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date: 14 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines the concept of “empire” in the U.S. Constitution, with particular emphasis on four forms of empire—all sanctioned by the Constitution—that reflected the complexity of the history and present-day status of U.S. sovereignty within the territories and states, over the American Indians, and over those outside the formal boundaries of the United States. It begins with an overview of the federal government’s unquestioned authority over the territories annexed by Congress and the president, beyond the several states, followed by a discussion on the federal government’s control of the “public domain” in the area annexed to the Union. It then considers the empire wielded over the American Indians and their lands, followed by an analysis of extraterritoriality as a form of empire exerted over persons and areas outside the borders of the United States, including U.S. territories, after World War II.

Keywords: empire, Constitution, sovereignty, territories, American Indians, federal government, public domain, extraterritoriality, United States

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