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Compensation as an Incident of the Right of Eminent Domain, 5 Southern Law Review (n.s.) 1 (1879)


The right of eminent domain, whereby the State is justified in taking private property for public use, against the owner's consent, has been recognized from early times as a necessary incident of sovereignty. It is an attribute inherent in all governments, one of the jura majestatis, sometimes said to be "the law of the existence of every sovereignty." At this late day, when this right has been so long acquiesced in, there can be no reason for questioning its justice or for extolling its efficacy. The right exists, and the necessity is conceded. Half a century ago, it was said to be too late to set up any barrier to the power. "It has been," says the court, "in constant exercise since the existence of society, and must continue unrestricted so long as society shall last."

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