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Liberty IntactHuman Rights in English Law$
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Michael Tugendhat

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198790990

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198790990.001.0001

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Property, Taxation, Elections, Work, and Slavery

Property, Taxation, Elections, Work, and Slavery

(p.101) 8 Property, Taxation, Elections, Work, and Slavery
Liberty Intact

Michael Tugendhat

Oxford University Press

English law is watchful of property. It can only be taken away for some public good and by law and for compensation. Property is not just wealth: it meant that kings required consent to taxation. Parliament could withhold consent until the king addressed grievances. It was used to define qualifications to vote. Property is necessary for the effective exercise of freedom of thought, religion, expression, and assembly. Blackstone’s view that the property qualification for electors should be relaxed was used to argue for electoral reform in England (the Chartists). The American French Revolutions were justified on the principle of ‘no taxation without representation’. The common law doctrine of restraint of trade recognized since the fifteenth century is the right to work, recognized in the UDHR, but not in the ECHR. Slavery of Africans in England died out in the eighteenth century, influenced by respect for rights, without being formally abolished.

Keywords:   property, taxation, elections, ‘not taxation without representation’, restraint of trade, right to work, slavery

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