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America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939$
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Mark Weston Janis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579341.001.0001

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Great Expectations: The Alabama Arbitration and the Progress of International Law

Great Expectations: The Alabama Arbitration and the Progress of International Law

Chapter:
(p.131) 7 Great Expectations: The Alabama Arbitration and the Progress of International Law
Source:
America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939
Author(s):

Mark Weston Janis

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579341.003.0007

It is easy to mock the great expectations of late 19th- and early 20th-century Americans about the promise of international law. With hindsight, it is known that between 1914 and 1945, ‘civilized’ Europe and America were engulfed in two bloody world wars killing tens of millions, and that since 1945, all the world's peoples have been threatened by possible annihilation by nuclear weapons and other terrors. Such horrors were undreamt of a hundred years ago. What Americans knew at the end of the 19th century was their own past, a much more encouraging history. This chapter begins with the highpoint of 19th-century American international law idealism: the Alabama arbitration of 1872. It then looks to the International Law Association, established in 1873, and to the religious believers in international law of the period, and asks to what extent their belief in the progress of international law was justified.

Keywords:   Alabama arbitration, international law, International Law Association, idealism

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