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System, Order, and International LawThe Early History of International Legal Thought from Machiavelli to Hegel$
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Stefan Kadelbach, Thomas Kleinlein, and David Roth-Isigkeit

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768586

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768586.001.0001

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Emer de Vattel on the Society of Nations and the Political System of Europe

Emer de Vattel on the Society of Nations and the Political System of Europe

Chapter:
(p.263) 13 Emer de Vattel on the Society of Nations and the Political System of Europe
Source:
System, Order, and International Law
Author(s):

Simone Zurbuchen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768586.003.0014

This chapter aims to explain why considering Vattel as a founding father of positivism rests on a misunderstanding. Despite the continuous attention Vattel received in the scholarly literature as well as in the diplomatic and juridical practice, especially in the United States, his legacy remained highly contested ever since his treatise The Law of Nations was first published in 1758. One reason is its indebtedness to the modern natural law tradition but also to Vattel’s originality, mainly due to the significance he attributed to the sovereign state as a free and independent member of the society of nations. Vattel established many dualisms to develop his very broad notion of the law of nations: he applied the law of nations to the ‘political system’ of Europe, which he considered a kind of republic instituted for maintaining order and liberty and founded on the scheme of the balance of power.

Keywords:   Emer de Vattel, law of nations, positivism, modern natural law, political system of Europe

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