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A part of a country separated from the rest and subject to a particular jurisdiction.
The term territory has various meanings in different contexts. Generally, the term refers to a particular or indeterminate geographical area. In a legal context, territory usually denotes a geographical area that has been acquired by a particular country but has not been recognized as a full participant in that country's affairs. In the United States, Guam is one example of a territory. Though it is considered a part of the United States and is governed by the U.S. Congress, Guam does not have full rights of statehood, such as full representation in Congress or full coverage under the U.S. Constitution.
The term territory is also used in the law to describe an assigned area of responsibility. A salesperson, for example, may work in a certain area. A salesperson's territory may be legally significant in a contract case. Assume that Sally has agreed to sell widgets on commission in a specific territory on the condition that no other seller from the widget supplier will do business in that territory. If the supplier arranges for another seller to encroach on Sally's territory, Sally may take legal action against the supplier.
territorynoun ager, area, beat, circuit, clime, demesne, district, division, domain, dominion, environs, expanse, field, land, latitude, locale, place, precinct, province, quarter, realm, regio, region, scene, section, terrain, tract, zone
See also: area, bailiwick, capacity, circuit, district, domain, dominion, estate, freehold, jurisdiction, land, locality, location, parcel, possessions, property, province, purview, realm, region, scope, section, site, space, sphere, venue, vicinity, zone
TERRITORY. Apart of a country, separated from the rest, and subject to a
particular jurisdiction. The word is derived from terreo, and is so called
because the magistrate within his jurisdiction has the power of inspiring a
salutary fear. Dictum cat ab eo quod magistratus intra fines ejus terrendi
jus habet. Henrion de Pansy, Auth. Judiciare, 98. In speaking of the
ecclesiastical jurisdictions, Francis Duaren observes, that the
ecclesiastics are said not to have territory, nor the power of arrest or
removal, and are not unlike the Roman magistrates of whom Gellius says
vocationem habebant non prehensionem. De Sacris Eccl. Minist. lib. 1, cap.
4. In the sense it is used in the constitution of the United States, it
signifies a portion of the country subject to and belonging to the United
States, which is not within the boundary of any of them.
2. The constitution of the United States, art. 4, s. 3, provides, that "the congress shall have power to dispose of, and make all needful rules and regulations respecting the territory or other property of the United States; and nothing in this constitution shall be construed, so as to preclude the claims of the United States or of any state."
3. Congress possesses the power to erect territorial governments within the territory of the United States; the power of congress over such territory is exclusive and universal, and their legislation is subject to no control, unless in the case of ceded territory, as far as it may be affected by stipulations in the cessions, or by the ordinance of 1787, 3 Story's L. U. S. 2073, under which any part of it has been settled. Story on the Const. Sec. 1322; Rawle on the Const: 237; 1 Kent's Com. 243, 359; 1 Pet. S. C. Rep. 511, 542, 517.
4. The only organized territories of the United States are Oregon, Minnesota, New Mexico and Utah. Vide Courts of the United States.