This course examines the role of dispossession in the early United States. We will study two particular, but also overlapping, forms of dispossession in the making of American empire, namely racial slavery and Indigenous land theft and genocide in a settler colonial state. As we interpret the historical relationship between slavery, settler colonialism, and dispossession, we will ask how people resisted these forces, as well as how these histories continue to shape our present and the very form of the nation itself, its law, economy, and ideas about belonging, citizenship, rights, and freedom.