ERIC Number: ED328379
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Who Owns Your Land?
This document examines the background and the changing nature of property rights from feudal times to the present, and is intended as an educational booklet. The existence of property implies the presence of an owner, an object that can be owned, and a sovereign power to protect the property right. Property involves a number of separable rights, such as right to sell or grant easements and rights to minerals and other interests. Fee simple owners have all the property rights that individuals are permitted to hold, but their rights are not absolute. The powers reserved to the state are the rights to tax, to take for public use (eminent domain), to regulate or control use, and to escheat. In addition, governments have auxiliary powers to influence operators in their land use. Our present concept of property rights has evolved from the feudal tenure system, which viewed the king as the technical owner of all land, at the top of a pyramid of rights. Fee simple ownership reached its height in the late 1700s in England and in the mid-1800s in the United States. After that, the concept was narrowed by expanding interpretations of the powers reserved to the public. The growing acceptance of a larger role for government is related to population growth, rising incomes and living standards, increased competition for available resources, broader education, wider suffrage, and growing awareness of conservation and environmental concerns. (SV)
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Cooperative Extension Service.; Southern Rural Development Center, Mississippi State, MS.