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2004 - Western Political Science Association Pages: 24 pages || Words: 8091 words || 
1. Horn, Steven. "Freedom and Democracy in a Property Rights Regime: The Case of the American Company Town" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Western Political Science Association, Marriott Hotel, Portland, Oregon, Mar 07, 2004 <Not Available>. 2020-02-22 <>
Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: What is the relationship between property rights, freedom, and democracy? Traditional theorists have focused on property rights as the cornerstone of democratic government and free society, while critics have countered that the promotion of property rights limits the expression of those ideals. This paper historicizes the debate, focusing on the American company town as a property-rights regime. The paper argues that property rights in this setting were decisive in limiting freedom and democracy in ways that public towns typically did not. That is, company-owned towns operated apart from the legal and political restraints that tethered nineteenth century municipalities – however imperfectly – to more democratic forms and outcomes. In contrast, profit maximizing company town owners arbitrarily regulated whatever aspects of life they thought necessary, and were typically free from public restraint.

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