Restricted Advancements in International Law, 1856-1874

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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
This is from Lassa Oppenheim's International Law: A Treatise, Volume I, London 1905. I thought it might be of interest to show how International Law was changing around the American Civil War.

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In light of the current discussions about the ability to get out of a treaty unilaterally, I'd like to draw particular attention to this part:​
"In 1871 the Conference of London attended by the representatives of the Powers which were parties to the Peace of Paris of 1856 solemnly proclaims that it is an essential principle of the Law of Nations that no Power can liberate itself from the engagements of a treaty or modify the stipulations thereof unless with the consent of the contracting Powers by means of an amicable arrangement."
 
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In light of the current discussions about the ability to get out of a treaty unilaterally, I'd like to draw particular attention to this part:​
"In 1871 the Conference of London attended by the representatives of the Powers which were parties to the Peace of Paris of 1856 solemnly proclaims that it is an essential principle of the Law of Nations that no Power can liberate itself from the engagements of a treaty or modify the stipulations thereof unless with the consent of the contracting Powers by means of an amicable arrangement."
I was just getting ready to comment "where have we seen this same sentiment before?" until I saw in your final comment above that you also recognized it.
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
I was just getting ready to comment "where have we seen this same sentiment before?" until I saw in your final comment above that you also recognized it.
The 1871 agreement coming from the Conference of London comes at the beginning of a period when the nations of the world are starting to codify International Law and set up international courts. However, what they say here is little different than what Vattel said in 1758:

§205. Treaties dissolved by mutual consent.
Finally, as treaties are made by the mutual agreement of the parties, they may also be dissolved by mutual consent, at the free will of the contracting powers. ...
 
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trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
One of the changes going on in International Law in the 19th Century was a movement to arbitration as a means of settling disputes. Here is an entry from the Oxford Public International Law website page on that period.

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Note the growth of treaties with this condition during the Lincoln administration and the post-war Alabama Arbitration.​
 

trice

Lt. Colonel
Joined
May 2, 2006
Here again is an entry from the Oxford Public International Law website page. This part is about the move away from the Naturalists (like Vattel and Rousseau) to a more codified approach based on actual treaties/laws and legal cases:

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Those authors are probably more representative of where the study of International Law was going at the time of the American Civil War, if anyone is looking for a quick look. (There was an Italian named Pasquale Fiore who was moderately big in the late 19th Century, but I searched online and didn't find an English translation of Elementi di diritto pubblico constituzionale e amministrativo (1862; “Elements of Public Constitutional and Administrative Law”). The organized discipline of Political Science as a field of study doesn't really start until after the ACW.
 
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