Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blog Post 2 Eminent Domain

The government’s power to use eminent domain has played a large contribution on how our country was developed on the surface level.  The use of eminent domain has allowed the creation to build straight roads and highways for efficient ways of transportation, supply water, construct public buildings and establish parks. In the past, eminent domain has stirred up controversy and to this day Americans still have a hard time excepting its power.

Eminent domain is defined as the federal government’s power to acquire real property from private citizens.  The negative perception due from the infringement on private property rights is easy to grasp however, eminent domain serves a necessary purpose. The government can only acquire the private property if it is going to be used for the good of the public. The government is also responsible to justly compensate the private property owner for the fair market value of the property. This is stated in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” 

Throughout the twentieth century, the need for eminent domain has been apparent. As the population in our country grows, the increase of eminent domain projects does as well. For example, in the early decades of the century updating modes of transportation like constructing railroads or maintaining navigable waters were vital. It’s ironic now in the new millennium we are facing similar projects.


The creation of the high-speed railroad in California is in the works and is stirring up emotions throughout the state. In my personal life, I have heard more complaints than excitement of the new project. The complaints I have heard have come straight from the private property owners. They are in battle with the government over their land. However, the government is legally allowed to acquire their land under eminent domain because the high-speed rail would be beneficial for the citizens of the state.  It is stated that the train will run from San Francisco to Los Angeles under 3 hours while traveling at speeds around 200 mph.


It is interesting to learn all the ways eminent domain has affected our personal cities and country as a whole.  Without eminent domain we would not have the conveniently constructed public roads, or public offices like the post office, or beautiful national parks. At times eminent domain feels like an infringement of freedom but it is always for the benefit of the citizens of the country.

California High Speed Rail Authority.  Web. 11 Nov. 2013

"USDOJ: Environment and Natural Resources Division : History of the Federal Use of Eminent Domain." Web. 11 Nov. 2013.

Diaz III, Julian & J. Andrew Hansz. Real Estate Analysis: Environments and Activities. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt, 2010.

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