In recent years, historians have demonstrated how thoroughly the European law of nations shaped the creation of the United States, including by justifying the subordination of Native peoples. But they have largely portrayed Natives as the subjects of, rather than participants in, these debates. Gregory Ablavsky examines the other side of this legal contest: how some Creek and Haudenosaunee leaders resisted U.S. legal arguments by deploying international-law concepts to vindicate Native nationhood. Born of constraint, this resistance confronted important limits, especially as the United States manipulated concepts of territorial sovereignty. Nonetheless, this essay argues, Native international-law claims helped write Native sovereignty into U.S. law, tracing their early influence through to the U.S. Supreme Court’s seminal Cherokee decisions of the 1830s.
Friday, December 6, 2019
Ablavsky: Species of Sovereignty: Native Nationhood, the United States, and International Law, 1783–1795
Gregory Ablavsky (Stanford Univ. - Law) has published Species of Sovereignty: Native Nationhood, the United States, and International Law, 1783–1795 (Journal of American History, Vol. 106, no. 3, pp. 591–613, December 2019). Here's the abstract: