Grotian Revivals in the Theory and History of International Law
The Cambridge Companion to Hugo Grotius Ed. RCH Lesaffer and J. Nijman (Cambridge University Press, 2019) (Forthcoming)
16 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2019
Date Written: March 24, 2019
This chapter examines how the title of founder of the law of nations was bestowed upon Grotius and how the liberal internationalist interpretation of the existence of a Grotian tradition in international law came into being. It also reviews the extent to which both historical constructs have been challenged by new historical research and contemporary re-interpretations of Grotius’ works and figure. The chapter is divided into three parts. The first part accompanies the reception of Grotius by international lawyers from the time of the discovery of his De Jure Praedae in 1864 to the establishment of the Grotius Society in England during the First World War. The second part examines the revivals of Grotius among international lawyers in the aftermaths of both world wars and considers a number of Grotius-related historiographical developments during the Cold War period. The third part examines how, in recent decades, on the one hand Grotius has become more mainstreamed and further institutionalised as a global symbol of international law while on the other hand his reputation has suffered from him being labelled a handmaiden of European colonialism and exploitation. The concluding section reflects on the lasting fame of the ‘miracle of Holland’ among international lawyers and suggests that the history of international law as a research field should now take a break from Hugo Grotius.
Keywords: Grotius, History of International Law, Historiography, Revivals, Classics of International Law
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