Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Politics by Madison: Property

"This term [property] in its particular application means, "That dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of every other individual."

In its larger and juster meaning, it embraces everything to which a man may attach a value and have a right, and which leaves to everyone else the like advantage.
In the former sense, a man's land, or merchandise, or money, is called his property.
In the latter sense, a man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them.

He has a property of particular value in his religious opinions, and in the profession and practice dictated by them.

He has a property very dear to him in the safety and liberty of his person.

He has an equal property in the free use of his faculties, and free choice of the objects on which to employ them.

In a word, as a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights."

"Property," March 27, 1792 (Madison, 1865, IV, page 478)

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