Hugo Grotius (/ˈɡroʊʃiəs/; 10 April 1583 – 28 August 1645), also known as Huig de Groot (Dutch: [ˈɦœyɣ də ɣroːt]) or Hugo de Groot (Dutch: [ˈɦyɣoː də ɣroːt]), was a Dutch jurist. Along with the earlier works of Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili, Grotius laid the foundations for international law, based on natural law. A teenage intellectual prodigy, he was imprisoned for his involvement in the intra-Calvinist disputes of the Dutch Republic, but escaped hidden in a chest of books. He wrote most of his major works in exile in France.
It is thought that Hugo Grotius was not the first to formulate the international society doctrine, but he was one of the first to define expressly the idea of one society of states, governed not by force or warfare but by actual laws and mutual agreement to enforce those laws. As Hedley Bull declared in 1990: "The idea of international society which Grotius propounded was given concrete expression in the Peace of Westphalia, and Grotius may be considered the intellectual father of this first general peace settlement of modern times."
Additionally, his contributions to Arminian theology helped provide the seeds for later Arminian-based movements, such as Methodism and Pentecostalism, and he is acknowledged as a significant figure in the Arminianism–Calvinism debate. Because of his theological underpinning of free trade, he is also considered an "economic theologist".
Hugo Grotius – Portrait by Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt, 1631
|Born||10 April 1583|
|Died||28 August 1645 (aged 62)|
|Alma mater||Leiden University|
|Philosophy of war, International law, Political philosophy|
|Theory of natural rights, grounding just war principles in natural law|
Born in Delft during the Dutch Revolt, Hugo was the first child of Jan de Groot and Alida van Overschie. His father was a man of learning, once having studied with the eminent Justus Lipsius at Leiden, as well as of political distinction, and he groomed his son from an early age in a traditional humanist and Aristotelian education. A prodigious learner, Hugo entered the University of Leiden when he was just eleven years old. There he studied with some of the most acclaimed intellectuals in northern Europe, including Franciscus Junius, Joseph Justus Scaliger, and Rudolph Snellius.
At age sixteen he published his first book: a scholarly edition of the late antique author Martianus Capella's work on the seven liberal arts, Martiani Minei Felicis Capellæ Carthaginiensis viri proconsularis Satyricon, in quo De nuptiis Philologiæ & Mercurij libri duo, & De septem artibus liberalibus libri singulares. Omnes, & emendati, & Notis, siue Februis Hug. Grotii illustrati [The Satyricon by Martianus Minneus Felix Capella, a man from Carthage, which includes the two books of 'On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury', and the book named 'On the Seven Liberal Arts'. Everything, including corrections, annotations as well as deletions and illustrations by Hug. Grotius].
In Holland, Grotius earned an appointment as advocate to The Hague in 1599 and then as official historiographer for the States of Holland in 1601. His first occasion to write systematically on issues of international justice came in 1604, when he became involved in the legal proceedings following the seizure by Dutch merchants of a Portuguese carrack and its cargo in the Singapore Strait. 
The Dutch were at war with Spain and Portugal when the loaded merchant ship Santa Catarina, a Portuguese carrack, was captured by captain Jacob van Heemskerk off present-day Singapore in 1603. Heemskerk was employed with the United Amsterdam Company (part of the Dutch East India Company), and though he did not have authorization from the company or the government to initiate the use of force, many shareholders were eager to accept the riches that he brought back to them.
Not only was the legality of keeping the prize questionable under Dutch statute, but a faction of shareholders (mostly Mennonite) in the Company also objected to the forceful seizure on moral grounds, and of course, the Portuguese demanded the return of their cargo. The scandal led to a public judicial hearing and a wider campaign to sway public (and international) opinion. It was in this wider context that representatives of the Company called upon Grotius to draft a polemical defence of the seizure.
The result of Grotius' efforts in 1604/05 was a long, theory-laden treatise that he provisionally entitled De Indis (On the Indies). Grotius sought to ground his defense of the seizure in terms of the natural principles of justice. In this, he had cast a net much wider than the case at hand; his interest was in the source and ground of war's lawfulness in general. The treatise was never published in full during Grotius' lifetime, perhaps because the court ruling in favor of the Company preempted the need to garner public support.
In The Free Sea (Mare Liberum, published 1609) Grotius formulated the new principle that the sea was international territory and all nations were free to use it for seafaring trade. Grotius, by claiming 'free seas' (Freedom of the seas), provided suitable ideological justification for the Dutch breaking up of various trade monopolies through its formidable naval power (and then establishing its own monopoly). England, competing fiercely with the Dutch for domination of world trade, opposed this idea and claimed That the Dominion of the British Sea, or That Which Incompasseth the Isle of Great Britain, is, and Ever Hath Been, a Part or Appendant of the Empire of that Island.
