In 2005 one of the most divisive cases we had ever heard on the Supreme Court occurred—Kelo v. City of New London. After a decade of the 5-4 decision I still get questions about this case. By far eminent domain has been one of most complex and controversial aspects of in our nation’s history. A foundation of the American experiment was the enlightenment movement. Within this movement great thinkers in Europe such as Hobbes, Rousseau, and Voltaire engaged in open discussions through articles of social, economic, and political reform. It was John Locke that was the cornerstone for the American revolutionaries with “life, liberty, and property.” This would find its way in the preamble of the United States Constitution penned by Thomas Jefferson as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Property would be a critical undertone in the “pursuit of happiness.” Many of the settlers making the passage across the Atlantic Ocean came in pursuit of religious freedom with hopes of creating a better life—enter property. Land ownership was elusive for the common man in Europe. Embarking on the voyage to the New World was their best opportunity at any chance of land ownership; individual property rights would be forever imprinted in American government and society as a result. Initially settlement in the American Colonies gravitated towards the coast. However, the colonists began pushing west in towards the Mississippi River; it was here were the first inklings of manifest destiny
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In current day America, citizens either take their freedom lightly or believe they have no freedom at all. However, our ancestors thought differently in the past. The English colonist came to the New World for a number of reasons. Many came to the New World to escape bad marriages, jail terms, but many historian believe that many came to either get out of poverty or the fear of them falling into poverty. According to Brands, “Religion was a big reason for the English to come across the Atlantic”. The first colony was Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, which was not successful. After the first colony was established many more were established like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and etc..
The Kelo vs City of New London case is one that was decided by the Supreme Court of the United States with the issue involving eminent domain. Eminent domain is the transfer of property from one private party (Kelo) to a public party (City of New London), with proper compensation. The case brought to light the difference between what is considered to be public use and what is the best public purpose. Susette Kelo and fellow property owners owned property that was condemned by the city of New London to be used as further economic development. The properties were taken from the owners due to the fact a pharmaceutical company named Pfizer Inc, was planning to build a facility in the area which gave the New
America's government system is powerful. One way the government flexes their muscles is through eminent domain. Eminent domain is the government's power to seize land from one and give it over to another. Most times, eminent domain is used to improve the city. There are a lot of tensions between whether eminent domain is morally right or even constitutional.
Although “historians no longer use the word “discovery” to describe the European exploration, conquest and colonization of a hemisphere already home to millions of people”, it was one of the greatest and most important discoveries ever in our history that changed the lives of millions of people. (Eric Foner, Give Me Liberty: An American History (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2008), pg 1.) For some the “discovery”of America would mean an opportunity for a better life, for others the “discovery” brought misery and death.
During the 17th and 18th century, English residents felt that England was over-crowded and intolerable. They wanted to lessen these problems that rose up because of the large population increase and to establish more religious freedom (Horn). The English believed that the best way to go about this was to colonize the New World. Subsequently, many colonies began to develop, and of these colonies, Massachusetts Bay and Virginia were the most well-known. The early settlements of Massachusetts and Virginia were both established by similar groups of people at the same time; furthermore, their contrasting beginnings as a colony, views on religion, and method of economic stability all contributed to our American heritage today.
Amongst topics of conversation regarding eminent domain, one will find regulatory usage of land, seizing of land for public use, and the most controversial of late, the seizing of land from a private owner and giving it to a more economically beneficial, often politically connected private owner. Kelo v New London (US 2005), has prompted dozens of proposals to reform eminent domain practices legislatively. Most of these proposals would restrict the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private individual to another. It is one thing to have a city claim property to further the development of the city by building roads, schools, etc. It is another thing altogether for the government to seize a property so as to gain money from higher taxation. For many years, however, courts have read the public-use restraint broadly, enabling governments to take property from one owner, often small and powerless, and transfer it to another, often large and politically connected, all in the name of economic development, urban renewal, or job creation.
