- United States territory
United States territory is any extent of
regionunder the jurisdictionof the federal governmentof the United States,Hurd, J. C. (1968). The law of freedom and bondage in the United States. New York: Negro Universities Press.Page 438-439.] including all waters [McLaughlin, A. C., & Hart, A. B. (1914). Cyclopedia of American government. New York: D. Appleton and Co. Page 209.] (around islands or continental tracts). The United States has traditionally proclaimed the sovereign rights for exploring, exploiting, conserving, and managing its territory. [Smith, R. W. (1986). Exclusive economic zone claims: an analysis and primary documents. Dordrecht: M. Nijhoff. Page 467.] This extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States federal government (which includes tracts lying at a distance from the country) for administrative and other purposes. The United States total territory includes a subset of political divisions.
Territory of the United States
The United States territory includes any points of extended
spatial locationunder the control of the United States federal government. Various regions, districts, and divisions are under the supervision of the United States federal government. The United States territoryincludes clearly defined geographical areaand refers to an area of land, airor seaunder jurisdiction of United States federal governmental authority (but is not limited only to these areas). The extent of territory is all the area belonging to, and under the dominion of, the United States of America federal government (which includes tracts lying at a distance from the country) for administrativeand other purposes.
Constitution of the United States
Article IV of the United States Constitution, territory is subject to and belongs to the United States (but not necessarily within the national boundaries or any individual state). This includes tracts of land or water not included within the limits of any State and not admitted as a State into the Union.
The Constitution of the United States states [ [http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Constitution_of_the_United_States_of_America#Article_IV United States Constitution, Article Four] ] ,
: "the congress shall have power to dispose of, and make all needful
rules and regulations respecting the territory or other propertyof the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be construed, so as to preclude the claims of the United States or of any state." - Article IV
Congress of the United States
Congress possesses power to set territorial governments within the territory of the United States. [An example of this would be the
Northwest Ordinance.] The power of congress over such territory is exclusive and universal. Congress legislation is subject to no control, unless in the case of ceded territory. The U.S. Congress is granted the exclusive and universal power to set a United States territory's political divisions.
Supreme Court of the United States
All territory under the control of the federal government is considered part of the "United States" for purposes of law. The
United States Supreme Courtruling from 1945 stated that the term "United States" can have three different meanings, in different contexts.
: "The term 'United States' may be used in any one of several senses. It may be merely the name of a sovereign occupying the position analogous to that of other sovereigns in the family of nations. It may designate the territory over which the sovereignty of the United States extends, or it may be the collective name of the states which are united by and under the Constitution." [Hooven & Allison Co. v. Evatt, 324 U.S. 652 (1945) [ [http://supreme.justia.com/us/324/652/ HOOVEN & ALLISON CO. V. EVATT, 324 U. S. 652 (1945) - US Supreme Court Cases from Justia & Oyez ] ] ]
United States Department of the Interior
The Interior Department [ [http://www.doi.gov/ U.S. Department of the Interior Home Page ] ] is charged with managing federal affairs within U.S. territory. [Towle, N. C. (1861). A history and analysis of the Constitution of the United States. Boston: Little, Brown. Page 382-383.] The Interior Department has a wide range of responsibilities (which include the regulation of territorial governments and the basic stewardship for public lands, et al.). The United States Department of the Interior is not responsible for local government or for civil administration except in the cases of Indian reservations, through the
Bureau of Indian Affairs, as well as those territories administered through the Office of Insular Affairs.
United States divisions
District, States, Counties, Cities and Townships
population densityin persons per sq. mile (lower 48 states only); This map show states and counties.] Territories are subdivided into legally administered tracts [ [http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~stephan/48states.html Animated
] ] [ [http://www.census.gov/geo/www/garm.html U.S. Census Bureau Geographic Areas Reference Manual] ] (e.g., non-sovereign geographic areas that have voluntarily come under the authority of a government). For example,
American Samoais a territory of the government of the United States. A U.S. stateis not a " state" as viewed by international law, since the United States Constitutionrestricts individual states from conducting foreign relations. The District of Columbia is under the direct authority of Congress, [ [http://www.dccouncil.washington.dc.us/history.html District of Columbia Home Rule Act of 1973] ] and was established from territory ceded by the states of Marylandand Virginia, with all of the Virginia cession having since been returned to that state.
