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Aboriginal Societies and the Common LawA History of Sovereignty, Status, and Self-Determination$
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P.G. McHugh

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198252481

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198252481.001.0001

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Aboriginal Sovereignty and Status in the ‘Empire(s) of Uniformity’

Aboriginal Sovereignty and Status in the ‘Empire(s) of Uniformity’

(p.117) 3 Aboriginal Sovereignty and Status in the ‘Empire(s) of Uniformity’
Aboriginal Societies and the Common Law


Oxford University Press

Through the 17th and most of the 18th centuries, the formal pattern of British relations with non-Christian societies carried strong residual traces of a medieval and personalized approach to the nature of sovereign authority. This was expressed through an underlying jurisdictionalism by which British authority over non-Christians was based upon treaty, protocol and suchlike relations with those people. Essentially this approach recognized and worked through the political authority of the non-Christian polity. In the late 18th and 19th centuries, however, a new, modern approach towards sovereign authority emerged and was applied to tribal peoples. This chapter describes that transition.

Keywords:   British imperialism, non-Christian societies, jurisdictionalism, sovereign authority, colonialism

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