The concept of property has long been one of the most crucial aspects for the U.S. citizens, as it is a major part of the Constitutional, and, therefore, human rights. Although the perception and understanding of “property” have been considerably changed, especially in terms of political and philosophical vision, it still has a particular meaning for the Americans. In general, the idea of property is the question of the political thought and conceptualized thinking common for the United States. In most cases, its transformations are connected to the introduction of capitalism and related governmental decision in politics. Therefore, as any other topic, the value of property has undergone harsh debates. In particular, such important figures as James Fenimore Cooper, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Walt Whitman have developed a fundamental scope of analyses with regard to the property rights in America.
The freedoms and opportunities enjoyed by the colonists after the American Revolution were not simply established as much as they were fought tooth and nail for. The colonists between the 15th and 18th century faced much turmoil in which they had to overcome in order to become the success they sought after. Many of these freedoms and opportunities came at a cost to other people and cultures as the colonists paved their way to a new society. To gain full benefits of their freedoms, the colonists would also have to explore new ideals to shape the way they run their lives in order to be true successes. These successions can be tied back to the first Native American treaties.
The possesion of land has proved to greatly amplify and draw out several different stereotypes and conflicts between societies in the world 's history. From Many different accounts all over the world today there has always been a dispute over land. However other disputes shadow in that of the colonial New England settlers and the Native Americans, both virtually revolving their lives around this concept of land distribution. For the settlers it meant wealth and prosperity, for the natives it meant staying alive. William Cronon 's book, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, illustrates the differences between these two separate societies and describes what life was like during the period of exploration and settlement in the New World. There are several other facts or opinions that one could take away from this passage, but the three main points are differences in the Colonist and Native conceptions of property, as well as how cultural stereotypes and eventual conflict emerged from mutual understanding of the land and use of property by each group.
In the Kelo case, Legal Reasoning was prevalent in application of law to the outcome of the decision. Justice Stevens followed the guidelines that it was the courts duty to determine the wisdom of the government’s attempt to exercise eminent domain, and that the court should not allow its decision to be deviated by the hardship that one might incur when unwillingly relinquishing their home or property. The large media influence on the Kelo strengthened the importance of Legal Reasoning even more. The court found it necessary to remove all emotions involved in listening about an individual that was about to lose the home that they had lived in their entire life and make a decision that would be for the better good of the people.
According to the facts, it seems that the sentiment of John (Cougar) Mellencamp's hit in the 1984 fueled the controversies basing on the court’s decision on June 23, 2005. The ruling stated that the local government or federal government was entitled to exercise eminent dominant rules to enable them acquire private property and utilize it for purposes of economic development. “Eminent domain also referred to as condemnation, is the act of taking private property and making it public property by the local governing authority, state, or federal government” (Bradley 65). The private property taken away is converted to public property for public use.
These days there have been many issues surrounding the topic of private property and eminent domain. I feel that eminent domain is a good way to keep the needs of the community and each person’s individual property rights balanced. Even though I believe individual property rights are more important that the needs of the community, I also believe the government sometimes has to take that property away for the better good of the community. At the same time I also understand how people feel when they talk about “NIMBY” (not in my back yard), and also about their personal needs.
John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau, two philosophers with differing opinions concerning the concept of private property. Rousseau believes that from the state of nature, private property came about, naturally transcending the human situation into a civil society and at the same time acting as the starting point of inequality amongst individuals. Locke on the other hand argues that private property acts as one of the fundamental, inalienable moral rights that all humans are entitled to. Their arguments clearly differ on this basic issue. This essay will discuss how the further differences between Locke and Rousseau lead from this basic fundamental difference focusing on the acquisition of property and human rights.
Since the concept that only wealthy white men are free individuals was a common idea in European customs, many people argue that the American Revolution was not radical in terms of Locke’s theory. Despite his inclusion of property within his argument, Locke still contends for the natural rights of all individuals. He does not include the right to own property with the intentions of excluding women, colored people, or poor men. Locke’s meaning is not that only people with property have natural rights; instead, he includes the term “property” to claim that individuals of every race, class, and background have the right to ownership, just as all individuals have the right to life and liberty. Locke’s idea is notably different from the normal concepts about liberty that encompassed European culture during that time. Therefore, in regards to Locke’s theory, the American Revolution was radical.