law Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system, surrounded and influenced by its environment, is described by ...
s (i.e.
corporations A corporation is an organization—usually a group of people or a company A company, abbreviated as co., is a Legal personality, legal entity representing an association of people, whether Natural person, natural, Legal person, legal ...

corporations
) and where it is used for production rather than consumption. A right to property is recognised in Article 17 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
, but it is not recognised in the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international ...
or the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public in ...
. The
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by t ...
, in Protocol 1, article 1, acknowledges a right for natural and legal persons to "peaceful enjoyment of his possessions", subject to the "general interest or to secure the payment of taxes."


Definition

The right to property is one of the most controversial human rights, both in terms of its existence and interpretation. The controversy about the definition of the right meant that it was not included in the
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) is a multilateral treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international ...
or the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) is a multilateral treaty A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public in ...
. Controversy centres upon who is deemed to have property rights protected (e.g. human beings or also corporations), the type of property which is protected (property used for the purpose of consumption or production) and the reasons for which property can be restricted (for instance, for regulations, taxation or nationalisation in the public interest). In all human rights instruments, either implicit or express restrictions exist on the extent to which property is protected. Article 17 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is an international document adopted by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six p ...
(UDHR) enshrines the right to property as follows: The object of the right to property as it is usually understood nowadays consists of property already owned or possessed, or of property acquired or to be acquired by a person through lawful means. Not in opposition but in contrast to this, some proposals also defend a universal right to private property, in the sense of a right of every person to effectively receive a certain amount of property, grounded in a claim to Earth's natural resources or other theories of
justice Justice, in its broadest sense, is the principle that people receive that which they deserve, with the interpretation of what then constitutes "deserving" being impacted upon by numerous fields, with many differing viewpoints and perspectives, ...

justice
.


Africa

The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) protects the right to property most explicitly in Article 14, stating: Property rights are furthermore recognised in Article 13 of the ACHPR, which states that every citizen has the right to participate freely in the government of his country, the right to equal access to public services and "the right of access to public property and services in strict equality of all persons before the law". Article 21 of the ACHPR recognises the right of all peoples to freely dispose of their wealth and natural resources and that this right shall be exercised in the exclusive interest of the people, who may not be deprived of this right. Article 21 also provides that "in case of spoliation the dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of its property as well as to adequate compensation".


Americas

When the text of the UDHR was negotiated, other states in the Americas argued that the right to property should be limited to the protection of private property necessary for
subsistence A subsistence economy is an economy directed to basic subsistence (the provision of food, clothing, shelter) rather than to the market. Henceforth, "subsistence" is understood as supporting oneself at a minimum level. Often, the subsistence econo ...

subsistence
. Their suggestion was opposed, but was enshrined in the
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man The American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, also known as the Bogota Declaration, was the world's first international human rights instrument International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". Internati ...
, which was negotiated at the same time and adopted one year before the UDHR in 1948. Article 23 of the declaration states: The definition of the right to property is heavily influenced by Western concepts of property rights, but because property rights vary considerably in different legal systems it has not been possible to establish international standards on property rights. The regional human rights instruments of Europe, Africa and the Americas recognise the right to protection of property to varying degrees. The
American Convention on Human Rights The American Convention on Human Rights, also known as the Pact of San José, is an international human rights instrument International is an adjective (also used as a noun) meaning "between nations". International may also refer to: Music Album ...
(ACHR) recognises the right to protection of property, including the right to "just compensation". The ACHR also prohibits usury and other exploitation, which is unique amongst human rights instruments. Article 21 of the ACHR states:


Europe

After failed attempts to include the right to protection of property in the
European Convention on Human Rights The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR; formally the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) is an international convention to protect human rights and political freedoms in Europe. Drafted in 1950 by t ...
(ECHR), European states enshrined the right to protection of property in Article 1 of Protocol I to the ECHR as the "right to peaceful enjoyment of possessions", where the right to protection of property is defined as such: Therefore, European human rights law recognises the right to peaceful enjoyment of property, makes deprivation of possessions subject to certain conditions and recognises that states can balance the right to peaceful possession of property against the public interest. The
European Court of Human Rights The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR or ECtHR), also known as the Strasbourg Court, is an international court International courts are formed by treaties A treaty is a formal legally binding written agreement between actors in intern ...