The contiguous part [Definition of [http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=contiguous "contiguous"] ] [ [http://www.unitedcargo.com/help/glossary.jsp?pageIndex=C Definitions of "continental United States" and "contiguous United States" as used by United Airlines.] ] of the U.S., (along with
Hawaiiand Alaska), are divided into smaller administrative regions, called counties in 48 of the 50 states. (They are called boroughs in Alaska and parishes in Louisiana.) U.S. counties can include a number of cities and towns, or sometimes just a part of a city. These counties have varying degrees of political and legal significance. U.S. townships are a term of varying meaning. In some states they represent an intermediate civic designation between city and county, in others, they designate land that is not part of any city. Some townships have governments and political power, others are simply geographic designations.
History of United States territory
Territories are, at times, organized with a separate legislature under a Territorial governor and officers appointed by the President and approved by the Senate of the United States. Territory has been historically divided into organized territories and unorganized territories. [ [http://ftp.rootsweb.com/pub/usgenweb/ar/state/history/terr/chron.txt Chronological List of Territories 1787-1890] ] [ [http://www.thegreenpapers.com/slg/statehood.phtml Official Name and Status History of the several States and U.S. Territories] ] [ [http://www.rootsweb.com/~usgenweb/maps/cessions/ Indian Land Cessions in the United States, United States Digital Map Archives] ] Unorganized territory was generally either unpopulated or set aside for Native Americans and other
indigenous peoples in the United Statesby the U.S. federal government until such time as the growing and restless population encroached into the areas. In recent times, unorganized refers to the degree of self-governmental authority exercised by the territory.
As a result of some Supreme Court cases after the
Spanish-American War, in which the U.S. had to determine how to deal with newly acquired territories such as the Philippines,cite web|title=Philippines - United States Rule|url=http://countrystudies.us/philippines/16.htm|publisher=U.S. Library of Congress|accessdate=2006-08-22] cite web|title=Philippines - A Collaborative Philippine Leadership|url=http://countrystudies.us/philippines/17.htm|publisher=U.S. Library of Congress|accessdate=2006-08-22] Puerto Rico, [ [http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/diplomacy/spain/sp1898.htm Treaty of Paris (1898)] ] Guam, [Paul Carano and Pedro C. Sanchez, A Complete History of Guam (Rutland, VT: C. E. Tuttle, 1964)] [Howard P Willens and Dirk A Ballendorf, The Secret Guam Study: How President Ford's 1975 Approval of Commonwealth Was Blocked by Federal Officials (Mangilao, Guam: Micronesian Area Research Center; Saipan: Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands Division of Historical Preservation, 2004)] Wake Islandand other areas that were not part of the North American continent and which were not necessarily intended to become a part of the Union of States. As a consequence of the Supreme Court decisions, the United States has since made a distinction between incorporated and unincorporated territory. [ [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=182&invol=244 FindLaw: "Downes v. Bidwell", 182 U.S. 244 (1901)] regarding the distinction between incorporated and unincorporated territories] [ [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=302&invol=253 FindLaw: "People of Puerto Rico v. Shell Co.", 302 U.S. 253 (1937)] regarding application of U.S. law to organized but unincorporated territories] [ [http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=404&invol=558 FindLaw: "United States v. Standard Oil Company", 404 U.S. 558 (1972)] regarding application of U.S. law to unorganized unincorporated territories] Incorporated territory in essence is land that has been irrevocabably incorporated within the sovereignty of the United States and to which the full corpus of the U.S. Constitution applies. Unincorporated territory is land held by the United States, and to which U.S. Congress applies selected parts of the constitution. Currently the only incorporated territory held by the U.S. is the unorganized (and unpopulated) Palmyra Atoll.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Northern Mariana Islands
*Minor Outlying Islands
Dependent areas of the United States
Several islands in the
Pacific Oceanand Caribbean Seaare dependent territories of the United States. [ [http://www.doi.gov/oia/Firstpginfo/islandfactsheet.htm Office of Insular Affairs] ] [ [http://www.doi.gov/oia/Islandpages/political_types.htm Department of the Interior Definitions of Insular Area Political Types] ]
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is administered by the U.S. under a perpetual lease, much as the Panama Canal Zone used to be before the signing of the Torrijos-Carter Treatiesand only mutual agreement or U.S. abandonment of the area can terminate the lease.
