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Conquest by Law
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Conquest by Law: How the Discovery of America Dispossessed Indigenous Peoples of Their Lands

Lindsay G. Robertson


In 1823, Chief Justice John Marshall handed down a Supreme Court decision of monumental importance in defining the rights of indigenous peoples throughout the English-speaking world (the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). At the heart of the decision for Johnson v. M'Intosh was a “discovery doctrine” that gave rights of ownership to the European sovereigns who “discovered” the land and converted the indigenous owners into tenants. Though its meaning and intention has been fiercely disputed, more than 175 years later, this doctrine remains the law of the land. In 1991, while in ... More

Keywords: John Marshall, Supreme Court, indigenous peoples, Europeans, Johnson v. M'Intosh, discovery doctrine, Illinois Land Company, Wabash Land Company

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2005 Print ISBN-13: 9780195148695
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195148695.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Lindsay G. Robertson, author
University of Oklahoma College of Law
Author Webpage