European Court of Human Rights
has interpreted "possessions" to include not only tangible property, but also economic interests, contractual agreements with economic value, compensation claims against the state and public law related claims such as
pensions A pension (, from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of ...
. The European Court of Human Rights has held that the right to property is not absolute and states have a wide degree of discretion to limit the rights. As such, the right to property is regarded as a more flexible right than other human rights. States' degree of discretion is defined in ''Handyside v. United Kingdom'', heard by the European Court of Human Rights in 1976. Notable cases where the European Court of Human Rights has found the right to property having been violated include ''Sporrong and Lonnroth v. Sweden'', heard in 1982, where Swedish law kept property under the threat of expropriation for an extended period of time. The highest economic compensation following a judgment of the Strasbourg Court on this matter was given (1,3 million euro) in case ''Beyeler v. Italy''.


India

In
India India, officially the Republic of India (Hindi Hindi (Devanagari: , हिंदी, ISO 15919, ISO: ), or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi (Devanagari: , ISO 15919, ISO: ), is an Indo-Aryan language spoken chiefly in Hindi Belt, ...

India
property rights (Article 31) was one of the fundamental rights of citizens until 1978, and it became a legal right through the 44th Amendment to the Constitution in 1978. The amendment was introduced by the
Morarji Desai Morarji Ranchhodji Desai (29 February 1896 – 10 April 1995) was an Indian independence activist and politician who served as the List of Prime Ministers of India, 4th Prime Minister of India between 1977 and 1979 leading the Premiership of Mo ...

Morarji Desai
government as part of land reform policies. In 2020, the
Supreme Court of India The Supreme Court of India (IAST The International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST) is a transliteration scheme that allows the lossless romanisation Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scie ...

Supreme Court of India
has stated that, even though property rights are not part of a citizen's
fundamental right Fundamental rights are a group of rights that have been recognized by a high degree of protection from encroachment. These rights are specifically identified in a constitution, or have been found under due process of law. The United Nations' Sustai ...
, it should be considers as one of the human rights promised by the Constitution. The Supreme Court also ruled that the states cannot acquire individual land unless there is a clear legal framework.


International conventions

Property rights are also recognised in the
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination alt=Membership of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination , 400px, Membership of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination: The International Convention on the Elimination of Al ...
which states in Article 5 that everyone has the
right to equality before the law Equality before the law, also known as equality under the law, equality in the eyes of the law, legal equality, or legal egalitarianism, is the principle that all people must be equally protected by the law. The principle requires a systematic rul ...
without distinction as to race, colour and national or ethnic origin, including the "right to own property alone as well as in association with others" and "the right to inherit". The
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. Described as an international bill of rights for women, it was instituted ...
recognises the property rights in Article 16, which establishes the same right for both spouses to ownership, acquisition, management, administration, enjoyment and disposition of property and Article 15, which establishes women's right to conclude contracts.rights Property rights are also enshrined in the
Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees Convention may refer to: * Convention (norm) A convention is a set of agreed, stipulated, or generally accepted standards, norms, social norms, or criteria, often taking the form of a custom. In a social context, a convention may retain the ch ...
and the
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families The International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families is a United Nations multilateral treaty governing the protection of migrant workers and families. Signed on 18 December 1990, it ent ...
. These international human rights instruments for minorities do not establish a separate right to property, but prohibit discrimination in relation to property rights where such rights are guaranteed.