Aided by his continued association with Van Oldenbarnevelt, Grotius made considerable advances in his political career, being retained as Oldenbarnevelt's resident advisor in 1605, Advocate General of the Fisc of Holland, Zeeland and Friesland in 1607, and then as Pensionary of Rotterdam (the equivalent of a mayoral office) in 1613. In 1608 he married Maria van Reigersbergen, with whom he would have eight children (four surviving beyond youth) and who would be invaluable in helping him and the family to weather the storm to come.
In these years a great theological controversy broke out between the chair of theology at Leiden Jacobus Arminius and his followers (who are called Arminians or Remonstrants) and the strongly Calvinist theologian, Franciscus Gomarus whose supporters are termed Gomarists or Counter-Remonstrants. Leiden University "was under the authority of the States of Holland – they were responsible, among other things, for the policy concerning appointments at this institution, which was governed in their name by a board of Curators – and, in the final instance, the States were responsible for dealing with any cases of heterodoxy among the professors." The domestic dissension resulting over Arminius' professorship was overshadowed by the continuing war with Spain, and the professor died in 1609 on the eve of the Twelve Years' Truce. The new peace would move the people's focus to the controversy and Arminius' followers.
The controversy expanded when the Remonstrant theologian Conrad Vorstius was appointed to replace Jacobus Arminius as the theology chair at Leiden. Vorstius was soon seen by Counter-Remonstrants as moving beyond the teachings of Arminius into Socinianism and he was accused of teaching irreligion. Leading the call for Vorstius' removal was theology professor Sibrandus Lubbertus. On the other side Johannes Wtenbogaert (a Remonstrant leader) and Johan van Oldenbarnevelt, Grand Pensionary of Holland had strongly promoted the appointment of Vortius and began to defend their actions. Gomarus resigned his professorship at Leyden, in protest that Vorstius was not removed. The Counter-Remonstrants were also supported in their opposition by King James I of England "who thundered loudly against the Leyden nomination and gaudily depicted Vorstius as a horrid heretic. He ordered his books to be publicly burnt in London, Cambridge, and Oxford, and he exerted continual pressure through his ambassador in the Hague, Ralph Winwood, to get the appointment cancelled." James began to shift his confidence from Oldenbarnevelt towards Maurice.
Grotius joined the controversy by defending the civil authorities' power to appoint (independently of the wishes of religious authorities) whomever they wished to a university's faculty. He did this by writing Ordinum Pietas, "a pamphlet...directed against an opponent, the Calvinist Franeker professor Lubbertus; it was ordered by Grotius' masters the States of Holland, and thus written for the occasion – though Grotius may already have had plans for such a book."
The work is twenty-seven pages long, is "polemical and acrimonious" and only two-thirds of it speaks directly about ecclesiastical politics (mainly of synods and offices). The work met with a violent reaction from the Counter-Remonstrants, and "It might be said that all Grotius' next works until his arrest in 1618 form a vain attempt to repair the damage done by this book." Grotius would later write De Satisfactione aiming "at proving that the Arminians are far from being Socinians."
Led by Oldenbarnevelt, the States of Holland took an official position of religious toleration towards Remonstrants and Counter-Remonstrants. Grotius, (who acted during the controversy first as Attorney General of Holland, and later as a member of the Committee of Counsellors) was eventually asked to draft an edict to express the policy of toleration. This edict, Decretum pro pace ecclesiarum was completed in late 1613 or early 1614. The edict put into practice a view that Grotius had been developing in his writings on church and state (see Erastianism): that only the basic tenets necessary for undergirding civil order (e.g., the existence of God and His providence) ought to be enforced while differences on obscure theological doctrines should be left to private conscience.
The edict "imposing moderation and toleration on the ministry", was backed up by Grotius with "thirty-one pages of quotations, mainly dealing with the Five Remonstrant Articles." In response to Grotius' Ordinum Pietas, Professor Lubbertus published Responsio Ad Pietatem Hugonis Grotii in 1614. Later that year Grotius anonymously published Bona Fides Sibrandi Lubberti in response to Lubbertus.
Jacobus Trigland joined Lubberdus in expressing the view that tolerance in matters of doctrine was inadmissible, and in his 1615 works Den Recht-gematigden Christen: Ofte vande waere Moderatie and Advys Over een Concept van moderatie Trigland denounced Grotius' stance.
