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7 - Hugo Grotius: On Freedom of the Seas and Human Nature

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2021

Pamela Slotte
Affiliation:
Åbo Akademi University
John D. Haskell
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
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Summary

This contribution examines an important triangulation in the thought of Hugo Grotius, or Hugo de Groot (1583–1645): his biblically based effort to redefine private property; a Remonstrant (or Arminian) theological framework for his definition of the free-willing and rational individual who could choose good or evil, as well as punish evil in others; and his work for the Dutch East India Company (VOC), which in many ways framed all that he wrote. Through these three items, Grotius developed an initial framework for international law, especially the ideology of “freedom of the seas,” or what is now called “freedom of navigation.” The question that arises through this analysis is whether the universal category of “freedom of the seas” as well as his idea of human nature are vitiated by the specific context in which they arose and the interests they served, or whether one can indeed develop universals, recognized by others, from specific contexts.

Type
Chapter
Information
Christianity and International Law
An Introduction
, pp. 139 - 152
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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References

Buckle, Stephen. Natural Law and the Theory of Property: Grotius to Hume. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1991.Google Scholar
Grotius, Hugo. The Truth of the Christian Religion. Translated by John Clarke. Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2012 [1627].Google Scholar
Ittersum, Martine Julia van. Profit and Principle: Hugo Grotius, Natural Rights Theories and the Rise of Dutch Power in the East Indies 1595–1615. Leiden: Brill, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Nellen, Henk, and Rabbie, Edwin. Hugo Grotius, Theologian: Essays in Honour of G.H.M. Posthumus Meyjes. Leiden: Brill, 1994.Google Scholar
Stumpf, Christoph A. The Grotian Theology of International Law: Hugo Grotius and the Moral Foundations of International Relations. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 2006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Sun, Pinghua. Human Rights Protection System in China. Heidelberg: Springer, 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Wallerstein, Immanuel. The Modern World-System I: Capitalist Agriculture and the Origins of the European World-Economy in the Sixteenth Century. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011 [1974].Google Scholar

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