territory


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Related to territory: Union Territory, Indian Territory

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 ?
Since we had entered the territory we had not seen a hostile Indian, and we had, therefore, become careless in the extreme, and were wont to ridicule the stories we had heard of the great numbers of these vicious marauders that were supposed to haunt the trails, taking their toll in lives and torture of every white party which fell into their merciless clutches.
They seized ivory and retreated into the trackless wastes of the north before the guardians of the territory they raped could be made aware of their presence.
The English have not been able to secure complete dominion over this territory, which is subjected to the influence of rajahs, whom it is almost impossible to reach in their inaccessible mountain fastnesses.
These potentates had two principal anxieties: the one, that no foreigner should enter Italy under arms; the other, that none of themselves should seize more territory.
When you plunder a countryside, let the spoil be divided amongst your men; when you capture new territory, cut it up into allotments for the benefit of the soldiery.
We will fight, when we get there, upon the sands which are covered by the rising tide, and which form part of the French territory during six hours of the day, but belong to the territory of Heaven during the other six.
Astor became proprietor of one half of the Indian establishments and goods which the Mackinaw Company had within the territory of the Indian country in the United States, and it was understood that the whole was to be surrendered into his hands at the expiration of five years, on condition that the American Company would not trade within the British dominions.
If a slaver runs slaves through British territory he ought to pretend that they're his servants.
The greatness of an estate, in bulk and territory, doth fall under measure; and the greatness of finances and revenue, doth fall under computation.
Barth, since to do so was to undertake to traverse an extent of more than twelve degrees of territory.
At dinner the talk turned on the latest political news: Napoleon's seizure of the Duke of Oldenburg's territory, and the Russian Note, hostile to Napoleon, which had been sent to all the European courts.
If I were you," said Evelyn, turning to him and drawing her glove vehemently through her fingers, "I'd raise a troop and conquer some great territory and make it splendid.