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Sovereignty, Property and Empire, 1500–2000


Part of Ideas in Context

  • Date Published: February 2017
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107433663

£ 24.99

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About the Authors
  • This book analyses the laws that shaped modern European empires from medieval times to the twentieth century. Its geographical scope is global, including the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia and the Poles. Andrew Fitzmaurice focuses upon the use of the law of occupation to justify and critique the appropriation of territory. He examines both discussions of occupation by theologians, philosophers and jurists, as well as its application by colonial publicists and settlers themselves. Beginning with the medieval revival of Roman law, this study reveals the evolution of arguments concerning the right to occupy through the School of Salamanca, the foundation of American colonies, seventeenth-century natural law theories, Enlightenment philosophers, eighteenth-century American colonies and the new American republic, writings of nineteenth-century jurists, debates over the carve up of Africa, twentieth-century discussions of the status of Polar territories, and the period of decolonisation.

    • A comparative and transnational book with a truly global scope that covers America, Africa, Australia and the Poles
    • A work of medieval, early modern and modern history that provides an understanding of the evolution of ideas over time
    • The only study of its kind, charting a history of the ideas of property and sovereignty, as well as the idea of the occupation of territory
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Occupancy, property, and the right and the power to possess are, as Andrew Fitzmaurice says at the beginning of his ambitious and compelling new book, the basis of all human societies and the foundations of all (Western) political thinking.' Anthony Pagden, The Journal of Modern History

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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2017
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107433663
    • length: 400 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.5kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. Occupation from Roman law to Salamanca
    3. The Salamanca School in England
    4. Occupation and convention
    5. Theories of occupation in the eighteenth century
    6. The Seven Years' War, land speculation and the American Revolution
    7. Occupation in the nineteenth century
    8. Res nullius and sovereignty
    9. Territorium nullius and Africa
    10. Terra nullius and the Polar regions
    11. Conclusion

  • Author

    Andrew Fitzmaurice, University of Sydney
    Andrew Fitzmaurice is Associate Professor of History at the University of Sydney. He is the author of Humanism and America: An Intellectual History of English Colonisation, 1500–1625 (Cambridge, 2003), and co-editor of Shakespeare and Early Modern Political Thought (Cambridge, 2009).

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