Promoting Security for Property Owners

Even the most fundamental rights will be violated if people don’t insist on them. Two organizations that are defending property rights in public policy debates and the courtroom are the Mackinac Center for Public Policy in Midland, Mich., and the Institute for Justice in Arlington, Va. For more information on the Institute for Justice, consult their Web site at


James Madison, often called the father of the U.S. Constitution, once wrote, "Government is instituted to protect property of every sort. ... This being the end of government, that alone is a just government, which impartially secures to every man, whatever is his own." The emphasis in that quote was Madison’s.

Restoring our property rights will require a variety of reforms, but two stand out:

  • Prohibiting the use of eminent domain for so-called "economic development" and for loosely defined "blight."

  • Requiring compensation for regulatory takings, as the citizens of Oregon recently did in a state constitutional amendment.

These protections will help us secure what the Founders sought to establish: a land in which Americans are truly free.