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The Guardian of Every Other RightA Constitutional History of Property Rights$
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James W. Ely

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195323337

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195323337.001.0001

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The Revolutionary Era, 1765–1787

The Revolutionary Era, 1765–1787

(p.26) 2 The Revolutionary Era, 1765–1787
The Guardian of Every Other Right

James W. Ely

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the history of property rights in America during the revolutionary era from 1765 to 1787. Despite the exaltation of property rights as part of the revolutionary ideology, experience soon demonstrated that state safeguards for property were inadequate. State legislatures repeatedly interfered with the rights of property owners, which included sweeping confiscation and sequestration measures directed against Loyalists and British merchants. By 1787 many political leaders were convinced that only a more energetic national government could sufficiently protect property ownership, regulate commerce, and restore public credit.

Keywords:   property rights, America, revolutionary ideology, state legislatures, property owners, confiscation, sequestration, property ownership

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