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21 of 6,095 quotations related to Property Rights

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Adams, John
Resistance to sudden violence, for the preservation not only of my person, my limbs, and life, but of my property, is an indisputable right of nature which I have never surrendered to the public by the compact of society, and which perhaps, I could not surrender if I would.

Sep. 5, 1763 - from a letter published in the Boston Gazette
Adams, Phelps
Capitalism and communism stand at opposite poles. Their essential difference is this: The communist, seeing the rich man and his fine home, says: "No man should have so much." The capitalist, seeing the same thing, says: "All men should have as much."

Bastiat, Frederic
If every person has the right to defend - even by force - his person, his liberty, and his property, then it follows that a group of men have the right to organize and support a common force to protect these rights constantly. Thus the principle of collective right - its reason for existing, its lawfulness - is based on individual rights. And the common force that protects this collective right cannot logically have any other purpose or any other mission than that for which it acts as a substitute. Thus, since an individual cannot lawfully use force against the person, liberty, or property of another individual, then the common force - for the same reason - cannot lawfully be used to destroy the person, liberty, or property of individuals or groups.

1850 - from The Law
It is evident ... that the proper purpose of law is to use the power of its collective force to stop [a] fatal tendency to plunder instead of to work. All the measures of the law should protect property and punish plunder.

Blackstone, Sir William
Those rights, then, which God and nature have established, and are therefore called natural rights, such as life and liberty, need not the aid of human laws to be more effectually invested in every man than they are; neither do they receive any additional strength when declared by the municipal laws to be inviolate. On the contrary, no human legislature has power to abridge or destroy them, unless the owner shall himself commit some act that amounts to a forfeiture.

1765 - from Commentaries on the Laws of England
Burke, Edmund
A law against property is a law against industry.

Dec. 01, 1783 - from his "Speech on Mr. Fox's East India Bill"
Coolidge, Calvin
We need not concern ourselves much about the rights of property if we will faithfully observe the rights of persons. ... It is not property but the right to hold property ... which our Constitution guarantees. All owners of property are charged with a service. These rights and duties have been revealed, through the conscience of society, to have a divine sanction. The very stability of our society rests upon production and conservation. For individuals or for governments to waste and squander their resources is to deny these rights and disregard these obligations. The result of economic dissipation to a nation is always moral decay.

Mar. 4, 1925 - from his Inaugural Address
Ultimately, property rights and personal rights are the same thing. The one cannot be preserved if the other be violated.

Jan. 7, 1914 - from a speech delivered to the Massachusetts Senate when he became its president
Jefferson, Thomas
It is to secure our rights that we resort to government at all.

1795 - from a letter to M. D'Ivernois
Kirk, Russell
Seventh, conservatives are persuaded that freedom and property are closely linked. Separate property from private possession, and Leviathan becomes master of all.

1993 - from "Ten Conservative Principles", in the second chapter of The Politics of Prudence



Locke, John
The reason why men enter into society, is the preservation of their property; ... whenever the legislators endeavour to take away, and destroy the property of the people, or to reduce them to slavery under arbitrary power, they put themselves into a state of war with the people, who are thereupon absolved from any farther obedience, and are left to the common refuge, which God hath provided for all men, against force and violence.

1690 - from The Second Treatise on Civil Government
The State of Nature has a Law of Nature to govern it, which obliges every one: And Reason, which is that Law, teaches all Mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his Life, Health, Liberty, or Possessions.

1690 - from The Second Treatise on Civil Government
The great and chief end, therefore, of men uniting into commonwealths, and putting themselves under government, is the preservation of their property; to which in the state of Nature there are many things wanting.

1690 - from The Second Treatise on Civil Government
Madison, James
A man has a property in his opinions and the free communication of them. He has a property of peculiar 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 right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights.

Mulroney, Martin Brian  
[On the National Energy Program] The market approach works... Canada was not built by expropriating retroactively other people's property. This practice is odious and shall not be followed by the new government of Canada.

Dec. 10, 1984 - from a speech to the Economic Club of New York
Rand, Ayn
The right to agree with others is not a problem in any society; it is the right to disagree that is crucial. It is the institution of private property that protects and implements the right to disagree...

Sowell, Thomas
Private property is the indispensable protection from the arbitrary will of others, even when this arbitrary will results from a majoritarian election. Private property gives to each of us not only the assurance that others will employ themselves and their resources in ways that create prosperity for all, but also that each of us has a space that others cannot violate. For evidence that private property rather than democracy is the key to prosperity and freedom, I point to India and Hong Kong. In India the electoral franchise is wide and elections have long been regular, but property rights are weak. For most of the post-World War II era, in contrast, Hong Kong had no democracy, but property rights there have been among the strongest the world has ever seen. Indians are poor and shackled by a massively corrupt state; the people of Hong Kong are wealthy and free. Private property, not democracy, is the great guarantor of prosperity and liberty. And because it decentralizes power, it safeguards us from madmen with utopian hallucinations.

1999 - from The Quest for Cosmic Justice
The Charter  
Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person and the right not to be deprived thereof except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.

1982 - from Section 7. The Canadian Bill of Rights (1960) included rights to "enjoyment of property" and "due process of law" in its recognition of basic rights... the Charter does not.
United Nations
 Every state has the right to take the necessary steps to maintain under public control the use, posession, disposal and reservation of land. Every state has the right to plan and regulate the use of land, which is one of its most important resources, in such a way that the growth of population centers both urban and rural are based on a comprehensive land use plan.

Jun. 1976 - from its report Habitat: United Nations Conference on Human Settlements, quoted by Ronald Reagan in his radio address, Nov. 30, 1976
Webster, Daniel
In the nature of things, those who have no property and see their neighbors possess much more than they think them to need, cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property. When this class becomes numerous, it becomes clamorous. It looks on property as its prey and plunder, and is naturally ready, at times, for violence and revolution.




Widdecombe, Ann
People whose person or property is attacked should be able to defend themselves without fear of penalty from the law.

Apr. 24, 2000 - quoted in the London Daily Telegraph