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10 - International Law

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2017

Mark Bevir
Affiliation:
University of California, Berkeley
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Summary

Although international law in Victorian Britain was riven by divisions between historical and analytical, and between naturalist and positivist, approaches to jurisprudence, the major legal thinkers (Henry Maine, John Westlake, Travers Twiss, James Lorimer, Thomas Erskine Holland, and William Edward Hall) shared a set of historicist presuppositions that distinguished them from their eighteenth-century forbears and that profoundly marked modern international law. These included the belief that international law, although historically particular to Europe, was prospectively authoritative for the globe because only Europe could claim to have produced and experienced the progressive civilization that was humanity’s vocation and destiny. Despite imagining a developmental process by which other societies would gradually be admitted to legal standing in the system of civilized states, these thinkers naturalized the differences they asserted between Europeans and others. And despite regarding Europe’s system of international law as both an index and an engine of progress, they professed impotence in the face of European imperial expansion and fear that Europe’s material civilization in the form of increasingly destructive technologies of war might overwhelm the normative achievements of European civilization.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2017

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  • International Law
  • Edited by Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley
  • Book: Historicism and the Human Sciences in Victorian Britain
  • Online publication: 20 April 2017
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711286.010
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  • International Law
  • Edited by Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley
  • Book: Historicism and the Human Sciences in Victorian Britain
  • Online publication: 20 April 2017
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711286.010
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • International Law
  • Edited by Mark Bevir, University of California, Berkeley
  • Book: Historicism and the Human Sciences in Victorian Britain
  • Online publication: 20 April 2017
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316711286.010
Available formats
×