America’s Founders understood clearly that private property is the foundation not only of prosperity but of freedom itself. Thus, through the common law, state law, and the Constitution they protected property rights—the rights of people to freely acquire, use, and dispose of property. With the growth of modern government, however, those rights have been seriously compromised.

More on Property Rights


Donald Trump’s Eminent Domain Love Nearly Cost a Widow Her House

By David Boaz. The Guardian. August 19, 2015.

Outrage over Forfeiture Reform Is Unjustified

By Adam Bates. Oklahoman. July 24, 2015.

Above the Law

By Richard W. Rahn. Washington Times. July 20, 2015.

Cato Studies

An Innovative Approach to Land Registration in the Developing World: Using Technology to Bypass the Bureaucracy

By Peter F. Schaefer and Clayton Schaefer. Policy Analysis No. 765. December 3, 2014.

Misallocation, Property Rights, and Access to Finance: Evidence from within and across Africa

By Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan and Bent E. Sørensen. Research Briefs in Economic Policy No. 7. August 6, 2014.

Reducing Livability: How Sustainability Planning Threatens the American Dream

By Randal O’Toole. Policy Analysis No. 740. October 28, 2013.


Ending Legalized Piracy: Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform

Roger Pilon and Trevor Burrus. Policy Priorities for the 114th Congress. 2015.

Judicial Takings and Scalia’s Shifting Sands

Ilya Shapiro and Trevor Burrus. Vermont Law Review. Vol. 35. No. 2. Winter 2010.

The Constitutional Protection of Property Rights: America and Europe

Roger Pilon. Economic Education Bulletin. June 2008.

Public Filings

United States v. Batato

By Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, Darpana Sheth, & Thomas K. Maher. Legal Briefs. July 8, 2015.

Ministerio Roca Solida v. United States

By Mark F. Hearne, Stephen S. Davis, and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. July 1, 2015.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Property Owners v. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

By Roger Pilon, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus, Julio Colomba, Jonathan H. Adler, & Josh Blackman. Legal Briefs. May 26, 2015.

Cato Reviews & Journals

The Grasping Hand

Policy Report. July/August 2015.

Magna Carta’s Importance for America

Roger Pilon. Cato's Letter. Summer 2015.

Patents at the Supreme Court: It Could’ve Been Worse

Gregory Dolin. Supreme Court Review. 2012-2013.


Magna Carta and the Rule of Law around the World

Featuring Ilya Shapiro, Roger Pilon, Tom G. Palmer, Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar, & Ian Vásquez. June 4, 2015. Conference.

Mugged by the State: When Regulators and Prosecutors Bully Citizens

Featuring Tim Lynch. May 19, 2014. Policy Forum.

Securing Land Rights for Chinese Farmers: The Progress So Far

Featuring Ian Vásquez. April 6, 2009. Policy Forum.