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Studies in the Early History of Institutions, Vol. 1

Studies in the Early History of Institutions, Vol. 1

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Описание
Excerpt from Studies in the Early History of Institutions, Vol. 1: The Theory of Village Communities

The idea prevails that the earliest form of ownership in land was corporate, collective, or joint ownership; that separate ownership arose in consequence of the disentanglement of individual from collective rights; of the rights of the family from those of the tribe; of the rights of the individual from those of the family. The theory of village communities is based upon this idea. It is now universally accepted.

The theory has arisen in somewhat the following manner. Certain passages of Caesar's Commentarii De Bello Gallico and the twenty-sixth chapter of Tacitus' Germania were read. The institution of joint tenure in the land communities of the middle ages was studied. It was then assumed that Caesar and Tacitus describe joint ownership of land; and the problem arose, how was joint ownership changed to joint tenure. This problem, now of many years' standing, has not been solved. Its conditions, however, are accepted without hesitation or doubt. Men were free in the time of C?sar and Tacitus, and held land in joint ownership. The same men were unfree in the tenth century and held land in joint tenure. How, therefore, was joint ownership changed to joint tenure?

Then there was a discovery in the East, in India, of free village communities like those of the West among the Germans in Tacitus' time. To be sure the land of the Indian villages is not held in joint-ownership, but in ancestral shares. In early times, however, it must have been held in joint ownership; for what was an institution among the Germans in Tacitus' time must have been an institution among their kindred in India.

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