Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-8448b6f56d-sxzjt Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-04-24T19:19:08.005Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 7 - Property as a legal right

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 September 2009

Peter Garnsey
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Get access

Summary

HISTORIOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND

In 1840 Pierre-Joseph Proudhon of Besançon, a printer and an autodidact, published What is Property? and answered his own question: ‘Property is Theft.’ Karl Marx was twenty-one years of age at the time, and writing his dissertation for the University of Jena on the difference between the natural philosophy of Democritus and of Epicurus. After a brief opening chapter on methodology, Proudhon moves on to definitions. He begins in this way:

‘Roman law defines property as the right to use and abuse a thing within the limits of the law’ – and he provides the Latin: ‘Jus utendi et abutendi re sua, quatenus iuris ratio patitur.’ Abuse of property, he says sardonically, is really indistinguishable from use of property. One way or another, the proprietor can do what he likes with his land. He can ‘let the crops rot underfoot, sow his field with salt, milk his cows on the sand, turn his vineyard into a desert, and use his vegetable garden as a park’.

Further definitions follow. According to the Declaration of Rights, published as a preface to the French Constitution of 1793, property is ‘the right to enjoy and dispose at will of one's goods, one's income, and the fruit of one's labour and industry’.

Type
Chapter
Information
Thinking about Property
From Antiquity to the Age of Revolution
, pp. 177 - 203
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2007

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

  • Property as a legal right
  • Peter Garnsey, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Thinking about Property
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482786.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

  • Property as a legal right
  • Peter Garnsey, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Thinking about Property
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482786.009
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Property as a legal right
  • Peter Garnsey, University of Cambridge
  • Book: Thinking about Property
  • Online publication: 22 September 2009
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511482786.009
Available formats
×