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


Abusive Civil Asset-Forfeiture Laws

By Richard W. Rahn. Washington Times. April 14, 2014.

New York’s Pursuit of Airbnb Is an Attack on Privacy

By Ilya Shapiro and Gabriel Latner. Daily Caller. December 18, 2013.

Land Acquisition Bill Is a Luddite Throwback to 19th Century

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar. Times of India. August 25, 2013.

Cato Studies

Reducing Livability: How Sustainability Planning Threatens the American Dream

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

The Cost of Zimbabwe’s Continuing Farm Invasions

By Eddie Cross. Economic Development Bulletin No. 12. May 18, 2009.

Securing Land Rights for Chinese Farmers: A Leap Forward for Stability and Growth

By Zhu Keliang and Roy Prosterman. Development Policy Analysis No. 3. October 15, 2007.


The Constitutional Protection of Property Rights: America and Europe

Roger Pilon. Economic Education Bulletin. June 2008.

The Constitutional Protection of Property Rights: America and Europe

Roger Pilon. Progress Foundation (Zurich). June 13, 2007.

Class Action Lawmaking: An Administrative Law Model

Mark Moller. Texas Review of Law & Politics. Vol. 11. 2006.

Public Filings

United States v. Wurie

By Jim Harper and Ilya Shapiro. Legal Briefs. April 9, 2014.

A. Gallo & Co. v. Esty

By John Pagliaro, Ilya Shapiro, Luke Wake & Shannon Goessling. Legal Briefs. December 23, 2013.

Brandt v. United States

By Mark F. Hearne, Stephen S. Davis, Ilya Shapiro, Trevor Burrus & Julio Colomba. Legal Briefs. November 22, 2013.

Cato Reviews & Journals


Securing Land Rights for Chinese Farmers: The Progress So Far

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

Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage

Featuring Roger Pilon. January 27, 2009. Book Forum.

Supreme Neglect: How to Revive Constitutional Protection for Private Property

Featuring Richard A. Epstein. March 6, 2008. Book Forum.