Property: A History

Publication: 
Oxford Handbook of the History of Political Philosophy
Editor(s): 
George Klosko

Working within a Lockean tradition, William Blackstone (1765) characterized property as the ‘sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe.’ In practice, though, property rights in the Anglo-American tradition have always been hedged with restrictions. The dominion to which Blackstone refers is limited by easements, covenants, nuisance laws, zoning laws, regulatory statutes, and more generally by the public interest.

Type of Article: 
Philosophy of Law