A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European by Lauren Benton

By Lauren Benton

A look for Sovereignty maps a brand new method of global heritage through studying the relation of legislation and geography in ecu empires among 1400 and 1900. Lauren Benton argues that Europeans imagined imperial house as networks of corridors and enclaves, and they developed sovereignty in ways in which merged principles approximately geography and legislation. Conflicts over treason, piracy, convict transportation, martial legislations, and crime created abnormal areas of legislation, whereas additionally attaching criminal meanings to prevalent geographic different types comparable to rivers, oceans, islands, and mountains. The ensuing felony and spatial anomalies motivated debates approximately imperial constitutions and foreign legislation either within the colonies and at domestic. This unique examine alterations our realizing of empire and its legacies and opens new views at the international heritage of legislations.

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Extra resources for A Search for Sovereignty: Law and Geography in European Empires, 1400-1900

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28 This indeterminacy meant that instead of settling interimperial claims the treaty created new tensions. Similarly, in British North America, the northern and southern boundaries of chartered colonies trailed off into unmapped and contested country to the west. The promise of a straightforward linear extension of territorial claims was foreclosed both by Indian agency and by the impermanence 26 27 28 For a sophisticated account of many strands of globalization across the long nineteenth century, see C.

The most important sources of variation derived from local legal politics. Europeans far from home reenacted legal rituals as they remembered them and imperfectly reconstructed legal practices and arguments. In early centuries this devotion to what I will call “legal posturing” can be explained partly by a system of rewards that required subjects to sustain their ties to sovereigns and seek future patronage on the basis of evidence that they had advanced crown interests. 68 The influence of law on the actions of sojourners and settlers was grounded in their knowledge 66 67 68 On the pervasive influence of medieval canon law on the “legally trained” men who “played the central role in shaping the terms of political discourse in the early modern world as it concerned international relations,” see James Muldoon, “Discovery, Grant, Charter, Conquest, or Purchase,” in The Many Legalities of Early America, ed.

Kelley’s argument that the “science of law” rather than natural philosophy shaped “the principal questions, terminology, and lines of investigation of the study of humanity” in Western history, or even the more modest claim that “ideas of law were often homologous with, if not 22 A Search for Sovereignty As we shall see, law and legal practices provided methods for the collection and organization of geographic knowledge. Law also operated as a medium for conflicts over the size and shape of imperial territories.

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