Date of Award
This paper is an effort to present a synopsis of the jurisprudence of eminent domain law and riparian doctrine and their place in the history of American property law. Both areas are vast and complicated bodies of law, and both are still undergoing scrutiny and change. We therefore will concentrate on those cases and doctrines that culminated in the eminent domain jurisprudence of the early West. In the context of early American land settlement and development, the paper will define what is known among legal and historical scholars as "takings," expounding on different aspects of that concept. We will examine the confiscation of private property for the "public interest" and the evolution of early American riparian doctrine, closely related to the doctrine of eminent domain. Both issues involve the power of the state or sovereign to disrupt the use of property by private entities through confiscation for what the courts decide is a significant societal benefit. Especially in eminent domain law, courts have authorized takings both by public entities (national or state governments, government agencies, government corporations, and other such organizations) and private entities deemed to serve the public interest. We will look at this phenomenon in an historical perspective.
Beckstead, Scott, "Eminent Domain Law, Riparian Doctrine, and Early American Land Settlement: An Evolutionary History of Vested Property Rights From the Late 18th Through the 19th Century" (1988). Undergraduate Honors Capstone Projects. 312.
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