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The Constitution of Empire – Territorial Expansion and American Legal History - Yale Scholarship Online
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The Constitution of Empire: Territorial Expansion and American Legal History

Gary Lawson and Guy Seidman


This book offers a constitutional and historical survey of American territorial expansion from the founding era to the present day. The authors describe the Constitution's design for territorial acquisition and governance, and examine the ways in which practice over the past two hundred years has diverged from that original vision. Noting that most of America's territorial acquisitions—including the Louisiana Purchase, the Alaska Purchase, and the territory acquired after the Mexican–American and Spanish–American wars—resulted from treaties, they elaborate a Jeffersonian-based theory of the fe ... More

Keywords: territorial expansion, founding era, Constitution, territorial acquisition, territorial governance, Louisiana Purchase, Alaska Purchase, treaties, federal treaty power, constitutional law

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2004 Print ISBN-13: 9780300102314
Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013 DOI:10.12987/yale/9780300102314.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Gary Lawson, author

Guy Seidman, author