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Grotius' two major treatises on the law of nations - De jure praedae and De jure belli ac pacis - both had the discussion of the just war doctrine as the backbone to their structure and argument. Whereas the older treatise was construed to argue the justice and legality of the taking of a Portuguese ship in East Indian waters, the more mature work aimed at a systematic exposition of the laws regulating the starting, waging and ending of war. Grotius offered a novel reading of the just war doctrine by rewriting it into the key of his general legal theory and his doctrine of natural rights as subjective rights under commutative justice. This chapter analyses Grotius' reframing o the just war doctrine and his re-systematisation of late-medieval and Renaissance legacies of theologians, canonists and civilians into a new doctrine of jus ad bellum, also giving some attention to its effect for the legal process of peace-making.
Grotius lived through a time of great upheaval in Europe as well as in his country of birth, the Dutch Republic. The religious, political and constitutional convulsions that struck the Republic destroyed Grotius' career but also, in combination with fundamental changes in the intellectual outlook of early seventeenth-century Europe formed his views of God, nature, society, politics and law. This chapter introduces the extraordinary polymath Grotius was from the perspective of this background and offers a map to the five parts of this volume, and their respective chapters.
The Cambridge Companion to Grotius offers a comprehensive overview of Hugo Grotius (1583–1645) for students, teachers, and general readers, while its chapters also draw upon and contribute to recent specialised discussions of Grotius' oeuvre and its later reception. Contributors to this volume cover the width and breadth of Grotius' work and thought, ranging from his literary work, including his historical, theological and political writing, to his seminal legal interventions. While giving these various fields a separate treatment, the book also delves into the underlying conceptions and outlooks that formed Grotius' intellectual map of the world as he understood it, and as he wanted it to become, giving a new political and religious context to his forays into international and domestic law.
This chapter traces the practice of concluding peace treaties in Early Modern Europe, characterised by the increasing standardisation of clauses, as well as the influence of the concept of legal (or formal) war alongside that of just war. While just war retained an important role in the justification of war, treaty-making practice tended to rely on legal war, which produced a dualist logic in both war-waging and peace-making. Over time, the settlement of territorial conflicts moved from pre-existing claims and rights to conquest as a basis; dynastic legitimacy was subordinated to the raison d’etat. Increasingly standardised amnesty and restitution clauses, retractions of letters of reprisal, and provisions on prisoners of war likewise bore the influence of the legal war concept. Finally, to deal with the ever wider disruption caused by war, separate FCN treaties emerged alongside peace treaties. Later on, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles marked a brief return to a discriminatory concept of war, but its longer-lasting impact was on collective security and compensation of war damage for citizens.