It is generally assumed that Grotius first propounded the principle of freedom of the seas, although all countries in the Indian Ocean and other Asian seas accepted the right of unobstructed navigation long before Grotius wrote his De Jure Praedae (On the Law of Spoils) in the year of 1604. Additionally, 16th century Spanish theologian Francisco de Vitoria had postulated the idea of freedom of the seas in a more rudimentary fashion under the principles of jus gentium. Grotius's notion of the freedom of the seas would persist until the mid-twentieth century, and it continues to be applied even to this day for much of the high seas, though the application of the concept and the scope of its reach is changing.
In late 1615, when Middelburg professor Antonius Walaeus published Het Ampt der Kerckendienaren (a response to Johannes Wtenbogaert's 1610 Tractaet van 't Ampt ende authoriteit eener hoogher Christelijcke overheid in kerckelijkcke zaken) he sent Grotius a copy out of friendship. This was a work "on the relationship between ecclesiastical and secular government" from the moderate counter-remonstrant viewpoint. In early 1616 Grotius also received the 36 page letter championing a remonstrant view Dissertatio epistolica de Iure magistratus in rebus ecclesiasticis from his friend Gerardus Vossius.
The letter was "a general introduction on (in)tolerance, mainly on the subject of predestination and the sacrament...[and] an extensive, detailed and generally unfavourable review of Walaeus' Ampt, stuffed with references to ancient and modern authorities." When Grotius wrote asking for some notes "he received a treasure-house of ecclesiastical history. ...offering ammunition to Grotius, who gratefully accepted it". Around this time (April 1616) Grotius went to Amsterdam as part of his official duties, trying to persuade the civil authorities there to join Holland's majority view about church politics.
In early 1617 Grotius debated the question of giving counter-remonstrants the chance to preach in the Kloosterkerk in The Hague which had been closed. During this time lawsuits were brought against the States of Holland by counter-remonstrant ministers and riots over the controversy broke out in Amsterdam.
As the conflict between civil and religious authorities escalated, in order to maintain civil order Oldenbarnevelt eventually proposed that local authorities be given the power to raise troops (the Sharp Resolution of August 4, 1617). Such a measure putatively undermined the authority of the stadtholder of the republic, Maurice of Nassau, Prince of Orange. Maurice seized the opportunity to solidify the preeminence of the Gomarists, whom he had supported, and to eliminate the nuisance he perceived in Oldenbarnevelt (the latter had previously brokered the Twelve Years' Truce with Spain in 1609 against Maurice's wishes). During this time Grotius made another attempt to address ecclesiastical politics by completing De Imperio Summarum Potestatum circa Sacra, on "the relations between the religious and secular authorities...Grotius had even cherished hopes that publication of this book would turn the tide and bring back peace to church and state".
As the religious dispute between the Remonstrants and the Counter-Remonstrants became increasingly heated during the Twelve Years’ Truce (1609–1621), riots broke out. A national synod, the Synod of Dort, was convened to settle the dispute and in 1619, it outlawed Arminianism. Remonstrant members of the States of Holland including Johan van Oldenbarnevelt and Hugo Grotius were immediately arrested and imprisoned. After half a year in remand, sentences were passed. Van Oldenbarnevelt was sentenced to death and was beheaded in 1619. Grotius was controversially sentenced to life imprisonment and transferred to Loevestein Castle.
From his imprisonment in Loevestein, Grotius made a written justification of his position "as to my views on the power of the Christian [civil] authorities in ecclesiastical matters, I refer to my...booklet De Pietate Ordinum Hollandiae and especially to an unpublished book De Imperio summarum potestatum circa sacra, where I have treated the matter in more detail...I may summarize my feelings thus: that the [civil] authorities should scrutinize God's Word so thoroughly as to be certain to impose nothing which is against it; if they act in this way, they shall in good conscience have control of the public churches and public worship – but without persecuting those who err from the right way." Because this stripped Church officials of any power some of their members (such as Johannes Althusius in a letter to Lubbertus) declared Grotius' ideas diabolical.
In 1621, with the help of his wife and his maidservant, Elsje van Houwening, Grotius managed to escape the castle in a book chest and fled to Paris. In the Netherlands today, he is mainly famous for this daring escape. Both the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and the museum Het Prinsenhof in Delft claim to have the original book chest in their collection.
Grotius was well received in Paris by his former acquaintances and was granted a royal pension under Louis XIII. It was there in France that Grotius completed his most famous philosophical works.
