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date: 17 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the role of historical analysis in property law. The history of property has been used to offer support for property rights. Their long history makes the distribution of property look normal, indeed natural and something that cannot or should not be challenged. However, historically in the U.S there have been competing visions of property. From the Progressive era onward especially, the history of property has been used to show the unequal distribution of property and to offer an alternative vision that expands the rights of non-owners of property. In the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, the history of opposition to feudalism and protection of the rights of non-owners was used to protect the rights of non-owners. Thus, the history of property has been a tool of judges and legislators to support property rights and it has also been, less frequently, a tool of critique.

Keywords: legal history, property law, property rights, unequal property distribution, non-owners

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