Commodity & Propriety: Competing Visions of Property in American Legal Thought, 1776-1970

Commodity & Propriety: Competing Visions of Property in American Legal Thought, 1776-1970

by Gregory S. Alexander
     
 

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Most people understand property as something that is owned, a means of creating individual wealth. But in Commodity and Propriety, the first full-length history of the meaning of property, Gregory Alexander uncovers in American legal writing a competing vision of property that has existed alongside the traditional conception. Property, Alexander argues, has

Overview

Most people understand property as something that is owned, a means of creating individual wealth. But in Commodity and Propriety, the first full-length history of the meaning of property, Gregory Alexander uncovers in American legal writing a competing vision of property that has existed alongside the traditional conception. Property, Alexander argues, has also been understood as proprietary, a mechanism for creating and maintaining a properly ordered society. This view of property has even operated in periods—such as the second half of the nineteenth century—when market forces seemed to dominate social and legal relationships.

In demonstrating how the understanding of property as a private basis for the public good has competed with the better-known market-oriented conception, Alexander radically rewrites the history of property, with significant implications for current political debates and recent Supreme Court decisions.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
It is widely believed that the only tradition of property in American legal history is that which finds its economic expression in the commodity theory of property. This misconception overlooks a second tradition of property as the material foundation for creating and maintaining the proper social order. Although there have been multiple meanings of property throughout US history, the overall development of the legal profession since 1776 has had a considerable degree of cohesiveness and has been essentially modern. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780226013527
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
Publication date:
04/15/2008
Series:
Textual Sources for the Study of Religion Series
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
File size:
664 KB

What People are saying about this

Joseph W. Singer
This terrific book usefully integrates a huge amount of material and contributes both to property law theory and to the intellectual history of property law. It is a major contribution to the field. Nothing even comes close to canvassing this territory in the detailed and comprehensive way this book does.
— Joseph W. Singer, Harvard Law School

Meet the Author

Gregory S. Alexander is the A. Robert Noll Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including Global Debate over Constitutional Property: The Competing Visions of Property in American Legal Thought, also published by the University of Chicago Press.

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