mortmain


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mortmain

(môrt`mān') [Fr.,=dead hand], ownership of land by a perpetual corporationcorporation,
in law, organization enjoying legal personality for the purpose of carrying on certain activities. Most corporations are businesses for profit; they are usually organized by three or more subscribers who raise capital for the corporate activities by selling shares
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. The term originally denoted tenure (see tenuretenure,
in law, manner in which property in land is held. The nature of tenure has long been of great importance, both in law and in the broader economic and political context.
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, in law) by a religious corporation, but today it includes ownership by charitable and business corporations. In the Middle Ages the church acquired, by purchase and gift, an enormous amount of land and other property. The struggle over this accumulation of material wealth was an important aspect of the conflict between church and state. Moreover, lands held by monasteries and other religious corporations were generally exempt from taxation and payment of feudal dues, greatly increasing the burden on secular property. Attempts to limit ecclesiastic mortmain began as early as Carolingian times, and by the late 19th cent. the right of religious bodies to own land was in general highly restricted. In many countries the prevailing principle limited such ownership to absolutely necessary holdings. In the United States ecclesiastic mortmain was never a serious problem, and remaining statutes on the subject are essentially inoperative vestiges of former law.

Bibliography

See H. C. Lea, The Dead Hand (1900); C. Zollman, American Civil Church Law (1917).

Mortmain

 

one of the norms of feudal law in Western and Central Europe.

Under mortmain, a feudal lord had the right to confiscate part of the property of a deceased peasant, usually the best cattle and clothing or their corresponding monetary value. Until the llth century mortmain applied in some form to all individuals who were personally dependent on the landowner; from the 12th and 13th centuries it began disappearing as the peasants received personal freedom, but endured in some backward localities until the 16th to 18th centuries.

For the church mortmain signified a ban against alienation of the landed property of church institutions; in some countries, every landholding of the church was secured in this fashion. It was abolished in the Protestant countries during the Reformation of the 16th century and in France during the French Revolution.

References in periodicals archive ?
To think of "Mortmain" as a "source essay" requires that we start with it as a way to reach back into the biography, but of course we could just as easily reverse directions and start with the biography as a way to explicate the poem.
Dicho de otro modo, la tierra quedaba en una situacion de propiedad o posesion permanente e inmovil, que se llamaba de manos muertas (mortmain).
desire for tax revenue, which undergirded English mortmain. In the new
Although mortmain is now a thing of the past, (159) testators today might attempt a similar maneuver to give effect to other objectionable estate plans.
rent asunder by the Mortmain Bill, laid squarely at the feet of the
(31) For the history of the installation of the principle of mortmain in India, and the making of the Hindu deity as legal subject see BIRLA, supra note 8, at ch.
The alternative to realism, the experimental modernism represented by Cassandra and Rose's father Mortmain, seems untenable as a model for Cassandra to follow.
Waleys was granted license to alienate in mortmain London property and remittance of a fine of six pounds imposed by London's sheriffs.
(89) Later, Mortmain Statutes that allowed spouses and children to nullify death bed gifts to charities and which were originally motivated by the fear of "overreaching by priests taking the last confession and will," were either repealed or declared unconstitutional.
(128) Testators are prevented by the rule against perpetuities from exercising excessive mortmain control.
The story is chock-full of odd and weighty names and terms, such as puissance, mortmain, magno force, Whitwashisberd and Passionara, which may be a bit off-putting for some readers.
In the Odyssey too, past events of gods and humans extend their influence as a kind of mortmain over the present.