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Tag: liberty
  • Environment and property rights in NC, 1795

    Many people in the United States today like to speak of a thing called “free enterprise,” which in their minds is closely linked to “property rights,” with both of these things being represented by a time in American history before the rise of “big government“–back in colonial days, and for a period after Independence up to the industrial revolution.  It would surprise and perhaps disturb these people to find that the earliest North Carolina legislatures, filled with “founding fathers,” were quite willing to take away an individual’s property rights in the interest of environmental improvement.  As long as environmental protection was perceived to advance economic development, early American leaders readily restricted individual freedom by imposing state-sanctioned changes on property.  But before the rise of the state administrative agencies that now form much of the executive branch of government, the legislature turned to local government and the courts to impose these requirements on property owners. Continue Reading

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