The Edges of Empire and the Limits of Sovereignty: American Guano Islands

  title={The Edges of Empire and the Limits of Sovereignty: American Guano Islands},
  author={Christina Duffy Burnett},
  journal={American Quarterly},
  pages={779 - 803}
  • C. Burnett
  • Published 10 October 2005
  • History, Law
  • American Quarterly
The origins of the legal framework of U.S. overseas expansion can be traced to a largely forgotten mid-nineteenth campaign to secure a sprinkling of remote oceanic islands for the benefit of American commerce and industry. These "guano islands," which promised American farmers cheap and nearly miraculous fertilizer (in the form of deep deposits of seabird droppings), aroused enormous public passion in an agricultural nation poised to become a global power. Could the United States acquire these… 
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The roots of the international legal order have often been traced to intertwining scholarly and political traditions dating back to the early seventeenth century, in particular to early writings in
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over a brace of newly acquired island territorie& A set of Supreme Court decisions known collectively as the Insular Cases established the legal authorization for this undertaking. As the traditional
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Meinig, The Shaping of America: A Geographical Perspective on 500 Years of History, vol. 2: Continental America (New Haven, Conn.: Yale
  • 1993
Slaves Under Our Flag,
  • The Maryland Historian
  • 1993
The following account of the Navassa island riot is based on Cashman and on Skaggs
  • The Maryland Historian
  • 1993
Virgin Islands, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa
  • See generally GAO Report,
  • 1989