Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on November 10, 2013

in History, Law, Property Rights

… is from page 29 of John Phillip Reid’s 1986 volume, Constitutional History of the American Revolution: The Authority of Rights:

Long before the era of the revolutionary controversy, the centrality of property to the definition of liberty, to the rule of law, and to constitutionalism had become established British legal dogma.  John Brown, in one of the most widely read books of the day, detailed the decline of morals in Great Britain, yet found three British attributes to praise.  They were the spirit of liberty, the spirit of humanity, and “the pure Administration of Justice, as it regards private Property.”  Most observers of that day probably would have described these as a single virtue, for the dominant theory was that liberty and good laws depended on the sanctity of private property.

The entire four volumes in this series by Reid are well worth reading – or, at least read the abridged version.


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