Primitive Property

Primitive Property

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Primitive Property

Primitive Property

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Excerpt

M. De Laveleye's present work has two distinct aspects, historical and practical. On the one hand, it investigates the early forms of landed property in a number of societies, European, Asiatic, African, and American. On the other hand, it raises a practical problem, the importance of which will be admitted by readers who may dissent from M. de Laveleye's views with respect to its solution. A study of the course followed by the development of property from the infancy of society has led to two opposite lines of inference and thought--represented respectively by Sir Henry Maine and M. de Laveleye--with regard to its present forms in most civilized countries; but the historical researches of both these eminent writers coincide in establishing that the separate ownership of land is of modern growth, and that originally the soil belonged in common to communities of kinsmen.

The property of which M. de Laveleye treats in this volume is property in land; of all kinds of property that which has most deeply affected both the economic condition and the political career of human societies. In one sense indeed land was not primitive . . .

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