Journal of Libertarian Studies

Life, Liberty, and . . . : Jefferson on Property Rights

The Journal of Libertarian Studies

Surveys of libertarian-leaning individuals in America show that the intellectual champions they venerate the most are Thomas Jefferson and Ayn Rand. The author of the Declaration of Independence is an inspiring source for individuals longing for liberty all around the world, since he was a devotee of individual rights, freedom of choice, limited government, and, above all, the natural origin, and thus the inalienable character, of a personal right to property.

However, such libertarian-leaning individuals might be surprised to learn that, in academic circles, Jefferson is depicted as a proto-socialist, the advocate of simple majority rule, and a powerful enemy of the wicked “possessive individualism” that permeated the revolutionary period and the early republic.

Volume 18, Number 1 (2004)


Bassani, Luigi M. "Life, Liberty, and . . . : Jefferson on Property Rights." Journal of Libertarian Studies 18, No. 1 (2004): 31–87.

All Rights Reserved ©
Support Liberty

The Mises Institute exists solely on voluntary contributions from readers like you. Support our students and faculty in their work for Austrian economics, freedom, and peace.

Donate today
Group photo of Mises staff and fellows