While in Paris, Grotius set about rendering into Latin prose a work which he had originally written as Dutch verse in prison, providing rudimentary yet systematic arguments for the truth of Christianity. The Dutch poem, Bewijs van den waren Godsdienst, was published in 1622, the Latin treatise in 1627, under the title De veritate religionis Christianae.
Grotius also developed a particular view of the atonement of Christ known as the "Governmental" or "Moral government" theory. He theorized that Jesus' sacrificial death occurred in order for the Father to forgive while still maintaining his just rule over the universe. This idea, further developed by theologians such as John Miley, became one of the prominent views of the atonement in Methodist Arminianism.
Living in the times of the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Netherlands and the Thirty Years' War between Catholic and Protestant European nations (Catholic France being in the otherwise Protestant camp), it is not surprising that Grotius was deeply concerned with matters of conflicts between nations and religions. His most lasting work, begun in prison and published during his exile in Paris, was a monumental effort to restrain such conflicts on the basis of a broad moral consensus. Grotius wrote:
Fully convinced...that there is a common law among nations, which is valid alike for war and in war, I have had many and weighty reasons for undertaking to write upon the subject. Throughout the Christian world I observed a lack of restraint in relation to war, such as even barbarous races should be ashamed of; I observed that men rush to arms for slight causes, or no cause at all, and that when arms have once been taken up there is no longer any respect for law, divine or human; it is as if, in accordance with a general decree, frenzy had openly been let loose for the committing of all crimes.
De jure belli ac pacis libri tres (On the Law of War and Peace: Three books) was first published in 1625, dedicated to Grotius' current patron, Louis XIII. The treatise advances a system of principles of natural law, which are held to be binding on all people and nations regardless of local custom. The work is divided into three books:
Grotius' concept of natural law had a strong impact on the philosophical and theological debates and political developments of the 17th and 18th centuries. Among those he influenced were Samuel Pufendorf and John Locke, and by way of these philosophers his thinking became part of the cultural background of the Glorious Revolution in England and the American Revolution. In Grotius' understanding, nature was not an entity in itself, but God's creation. Therefore, his concept of natural law had a theological foundation. The Old Testament contained moral precepts (e.g. the Decalogue), which Christ confirmed and therefore were still valid. They were useful in interpreting the content of natural law. Both biblical revelation and natural law originated in God and could therefore not contradict each other.
Many exiled Remonstrants began to return to the Netherlands after the death of Prince Maurice in 1625 when toleration was granted to them. In 1630 they were allowed complete freedom to build and run churches and schools and to live anywhere in Holland. The Remonstrants guided by Uytenbogaert set up a presbyterial organization. They established a theological seminary at Amsterdam where Grotius came to teach alongside Episcopius, Limborch, Curcellaeus, and Le Clerc.
In 1634 Grotius was given the opportunity to serve as Sweden's ambassador to France. The recently deceased Swedish king, Gustavus Adolphus had been an admirer of Grotius (he was said to have always carried a copy of De jure belli ac pacis in his saddle when leading his troops). His successor's regent, Axel Oxenstierna, was keen to have Grotius in his employ. Grotius accepted the offer and took up diplomatic residence in Paris, which remained his home until he was released from his post in 1645.
While departing from his last visit to Sweden, Grotius was shipwrecked on the voyage. He washed up on the shore of Rostock, ill and weather-beaten, and on August 28, 1645, he died; his body at last returned to the country of his youth, being laid to rest in the Nieuwe Kerk in Delft.
Grotius' personal motto was Ruit hora ("Time is running away"); his last words were "By understanding many things, I have accomplished nothing" (Door veel te begrijpen, heb ik niets bereikt). Significant friends and acquaintances of his included the theologian Franciscus Junius, the poet Daniel Heinsius, the philologist Gerhard Johann Vossius, the historian Johannes Meursius, the engineer Simon Stevin, the historian Jacques Auguste de Thou, and the Orientalist and Arabic scholar Erpinius. He was also friends with the Flemish Jesuit Andreas Schottus.
Grotius was the father of regent and diplomat Pieter de Groot.
Into the very midst of all this welter of evil, at a point in time to all appearance hopeless, at a point in space apparently defenseless, in a nation of which every man, woman, and child was under sentence of death from its sovereign, was born a man who wrought as no other has ever done for a redemption of civilization from the main cause of all that misery; who thought out for Europe the precepts of right reason in international law; who made them heard; who gave a noble change to the course of human affairs; whose thoughts, reasonings, suggestions, and appeals produced an environment in which came an evolution of humanity that still continues.
