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This book explores ancient 'foundational' texts relating to property and their reception by later thinkers in their various contexts up to the early nineteenth century. The texts include Plato's vision of an ideal polity in the Republic, Jesus' teachings on renunciation and poverty, and Golden Age narratives and other evolutionary accounts of the transition of mankind from primeval communality to regimes of ownership. The issue of the legitimacy of private ownership exercises the minds of the major political thinkers as well as theologians and jurists throughout the ages. The book gives full consideration to the historical development of Rights Theory, with special reference to the right to property. It ends with a comparative study of the Declarations of Rights in the American and French Revolutions and seeks to explain, with reference to contemporary documents, why the French recognised an inalienable, human right to property whereas the Americans did not.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780521876773
ISBN-10: 052187677X
Format: Hardback
(228mm x 152mm x 17mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publish Date: 13-Dec-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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Author Biography - Peter Garnsey

Peter Garnsey is Director of Research in the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge, having previously been Professor of Ancient History. His recent books include Ideas of Slavery from Aristotle to Augustine (1996), Food and Society in Classical Antiquity (1999), (with Caroline Humfress) The Evolution of the Late Antique World (2001) and (with Anthony Bowen) a translation of Lactantius' Divine Institutes (2003).

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