The “Doctrine of Discovery” is the modern-day name for the international law principle that European nations used to claim most of the non-European world. The Doctrine was applied against Native peoples in North America by England, France, Spain, Holland, and Russia. The United States adopted this legal principle and used it to claim the Oregon Country from other European countries and from the Indian Nations.
This talk will explain the elements, or factors, that make up this international law and argue that the Doctrine of Discovery morphed into “American Manifest Destiny” and was used, and is still being used today, to justify the United States’ acquisition of the lands and assets of the Indian Nations and peoples.
This lecture was originally shared by the Oregon Historical Society.