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The eminent domain clause of the Constitution states that the government can not take away an individual’s property without providing just compensation.
The 5th Amendment's Eminent Domain Clause says that the government cannot take away anyone's private property for public use without giving them just compensation in return. [ This clause is also known as the "Takings" Clause, because the government can "take" the property. The 5th Amendment Eminent Domain Clause in the American Bill of Rights reads like this: "...nor shall private property be
taken for public use, without just compensation." The History of the Eminent Domain Clause The idea that the government has the power of eminent domain goes back in English history to the Magna Carta in 1215. This was the first time that the idea was written into law. The Magna Carta was the first official document in English history that required the monarch to obey the written laws of the government. Article 39 of Magna Carta says: "No freemen shall be taken or imprisoned or disseised or exiled or in any way destroyed, nor will we go upon him nor send upon him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." The word "disseised" means "deprived." So it says "No freemen shall be... deprived" of his property "except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land. This means that the government could take someone's property, but only according to "the law of the land," meaning the understood laws of the nation. You can read the entire Magna Carta here. King John signing Magna Carta [Pin It] King John signing Magna Carta This Magna Carta Article states that the government has the power of eminent domain, but it does not say that the government has to compensate the owner of any property it takes. This idea never took hold in England before the Revolutionary War. In fact, the thirteen colonies regularly confiscated lands before the American Revolution for public purposes such as roads and bridges, especially to open up the frontier. Paying for the land was not a part of the process! During the Revolutionary War itself, colonial governments seized property and goods for the use of the Continental army at times, such as metal for bullets, or food to eat. ]
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