Relationship to other rights

The right to private property was a crucial demand in early quests for political freedom and equality and against feudal control of property. Property can serve as the basis for the entitlements that ensure the realisation of the
right to an adequate standard of living The right to an adequate standard of living is a fundamental human right Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, St ...
and it was only property owners which were initially granted
civil and political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system ...
, such as the
right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, ele ...
. Because not everybody is a property owner, the
right to work The right to work is the concept that people have a human right Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, Stanford ...

right to work
was enshrined to allow everybody to attain an adequate standard of living. Today, discrimination on the basis of property ownership is commonly seen as a serious threat to the equal enjoyment of human rights by all and non-discrimination clauses in
international human rights instruments International human rights instruments are the treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law International law, also known as public international law and law of nations, is the set ...
frequently include property as a ground on the basis of which discrimination is prohibited (see the
right to equality before the law Equality before the law, also known as equality under the law, equality in the eyes of the law, legal equality, or legal egalitarianism, is the principle that all people must be equally protected by the law. The principle requires a systematic rul ...
). The protection of private property may come into conflict with
economic, social and cultural rights Economic, social and cultural rights are socio-economic Socioeconomics (also known as social economics) is the social science that studies how economic activity affects and is shaped by social processes. In general it analyzes how modern socie ...
and
civil and political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system ...
, such as the right to
freedom of expression Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom Freedom, generally, is having the ability to act or change without constraint. Something is "free" if it can change easily and is not constrained in its present state. In philosop ...
. To mitigate this, the right to property is commonly limited to protect the public interest. Many states also maintain systems of communal and collective ownership. Property rights have frequently been regarded as preventing the realisation of human rights for all, through for example slavery and the exploitation of others. Unequal distribution of wealth often follows line of sex, race and minorities, therefore property rights may appear to be part of the problem, rather than as an interest that merits protection. Property rights have been at the centre of recent human rights debates on land reform, the return of cultural artifacts by collectors and museums to indigenous peoples and the popular sovereignty of peoples over natural resources.


History

In Europe, The
Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand years of jurisprudence, from the Twelve Tables (c. 449 BC), to the ''Corpus Juris Civilis'' (AD 529) ordered by Eastern Roman emperor J ...
defined property as "the right to use and abuse one’s own within the limits of the law" — ''jus utendi et abutendi re suâ, guatenus juris ratio patitur.'' Second, ''salus populi suprema lex esto'', or “the safety of the people shall be the supreme law,” was stipulated as early as the Law of the
Twelve Tables The ''Law of the Twelve tables'' ( la, Leges Duodecim Tabularum or ) was the legislation that stood at the foundation of Roman law Roman law is the law, legal system of ancient Rome, including the legal developments spanning over a thousand y ...
. The notion of private property and property rights was elaborated further in the
Renaissance The Renaissance ( , ) , from , with the same meanings. is a period Period may refer to: Common uses * Era, a length or span of time * Full stop (or period), a punctuation mark Arts, entertainment, and media * Period (music), a concept in ...

Renaissance
as
international trade International trade is the exchange of capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscul ...
by
merchants A merchant is a person who trades in Commodity, commodities produced by other people, especially one who trades with foreign countries. Historically, a merchant is anyone who is involved in commerce, business or trade. Merchants have operated fo ...

merchants
gave rise to
mercantilist Mercantilism is an economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. It promotes imperialism, colonialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods to achieve that goal. The policy aims to reduce a ...
ideas. In 16th-century Europe,
Lutheranism Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity Christianity is an , based on the and of . It is the , with about 2.5 billion followers. Its adherents, known as , make up a major ...
and the
Protestant Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity Western Christianity is one of two sub-divisions of Christianity Christianity is an Abra ...
advanced property rights using biblical terminology. The
Protestant work ethic The Protestant work ethic, also known as the Calvinist work ethic or the Puritan work ethic, is a work ethic concept in theology, sociology, economics and history which emphasizes that diligence, discipline, and frugality are a result of a perso ...
and views on man's destiny came to underline social views in emerging capitalist economies in
early modern Europe Early modern Europe, also referred to as the post-medieval period, is the period of European history The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past ...
. The right to private property emerged as a radical demand for
human rights Human rights are moral A moral (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. ...
''vis-a-vis'' the state in 17th-century revolutionary Europe, but in the 18th and 19th centuries the right to property as a human right became subject of intense controversy.


