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

By Susan Reynolds | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Western Europe and British North America,
1100–1800

3.1 THE PLAN OF THE CHAPTER

I start my argument about the practice of expropriation for the common good after 1100 with England, because, after providing the evidence from Domesday Book that I cited in chapter 2.3 and 2.5 of compensation paid to churches and Norman invaders for lands taken from them, England then provides my next piece of reasonably hard evidence in 1130. I then take up Italy, where I discuss a case from 1156 that, though chronologically not the next, is nicely unambiguous and quickly followed by even better cases. It is not surprising that the best, as well as the earliest, medieval evidence comes from England and Italy, the two areas in which something like Weberian bureaucracy and record keeping developed first. Since the records are, in one case, those of the central government of a kingdom and, in the other, those of city-states, since the forms of their legal systems were quite different, and since the two areas were so far apart, the likelihood of influence flowing from one to the other in either direction is small. That makes the similarities in the way that expropriation worked in both countries all the more suggestive of norms that I suspect were already accepted throughout western Europe.

Some of the conclusions that I draw from those two countries may therefore help in the interpretation of the less full information about other areas that I then go on to consider. After Italy I discuss France, Germany (with Austria and the Netherlands),

-33-

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

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Western Europe before 1100 15
  • Chapter 3 - Western Europe and British North America, 1100–1800 33
  • Chapter 4 - Justifications and Discussions 85
  • Chapter 5 - Communities, Individuals, and Property 111
  • Works Cited 141
  • Index 169
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