This essay claims that the violence characterizing the 20th century has been coloured
by the clash of two very different senses of legal authority. These two senses of legal
authority correspond with two very different contexts of civil violence: state secession
and the violence characterizing a challenge to a state-centric legal authority. Conklin
argues that the modern legal authority represents a quest for a source or foundation.
Such a sense of legal authority, according to Conklin, clashes such a view with the
unwritten laws of early Amerindian traditional societies. Conklin argues further that
by arguing that the Amerindian sense of legal authority has been concealed in the
dominant modern sense of legal authority.