territory

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territory,

in U.S. history, a portion of the national domain that is given limited self-government, usually in preparation for statehood. Territorial governments have been similar in form to those of the states, but have been subject to greater authority of the federal government. The Ordinance of 1787Ordinance of 1787,
adopted by the Congress of Confederation for the government of the Western territories ceded to the United States by the states. It created the Northwest Territory and is frequently called the Northwest Ordinance.
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, adopted by the Congress of the Confederation of the United States to create the Northwest TerritoryNorthwest Territory,
first possession of the United States, comprising the region known as the Old Northwest, S and W of the Great Lakes, NW of the Ohio River, and E of the Mississippi River, including the present states of Ohio, Ind., Ill., Mich., Wis., and part of Minn.
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, furnished the basis upon which territorial governments were later organized under the Constitution of the United States. The Louisiana PurchaseLouisiana Purchase,
1803, American acquisition from France of the formerly Spanish region of Louisiana. Reasons for the Purchase

The revelation in 1801 of the secret agreement of 1800, whereby Spain retroceded Louisiana to France, aroused uneasiness in the United
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 of 1803 raised the problem of the relationship of the United States to newly acquired domains—a subject treated vaguely in the Constitution of the United States. The Supreme Court, however, established the right of Congress to set up territorial governments and to admit territories to the Union. With the rapid westward expansion of the United States in the 19th cent., and the acquisition of large portions of land through treaty, purchase, and war, Congress shaped territorial boundaries and prescribed government. Territorial governments usually have consisted of a governor, a bicameral legislature, a secretary to keep records, and a system of courts. A territory may be admitted to the Union as a state after its officers petition Congress for an enabling act, establish a constitution, and meet certain requirements (often regarding population) as set forth by the U.S. Congress. Congress itself may initiate such action. Except for the Thirteen Colonies and California, Kentucky, Maine, Texas, Vermont, and West Virginia, all the states went through a territorial stage before they were admitted to the Union. The affairs of territories were under the Dept. of State until 1873, when their supervision was given to the Dept. of the Interior. Present U.S. territories include the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. In Canada and Australia a similar portion of the country not yet organized as a province or state is known as a territory.

territory

the geographical area under the formal jurisdiction or control of a recognized political AUTHORITY. GIDDENS (1985) distinguished between the jurisdiction of modern NATION STATES, where the borders are strictly demarcated and highly administered, and the much more loosely defined and often contested and ill-defined frontiers of preindustrial empires. He sees this as an exemplification of the much greater control over time and space possessed by modern governments (see TIME-SPACE DISTANCIATION).

territory

1. the geographical domain under the jurisdiction of a political unit, esp of a sovereign state
2. the district for which an agent, etc., is responsible
3. an area inhabited and defended by an individual animal or a breeding group of animals
4. a region of a country, esp of a federal state, that enjoys less autonomy and a lower status than most constituent parts of the state
5. a protectorate or other dependency of a country
References in classic literature ?
Within the limits of this province were now included the old colony of Plymouth, and the territories of Maine and Nova Scotia.
They are not vengeful and enterprising in warfare, however; seldom sending war parties to attack the Blackfeet towns, but contenting themselves with defending their own territories and house.
One of the great men of his family had been slain in an attack upon a band of trappers passing through the territories of his tribe.
The intervening mountains generally two or three thousand feet above the level of the sea geographically define the territories of each of these hostile tribes, who never cross them, save on some expedition of war or plunder.
Owing to the mutual hostilities of the different tribes I have mentioned, the mountainous tracts which separate their respective territories remain altogether uninhabited; the natives invariably dwelling in the depths of the valleys, with a view of securing themselves from the predatory incursions of their enemies, who often lurk along their borders, ready to cut off any imprudent straggler, or make a descent upon the inmates of some sequestered habitation.
The government of the United States began to view with a wary eye the growing influence thus acquired by combinations of foreigners, over the aboriginal tribes inhabiting its territories, and endeavored to counteract it.
An opening was thus made for the American merchant to trade on the confines of Canada, and within the territories of the United States.
Unluckily, the war which broke out in 1812 between Great Britain and the United States suspended the association; and, after the war, it was entirely dissolved; Congress having passed a law prohibiting the British fur traders from prosecuting their enterprises within the territories of the United States.
Other territories have been offered in exchange for the Duchy of Oldenburg," said Prince Bolkonski.
For some time all territories adjacent to China had been grumbling at Chinese immigration; but now it suddenly came home to the world that China's population was 500,000,000.
Now she was spilling over the boundaries of her Empire--that was all, just spilling over into the adjacent territories with all the certainty and terrifying slow momentum of a glacier.
Many industries use County boundaries as the based geography to create their sales territories.