propositions are correct or not is a question which may be argued and decided precisely like the question of the constitutionality of a statute, if we take as a statement of the supreme law, that the primary function of government is to secure to all its people their natural rights. Observe also, that if the supreme law is so, and if these propositions are correctly deduced therefrom, no man now has any property in land which cannot rightfully be qualified or destroyed without compensation by general laws designed to regulate the use of land, though if absolute property in land is recognized in our existing constitutions our judges and congressmen and the members of our state representative legislatures are bound thereby, and only the people themselves, in whom all sovereign powers ultimately merge, could declare that result.
How, then, are conclusions so momentous reached? The heads of the argument are as follows: (1) Land is, literally, indispensable to life. “How long,” asks George, “could the strongest and most resourceful human being maintain life in interplanetary space?” The land is man’s foothold, his resting-place, his opportunity; the only source whence the materials which his faculties require to work upon can be extracted; the only part of space where nourishment can be obtained. The right to life, therefore, involves a right to land, title to which vests at birth and by the fact of birth in every human being; and such right, as against all other human beings, like the right to life, has no limit except such as the equal correlative rights of others impose. (2) Land varies in fertility, salubrity, accessibility, and generally in desirableness. Laws, therefore, securing to some men as absolute property the best parcels of land within the government’s jurisdiction are unjust inasmuch as the natural right of other men to the best parcels is as good as and equal to that of the favored ones, and such other men are not compensated for the difference in desirableness between the best lands and such lands as are open to them. (3) The land within the jurisdiction of the government is limited in amount, and is, therefore, capable of full appropriation by some to the exclusion of others; and when this happens, as is now practically the case in the State of New York, in Massachusetts, in England, in Ireland, the dilemma currently attributed to the Marquis of Salisbury is presented by the laws to some men and not to others; some must pay rent to others or they must emigrate. This dilemma is forced upon some and not upon