Conquest


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Conquest

A term used in feudal law to designate land acquisition by purchase; or any method other than descent or inheritance by which an individual obtains ownership of an estate. A term used in International Law for the process whereby a sovereign nation is, by force of arms, made to submit to another nation; the defeated country thus becomes part of the empire of the conqueror.

CONQUEST, feudal law. This term was used by the feudists to signify purchase.

CONQUEST, international law. The acquisition of the sovereignty of a country by force of arms, exercised by an independent power which reduces the vanquished to the submission of its empire.
     2. It is a general rule, that where conquered countries have laws of their own, these laws remain in force after the conquest, until they are abrogated, unless they are contrary to our religion, or enact any malum in se. In all such cases the laws of the conquering country prevail; for it is not to be presumed that laws opposed to religion or sound morals could be sanctioned. 1 Story, Const. Sec. 150, and the cases there cited.
     3. The conquest and military occupation of a part of the territory of the United States by a public enemy, renders such conquered territory, during such occupation, a foreign country with respect to the revenue laws of the United States. 4 Wheat. R. 246; 2 Gallis. R. 486. The people of a conquered territory change their allegiance, but, by the modern practice, their relations to each other, and their rights of property, remain the same. 7 Pet. R. 86.
     4. Conquest does not, per se, give the conqueror plenum dominium et utile, but a temporary right of possession and government. 2 Gallis. R. 486; 3 Wash. C. C. R. 101. See 8 Wheat. R. 591; 2 Bay, R. 229; 2 Dall. R. 1; 12 Pet. 410.
     5. The right which the English government claimed over the territory now composing the United States, was not founded on conquest, but discovery. Id. Sec. 152, et seq.

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Because war was now illegal, except in cases of self-defence, states lost the right of conquest. Yes, an aggressor could still take a city by force, but doing so would no longer mean that as a matter of law, it became the aggressor's city.
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