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The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law$
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Jenny S. Martinez

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780195391626

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195391626.001.0001

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International Human Rights Law and International Courts

International Human Rights Law and International Courts

Rethinking Their Origins and Future

Chapter:
(p.158) Chapter 9 International Human Rights Law and International Courts
Source:
The Slave Trade and the Origins of International Human Rights Law
Author(s):

Jenny S. Martinez

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780195391626.003.0009

This chapter explores the origins and possible developments in international human rights law. It also argues that close examination of the history of the abolition of the slave trade should cause international legal scholars to rethink the relationship between power, ideas, and international legal institutions. From the end of the Napoleonic Wars, Britain was able to project its momentary power far into the future by creating permanent international legal mechanisms. Over time, Britain was able to persuade powerful countries like France and the United States to join in the increasingly universal international legal regime against the slave trade. The story of the abolition of the slave trade is a good one for international law, for human rights, and for humanity. After many statutes had been passed and several wars had been fought, the chains on slavery were finally broken.

Keywords:   international human rights law, Britain, slave trade abolition, Napoleonic Wars, international legal mechanisms, slavery abolition

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