These days, it’s common to hear someone say that the territory of the United States had been stolen from native Americans and Mexicans, and that illegal immigration–regardless of our opinion of it–is simply a reclamation of lost territory. Fortunately, this kind of territorial originalism falls apart on its own, usually after anyone begins asking questions about the concept of territory. For instance:
Who were the original native Americans, and where did they reside?
Were they culturally homogeneous?
Were there conquerors among them, or did every single native American people simply reside in their original location? (more…)