Before Eminent Domain: Toward a History of Expropriation of Land for the Common Good

By Susan Reynolds | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER 1
Introduction

1.1 THE PROBLEM OF ORIGINS

In October 1905 F. W. Maitland wrote a letter to the secretary of the Selden Society in which he remarked:

I have often wondered where the Americans found their emi-
nent domain or rather how they came to borrow just this
from the continental sources. Has it ever struck you that what
protected us against this was the completeness of our feudalism?
Unquestionably we all hold of the King, but the lord has no right
to “expropriate” the tenant. Just because there is supreme land-
lordship there is no eminent domain in the foreign sense.1

Maitland died just over a year later, so that, what with his teaching, involvement with the Selden Society, writing the life of Leslie Stephen, and struggling with illness, it is not surprising that he never got around to exploring the history of eminent domain. In the century since he wrote those words, various people have engaged with bits of the subject, but no one seems to have attempted a general history of what can better be called “expropriation of land for the common good.” I prefer not to call it “eminent domain” in the American fashion for three reasons: first, because the

1. Maitland, Letters, ed. Fifoot, no. 449. He referred to the eminent domain of the modern state in Pollock and Maitland, History of English Law, 2:3.

-1-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Before Eminent Domain: Toward a History of Expropriation of Land for the Common Good
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 175

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?