Document Type


Publication Title

Texas A&M Journal of Property Law

Publication Date

Spring 2023



Page Number



private property, natural law, eminent domain, regulation, police power


Law | Natural Law | Property Law and Real Estate


This Article first explores the ambiguous relationship between natural law and the rights of property owners in American history. It points out that invocation of natural law principles was frequently conflated with English common law guarantees of property rights in the Revolutionary Era. Reliance on natural law as a source of protection for private property faded during the nineteenth century and was largely rejected in the early twentieth century. The Article then considers the extent to which natural law principles are useful in addressing contemporary issues relating to eminent domain and police power regulation of private property. Taking a skeptical review, it concludes that natural law, standing alone, is largely theoretical and does not appear to offer meaningful guidance to current problems.



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