English Civil War

The arguments advanced by the
Levellers The Levellers were a political movement A political movement is a collective attempt by a group of people to change government policy or social values. Political movements are usually in opposition to an element of the status quo  and are ...
during the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war War is an intense armed conflict between states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, ...
on
property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to consume, alter, share, r ...
and
civil and political rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are legal Law is a system A system is a group of Interaction, interacting or interrelated elements that act according to a set of rules to form a unified whole. A system ...
, such as the
right to vote Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometimes used for any right to vote Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, ele ...
, informed subsequent debates in other countries. The Levellers emerged as a political movement in mid-17th century England in the aftermath of the Protestant Reformation. They believed that property which had been earned as the fruit of one's labour was sacred under the Bible's
commandment Commandment may refer to: * The Ten Commandments * One of the 613 mitzvot of Judaism * The Great Commandment * The New Commandment * Commandment (album), ''Commandment'' (album), a 2007 album by Six Feet Under * Commandments (film), ''Commandments'' ...

commandment
"thou shall not steal". As such, they believed that the right to acquire property from one's work was sacred. Levellers' views on the right to property and the right not to be deprived of property as a civil and political right were developed by the
pamphleteer Pamphleteer is a historical term for someone who creates or distributes pamphlet A pamphlet is an unbound book A book is a medium for recording information Information is processed, organised and structured data. It provides conte ...

pamphleteer
Richard Overton. In "An Arrow against all Tyrants" (1646), Overton argued:
To every individual in nature is given an individual property by nature not to be invaded or usurped by any. For everyone, as he is himself, so he has a self propertiety, else he could not be himself; and of this no second may presume to deprive of without manifest violation and affront to the very principles of nature of the rules of equity and justice between man and man. Mine and thine cannot be, except this. No man has power over my rights and liberties, and I over no man.
The views of the Levellers, who enjoyed support amongst small-scale property-owners and craftsmen, were not shared by all revolutionary parties of the English Civil War. At the 1647 General Council,
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...

Oliver Cromwell
and
Henry Ireton Henry Ireton ((baptised) 3 November 1611 – 26 November 1651) was an English general in the army during the , and the son-in-law of . He died of disease outside in November 1651. Personal details Ireton was the eldest son of a German Ireto ...

Henry Ireton
argued against equating the
right to life The right to life is the belief that a being has the right to live Live may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Films * ''Live!'' (2007 film), 2007 American film * ''Live'' (2014 film), a 2014 Japanese film *'' ''Live'' (Apocalyptica DVD) ...
with the right to property. They argued that doing so would establish the right to take anything that one may want, irrespective of the rights of others. The Leveller
Thomas Rainsborough Vice-Admiral Vice admiral is a senior naval flag officer A flag officer is a Officer (armed forces), commissioned officer in a nation's armed forces senior enough to be entitled to fly a flag to mark the position from which the officer exerci ...

