Preserving the Bill of Rights – Property Unit

While most people think of property as land or a dwelling, the term has much more constitutional significance and touches almost every aspect of citizens’ lives. The Founders, influenced by English philosopher John Locke, believed property rights in one’s body and person to be the root of all rights – rights that governments are established to protect.



In this unit from Preserving the Bill of Rights, students will:

  • Define the word “property” as understood by Enlightenment thinkers and modern legal minds.
  • Identify provisions in the Bill of Rights that protect property rights. ƒƒ
  • Analyze the Founders’ reasons for protecting property rights.ƒƒ
  • Understand the Fifth Amendment’s due process and just compensation clauses.
  • Understand how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Takings Clause.


Student Handout (PDF)

Teacher Key