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Topic: Pearl Harbor not an attack on USA?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
 Post Number: 11
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PostIcon Posted on: Jun. 30 2005,1:05   Ignore posts   QUOTE

Territory has a specific leagal meaning in the USA in addition to the general meaning of land that is under US sovergnity. An Organized Territory is a region that is being set up for eventual statehood. With the exceptions of the original 13 states and Texas, the remaing 36 states were designated as organized territories at one point. An organized territory is not just a pocession, it is a pre-state fully under the US constitution. The usage of organized territory as a legal distinction dates back to the 1700s.

In addition after the Spainish American War the US Supreme Court created a new distinction, incorporated territory and unincorporated territory. Unincorporated territory covered areas that were pocessions (like the Philipines), while incorporated territory covered areas that were irrevocably part of the United States. The territory of Hawaii was incorporated territory.

In 1941 Hawaii was just a firmly a part of the United States as any of the 48 states. It only differed from them in having a territorial government rather than a state government.

In addition under international law a ship is legally part of the territory of the nation that owns it. An attack on a United States ship is legally an attack on the United States.

The Japanese Empire attacked an incorporated territory of the United States when it attacked shore facilities in Hawaii. It attacked the United States when it attacked American Ships. It attacked a United States pocession when it attacked the Philipines a few hours later.


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John Dobbins

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