Thomas Rainsborough
responded, relying on Overton's arguments, that the Levellers required respect for others'
natural rights Natural rights and legal rights are two types of rights. * Natural rights are those that are not dependent on the laws or customs of any particular culture or government, and so are ''universal'', ''fundamental Fundamental may refer to: * Found ...
. The definition of property and whether it was acquired as the fruit of one's labour and as such a natural right was subject to intense debate because the right to vote depended on property ownership. Political freedom was at the time associated with property ownership and individual independence. Cromwell and Ireton maintained that only property in freehold land or chartered trading rights gave a man the right to vote. They argued that this type of property ownership constituted a "stake in society", which entitles men to political power. In contrast, Levellers argued that all men who are not servants, alms-recipients or beggars should be considered as property owners and be given voting rights. They believed that political freedom could only be secured by individuals, such as craftsmen, engaging in independent economic activity. Levellers were primarily concerned with the civil and political rights of small-scale property owners and workers, whereas the
Diggers The Diggers were a group of religious and political dissidents in England, associated with agrarian socialism. Gerrard Winstanley's followers were known as True Levellers in 1649, in reference to their split from the Levellers, and later becam ...
, a smaller revolutionary group led by
Gerrard Winstanley Gerrard may refer to: People * Alfred Horace Gerrard Alfred Horace "Gerry" Gerrard Royal British Society of Sculptors, RBS (7 May 1899 – 13 June 1998) was an English modernism, modernist sculptor. He was head of the sculpture department at ...
, focused on the rights of the rural poor who worked on
landed property In real estate Real estate is property consisting of land and the buildings on it, along with its natural resources such as crops, minerals or water; immovable property of this nature; an interest vested in this (also) an item of real proper ...
. The Diggers argued that private property was not consistent with justice and that the land that had been confiscated from the Crown and Church should be turned into communal land to be cultivated by the poor. According to the Diggers, the right to vote should be extended to all and everybody had the
right to an adequate standard of living The right to an adequate standard of living is a fundamental human right Human rights are Morality, moral principles or Norm (social), normsJames Nickel, with assistance from Thomas Pogge, M.B.E. Smith, and Leif Wenar, 13 December 2013, St ...
. With the
Restoration of the English monarchy The Restoration of the Stuart monarchy in the kingdoms of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Ir ...
in 1660, all confiscated land returned to the Crown and Church. Some property rights were recognised and limited voting rights were established. The ideas of the Levellers on property and civil and political rights remained influential and were advanced in the subsequent 1688
Glorious Revolution The Glorious Revolution of November 1688 ( ga, An Réabhlóid Ghlórmhar; gd, Rèabhlaid Ghlòrmhor; cy, Chwyldro Gogoneddus), the invasion also known as the ''Glorieuze Overtocht'' or Glorious Crossing by the Dutch, was the deposition of ...
, but restrictions on the right to vote based on property meant that only a fraction of the British population had the suffrage. In 1780 only 214,000 property-owning men were entitled to vote in England and Wales, less than 3 percent of the population of 8 million. The
Reform Act 1832 The Representation of the People Act 1832 (also known as the 1832 Reform Act, Great Reform Act or First Reform Act) was an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the supreme legislative body ...
restricted the right to vote to men who owned property with an annual value of £10, giving approximately 4 percent of the adult male population the right to vote. The reforms of 1867 extended the right to vote to approximately 8 percent. The working class (which increased dramatically with the Industrial Revolution) and industrialists remained effectively excluded from the political system.


John Locke and the American and French revolutions

The English philosopher
John Locke John Locke (; 29 August 1632 – 28 October 1704) was an English philosopher and physician, widely regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment Enlightenment, enlighten or enlightened may refer to: Age of Enlightenment * ...

John Locke
(1632–1704) developed the ideas of property, civil and political rights further. In his '' Second Treatise on Civil Government'' (1689), Locke proclaimed that "everyman has a property in his person; this nobody has a right to but himself. The labor of his body and the work of his hand, we may say, are properly his". He argued that property ownership derives from one's labor, though those who do not own property and only have their labor to sell should not be given the same political power as those who owned property. Labourers, small-scale property owners and large-scale property owners should have civil and political rights in proportion to the property they owned. According to Locke, the right to property and the right to life were inalienable rights and that it was the duty of the state to secure these rights for individuals. Locke argued that the safeguarding of natural rights, such as the right to property, along with the separation of powers and other checks and balances, would help to curtail political abuses by the state. Locke's
labor theory of property The labor theory of property (also called the labor theory of appropriation, labor theory of ownership, labor theory of entitlement, or principle of first appropriation) is a theory of natural law that holds that property originally comes about by ...
and the separation of powers greatly influenced the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
and the
French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) was a period of radical political and societal change in France France (), officially the French Republic (french: link=no, République française), is a spanning and in the and the , and s. Its ...

French Revolution
. The entitlement to civil and political rights, such as the right to vote, was tied to the question of property in both revolutions. American revolutionaries, such as
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simply the Founding Fathers or Founders, were a group of American revolutionary Patriots (also ...

Benjamin Franklin
and
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were cr ...

Thomas Jefferson
, opposed universal suffrage, advocating votes only for those who owned a "stake" in society.
James Madison James Madison Jr. (March 16, 1751June 28, 1836) was an American statesman, diplomat, expansionist, philosopher, and Founding Father The following list of national founding figures is a record, by country, of people who were credited wi ...

