For many people, owning a business is the very definition of the American dream. But in today’s America, attaining such a dream is made increasingly difficult by laws and regulations that interfere with entrepreneurs and their right to earn a living. Author Timothy Sandefur has had a part in defending many hardworking American citizens against the unfair and often ludicrous restrictions imposed on them by government. These rules and regulations allow politicians and lobbyists to play favorites, rewrite contracts, file frivolous lawsuits, seize private property, and manipulate private choices.
This book charts the history of the fundamental human right of economic liberty—a right that the Founding Fathers considered to be a fundamental part of “the pursuit of happiness.” In fact, that right was protected by English judges for more than 150 years before U.S. independence, and American courts continued this vigilance during the country’s early years and through the Civil War Amendments that expanded protection to all Americans, regardless of race. The book then charts the changes that occurred when Progressive‐era judges began to tear away those protections and concludes with an account of current controversies involving abusive licensing laws, freedom of speech in advertising, rules that override private property rights without just compensation, and more.
The Right to Earn a Living explains how Americans can restore the Constitution’s long‐neglected protections for the right that Supreme Court Justice William Douglas once called “the most precious liberty that man possesses.”