This article explores the impact of John Locke’s Two Treatises on United States Indigenous property rights jurisprudence. After discussing Locke’s arguments, the article turns to the rationales of the first and last cases of the Marshall Trilogy—Johnson v. McIntosh (1823) and Worcester v. Georgia (1832)—arguing that, contrary to prevailing political theory, Marshall’s opinion for the Court in Johnson puts forth a fundamentally Lockean justification for the dispossession of Indigenous property. This article also provides a brief analysis of Marshall’s explicit Vattelian rationale in Worcester, commentary on recent developments regarding the precedents, and recommendations for reconciling them within contemporary jurisprudence.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.