James Madison
argued that extending the right to vote to all could lead in the right to property and justice being "overruled by a majority without property". While it was initially suggested to establish the right to vote for all men, eventually the right to vote in the nascent United States was extended to white men who owned a specified amount of real estate and personal property. French revolutionaries recognised property rights in Article 17 of the
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen (french: Déclaration des droits de l'homme et du citoyen de 1789, links=no), set by France's National Constituent Assembly in 1789, is a human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the mo ...
(1791), which stated that no one "may be deprived of property rights unless a legally established public necessity required it and upon condition of a just and previous indemnity". Articles 3 and 6 declared that "all citizens have the right to contribute personally or through their representatives" in the political system and that "all citizens being equal before he law are equally admissible to all public offices, positions and employment according to their capacity, and without other distinction than that of virtues and talents". However, in practice the French revolutionaries did not extend civil and political rights to all, although the property qualification required for such rights was lower than that established by the American revolutionaries. According to the French revolutionary
Abbé Sieyès upFrench abbé of the 18th century ''Abbé'' (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Lat ...
, "all the inhabitants of a country should enjoy the right of a passive citizen... but those alone who contribute to the public establishment are like the true shareholders in the great social enterprise. They alone are the true active citizens, the true members of the association". Three months after the Declaration had been adopted,
domestic servants A domestic worker is a person who works within the scope of a residence. The term "domestic service" applies to the equivalent occupational category. In traditional English contexts, such a person was said to be "in service". Domestic workers per ...
, women and those who did not pay taxes equal to three days of labor were declared "passive citizens". Sieyes wanted to see the rapid expansion of commercial activities and favoured the unrestricted accumulation of property. In contrast,
Maximilien Robespierre Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre (; 6 May 1758 – 28 July 1794) was a French lawyer and statesman who was one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution The French Revolution ( ) w ...

Maximilien Robespierre
warned that the free accumulation of wealth ought to be limited and that the right to property should not be permitted to violate the rights of others, particularly poorer citizens, including the working poor and peasants. Robespierre's views were eventually excluded from the
French Constitution of 1793 The Constitution of 1793 (french: Acte constitutionnel du 24 juin 1793), also known as the Constitution of the Year I or the Montagnard Constitution, was the second constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or e ...
and a property qualification for civil and political rights was maintained.


See also

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English land law English land law is the law of real property In England, English common law, real property, real estate, realty, or immovable property is land which is the property of some person and all structures (also called Land improvement, improve ...
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Entitlement theory Entitlement theory is a theory of distributive justice Distributive justice concerns the socially just allocation of resources. Often contrasted with just process, which is concerned with the administration of law, distributive justice concentra ...
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Married Women's Property Act 1882 The Married Women's Property Act 1882 (45 & 46 Vict. c.75) was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom The Parliament of the United Kingdom is the Parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom, supreme Legislature, legislative body o ...
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Property law Property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of property may have the right to , alter, , , ...
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Property rights (economics) Property rights are constructs in economics Economics () is a social science that studies the Production (economics), production, distribution (economics), distribution, and Consumption (economics), consumption of goods and services. E ...
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Real estate business Real estate business is the profession of buying, selling, or renting real estate (land, buildings, or housing)."Real estate": Oxford English Dictionary online: Retrieved September 18, 2011 Sales and marketing It is common practice for an interme ...
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Real estate development Real estate development, or property development, is a business process, encompassing activities that range from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to the purchase of raw Real Estate, land and the sale of developed land or parcel ...
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Real estate bubble A real-estate bubble or property bubble (or for residential markets) is a type of that occurs periodically in local or global markets, and typically follow a land boom. A land boom is the rapid increase in the of such as housing until they ...


Notes


References

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AA Berle Adolf Augustus Berle Jr. (; January 29, 1895 – February 17, 1971) was a lawyer, educator, author, and diplomat from the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a c ...
and GC Means, ''
The Modern Corporation and Private Property ''The Modern Corporation and Private Property'' is a book written by Adolf Berle and Gardiner Means published in 1932 regarding the foundations of United States corporate law United States corporate law regulates the corporate governance, govern ...
'' (New York, Macmillan 1932) oclc 1411248 *
AA Berle Adolf Augustus Berle Jr. (; January 29, 1895 – February 17, 1971) was a lawyer, educator, author, and diplomat from the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a c ...
, 'Property, Production and Revolution' (1965
65 Columbia Law Review 1


External links


Protocol I to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
{{Authority control Human rights by issue Property