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Johnson v. McIntosh

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Bloomberg Law

Citation. 22 Ill.21 U.S. 543, 8 Wheat. 543, 5 L. Ed. 681 (1823)

Brief Fact Summary. Plaintiffs sought to have certain land grants purportedly made by Indian tribal chiefs, recognized by the United States government.

Synopsis of Rule of Law. The title of land which has been discovered and conquered belongs entirely to the conquering nation, subject only to the right of those natives present to occupy the land.


Facts. At issue were two purported grants of land by Indian tribes to private individuals, one in 1773 and the other 1775. The lands constituted the Illinois and Piankeshaw nations. Here, the Plaintiff sought to have the United States government recognize the Plaintiff’s title to the lands, which were alleged to have passed under the grants.

Issue. May Indian tribes give a legally recognizable title in land to private individuals, such that the title may be received by the private person and upheld against any claims by courts of the United States?

Content Type: Brief


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