From July 18, 1947 until October 1, 1994, the U.S. administered the
Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, but the Trust ceased to exist when the last member state of Palau gained its independence to become the Republic of Palau. The Panama canal, and the Canal Zone surrounding it, was territory administered by the United States until 1999, when control was relinquished to Panama.
The United States has made no territorial claim in
Antarcticabut has reserved the right to do so.
Maritime territory of the United States
The Government of the United States of America has claims to the oceans in accord with international law, which delineates a zone of territory adjacent to territorial lands and seas. United States protects this marine environment, though not interfering with other lawful uses of this zone. The United States jurisdiction has been established on vessels, ships, and
artificial islands(along with other marine structures).
International law concerning United States territory
United States is not restricted from making laws governing its own territory by
international law. The United States territory can include illegally occupied territory, which is a geographic area that claims sovereignty, but is being illegally or forcibly d to the authority of the United States of America federal government. The United States territory can also include disputed territory, which is a geographic area claimed by United States of America federal government and one (or more) rival governments.
America has acquired territory by force and (
Latin, "to seek for"). Internationally (specifically according to the Hague law), United States territory can include areas occupied when placed under the authorityof a United States army. When this authority has been established, and exercised, occupation extends to that territory. The United States forces has a responsibility of providing for the basic needs of individuals under its control (which includes food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, law maintenance, and social order). The United States forces must enforce laws that were in place in the territory before occupation and during its occupation.
Land occupied by the United States
Historically, all of the United States of America was originally the territory of a multitude of Native American Indian tribes/nations. However, the source of this situation goes back several centuries, and includes land taken from Native Americans by the Spanish, French, Russians, Dutch, Danish and British.
The current United States government was obviously not responsible for all of these cessions, since many took place under British rule. However, some Native Americans claim that the U.S. still illegally occupies some of their land, pointing to treaties that they say the United States later violated. (Some say the U.S. violated all treaties it signed with Indian tribes. [Zinn, H. (1980). A people's history of the United States. New York: Harper & Row. Page 526.] )
The United States has had military forces in
Japanand West Germanyfor several decades following its victory over those nations in World War II. This is also its stated goal for Iraqand Afghanistan, both of which are sovereign states.
Political divisions of the United States
Territorial evolution of the United States
Territories of the United States
Commonwealth (United States insular area)
History of United States continental expansion
History of United States overseas expansion
*The "John F. Kennedy Memorial" built at
Runnymedein the UK is part of the U.S. territory.
* Mellander, Gustavo A.; Nelly Maldonado Mellander (1999). Charles Edward Magoon: The Panama Years. Río Piedras, Puerto Rico: Editorial Plaza Mayor. ISBN 1563281554. OCLC 42970390.
* Mellander, Gustavo A. (1971). The United States in Panamanian Politics: The Intriguing Formative Years. Danville, Ill.: Interstate Publishers. OCLC 138568. ;Other
Airspace( Controlled airspaceand Uncontrolled airspace)
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea
;Citations and notes;General informationMcFerson, Hazel M. The Racial Dimension of American Overseas Colonial Policy. 1997. Greenwood Press.
*Willoughby, W. W., & Sachs, L. (1929). [http://books.google.com/books?id=88wlAAAAMAAJ The constitutional law of the United States] . New York: Baker, Voorhis.
* McLaughlin, A. C., & Hart, A. B. (1914). [http://books.google.com/books?id=fPctAAAAIAAJ Cyclopedia of American government] . New York: D. Appleton and Co.
** " [http://books.google.com/books?id=fPctAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA204 Influence of the United states on International Law] ".
** " [http://books.google.com/books?id=fPctAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA206 Principles of International Law] ".
* Lalor, J. J. (1881). " [http://www.econlib.org/library/YPDBooks/Lalor/llCy1025.html#V.3,%20Entry%20255,%20TERRITORIES Territory] ". Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States by the Best American and European Writers. New York: Maynard, Merrill, and Co., 1899.
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