How did contemporary English and European notions of sovereignty, empire, law and state formation impact upon English methods of settlement and governance in the Americas? Using documents such as travel narratives, promotional literature, colonial charters, maps, diplomatic correspondence and state papers, Ken MacMillan offers a major new study of legal imperialism under Queen Elizabeth and the early Stuarts. He argues that the imperial centre had a legal and historical right and responsibility to supervise its colonial peripheries. By drawing on legal resources associated with Roman law and the law of nations, the crown and its agents ensured that English New World claims would gain recognition in the broader European community, thereby establishing legal foundations that would have an enduring impact on the British Empire. The book will appeal to scholars in imperial studies, English and American legal and constitutional history, foreign affairs and the history of international law.
Introduction; 1. Sovereignty, empire, and law in a New World context; 2. Defining the Elizabethan empire in America; 3. Letters patent and the acquest of dominion; 4. Defending sovereignty and possession in the New World; 5. Mapping the English empire in North America; 6. Negotiating the early-Stuart empire in America; Bibliography; Index.