Document Type



Canons of Property Talk, or, Blackstone’s Anxiety, 108 Yale Law Journal 601 (1999)


How do legal scholars talk about property? Here is one set of lines they are quite likely to quote:

There is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination, and engages the affections of mankind, as the right of property; or that sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe.

The author of this statement, of course, was William Blackstone, who made it early in the second volume of his weighty and influential Commentaries on the Laws of England, at the point where he turned his attention to the subject "Of the Rights of Things"—that is to say, property.

Date of Authorship for this Version


Included in

Law Commons