Common Law

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Egalitarian Potential of the Common Law Tradition

Poor Richard:

"I find a great deal of wisdom about the balance of public and private interests in the age-old common law. Modern statutory law has departed ever farther from common law principles of equity and has grown in the direction of monarchical “divine right” and/or “manifest destiny” -ish rationales in modern disguise. As we invent “new” forms of property and revise old ones, as I think we must, I hope we will give due consideration to common law traditions which in general are very egalitarian. Unfortunately, few people born in the past 100 years have any idea what “common law” is unless they have been through law school; and even then they most likely view it as a quaint curiosity. In the Robin Hood story, Robin was upholding common-law rights to the commons against the corrupt and degenerate monarchy." (

Example: "A form of enclosure of open, public land that worked to the benefit of the common man is seen in the US Homestead Acts." [1]