Lockean Property Rights and the American Founding

Date
2017
Authors
Sarsfield, Megan
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Abstract

This thesis provides an in-depth, comprehensive examination of the different views regarding Lockean property rights held by the American Founding Fathers. This will be done through a comparative analysis of the writings of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. This examination will culminate in two proposals: first, while Madison and Jefferson both have the Lockean idea of property rights in mind in their writings, they clearly did not read, interpret and use Locke’s thought on property in the Second Treatise in the same way as one another; second, Jefferson was a precursor to 20th Century Progressives who distinguish certain rights (civil rights and human rights) over other rights (property rights).

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Keywords
Political philosophy., American history., American founding., Property rights.
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