ANTHOLOGY

The History of Dominionism

       In the 15th century, Papal Bulls were issued that gave Christian explorers the right to claim, for their Christian monarchs, the land that they had discovered. Any land that was not already inhabited by Christians was decreed to be available for discovery, for claiming, and for exploitation. If any so-called ‘pagan’ inhabitants could be converted, it was possible for them to be spared from enslavement or from being killed.

These Papal Bulls, which collectively came to be known as the Discovery Doctrine or the Doctrine of Discovery, is also a concept of public international law, one that was first extensively addressed in a series of United States Supreme Court decisions, going back to Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. It was the means for Chief Justice John Marshall to explain the way that colonial powers first laid claim to newly discovered lands…

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