The Origin of Private Property in Land

How did possession of land become individ­ualised ? There can be little doubt as to the general nature of the answer. Force in one form or the other is the sole cause adequate to make the members of a society yield up their combined claims to the area they inhabit. Such force may be that of an external agressor, but in either case it implies militant activity. . . . It seems possible that the primitive ownership of land by the community, which, with the development of coercive institutions lapsed in large measure or wholly into private ownership, will be revived as industrialism further developes. . . . In legal theory landowners are directly or indirectly tenants of the Crown (which in our day is equivalent to the State, or, in other words, the community). The com­munity from time to time resumes possession after making due compensation. Perhaps the right of the community to the land thus tacitly asserted will in time to come be overtly asserted and acted upon, after making full allowance for the accumulated value artificially given.




A gentleman in New Orleans was agreeably surprised to find a plump turkey served up for dinner one day, and enquired of his negro servant how it was obtained. “Why, sar, ” said Sambo, “dat turkey him roost on our fence tree nights, so dis morning me seize him for de rent ob de fence.”

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