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Beyond Settler Colonialism: State Sovereignty in Early America

Prior, Charles



This paper offers a critical reflection on the appropriateness of ‘settler colonialism’ as an analytic category for understanding the political dynamics of early America. It argues that the paradigm’s focus on the elimination of the native obscures the resilience of Indian power, and the mechanisms by which that power was exercised and defended. The paper positions settler colonialism in recent treatments of the history of colonial political thought, and then presents diplomacy as a site of both sovereign formation and negotiation that enhanced the power of colonies as much as it preserved the power of Indian confederations. The final section of the paper suggests that the ‘interior’ sovereignty of Native Americans continued to shape the powers of the new republican order of states.


Prior, C. (2019). Beyond Settler Colonialism: State Sovereignty in Early America. Journal of early American history, 9(2-3), 93-117.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 2, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 10, 2019
Publication Date Dec 10, 2019
Deposit Date Dec 10, 2019
Publicly Available Date Dec 11, 2020
Journal Journal of Early American History
Print ISSN 1877-0223
Electronic ISSN 1877-0703
Publisher Brill Academic Publishers
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 2-3
Pages 93-117
Keywords Settler colonialism; Diplomacy; Treaties; Republicanism
Public URL
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