In contrast, Robert A. Heinlein satirized the Grotian governmental approach to theology in Methuselah's Children: "There is an old, old story about a theologian who was asked to reconcile the doctrine of Divine Mercy with the doctrine of infant damnation. 'The Almighty,' he explained, 'finds it necessary to do things in His official and public capacity which in His private and personal capacity He deplores.'"
The Peace Palace Library in The Hague holds the Grotius Collection, which has a large number of books by and about Hugo Grotius. The collection was based on a donation from Martinus Nijhoff of 55 editions of De jure belli ac pacis libri tres.
Works are listed in order of publication, with the exception of works published posthumously or after long delay (estimated composition dates are given). Where an English translation is available, the most recently published translation is listed beneath the title.
Individual works by Grotius
9994 Grotius, provisional designation 4028 P-L, is a stony Rafita asteroid from the middle regions of the asteroid belt, approximately 3.5 kilometers in diameter. It was discovered during the Palomar–Leiden survey in 1960, and named after Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius.Abdullah Ma'ayat Shah of Johor
Sultan Abdullah Ma'ayat Shah was Sultan of Johor from 1615 to 1623.Contractualism
Contractualism is a term in philosophy which refers either to a family of political theories in the social contract tradition (when used in this sense, the term is synonymous with contractarianism), or to the ethical theory developed in recent years by T. M. Scanlon, especially in his book What We Owe to Each Other (published 1998).Social contract theorists from the history of political thought include Hugo Grotius (1625), Thomas Hobbes (1651), Samuel Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), and Immanuel Kant (1797); more recently, John Rawls (1971), David Gauthier (1986) and Philip Pettit (1997).De Groot
De Groot (pronounced [də ˈɣroːt]) is a surname of Dutch origin. It is sometimes Latinized as Grotius, as in the case of Hugo Grotius.De jure belli ac pacis
De iure belli ac pacis (English: On the Law of War and Peace) is a 1625 book in Latin, written by Hugo Grotius and published in Paris, on the legal status of war. It is now regarded as a foundational work in international law.Elselina van Houwening
Elselina van Houwening, or Elsje van Houwing (buried March 8, 1681) was the maid who helped in the escape of Hugo Grotius from Loevestein Castle in a book chest.
In 1619, when van Houwening was a maid for Hugo Grotius and Mary Reigersberch in The Hague, Grotius was accused of treason and imprisoned in Loevestein Castle. She accompanied her employer in his confinement. Together with Grotius and his wife, a plan was hatched to smuggle Grotius out of the castle in a chest meant to be filled with books. Van Houwening played an active role in the implementation of the plan. She accompanied the chest on the boat trip on the Merwede and made sure that it was delivered to a friendly address in Gorinchem.
In 1625 she married notary William Fields, who also had been employed by Grotius and had been trained by him. The couple settled in The Hague, where her husband in 1642 was an Advocate at the Hof van Holland. Van Houwening died in 1681 and was buried in her hometown on March 8 of that year.Emer de Vattel
Emer (Emmerich) de Vattel (25 April 1714 – 28 December 1767) was an international lawyer. He was born in Couvet in Neuchâtel (now Switzerland) in 1714 and died in 1767 of edema. He was largely influenced by Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius. He is most famous for his 1758 work The Law of Nations. This work was his claim to fame and won him enough prestige to be appointed as a councilor to the court of Frederick Augustus II of Saxony.English school of international relations theory
The English School of international relations theory (sometimes also referred to as liberal realism, the International Society school or the British institutionalists) maintains that there is a 'society of states' at the international level, despite the condition of anarchy (that is, the lack of a global ruler or world state). The English school stands for the conviction that ideas, rather than simply material capabilities, shape the conduct of international politics, and therefore deserve analysis and critique. In this sense it is similar to constructivism, though the English School has its roots more in world history, international law and political theory, and is more open to normative approaches than is generally the case with constructivism.Francisco de Vitoria
Francisco de Vitoria (c. 1483 – 12 August 1546; also known as Francisco de Victoria) was a Spanish Roman Catholic philosopher, theologian, and jurist of Renaissance Spain. He is the founder of the tradition in philosophy known as the School of Salamanca, noted especially for his contributions to the theory of just war and international law. He has in the past been described by some scholars as one of the "fathers of international law", along with Alberico Gentili and Hugo Grotius, though contemporary academics have suggested that such a description is anachronistic, since the concept of international law did not truly develop until much later. American jurist Arthur Nussbaum noted that Vitoria was "the first to set forth the notions (though not the terms) of freedom of commerce and freedom of the seas."Freedom of the seas
Freedom of the seas (Latin: mare liberum, lit. "free sea") is a principle in the international law and sea. It stresses freedom to navigate the oceans. It also disapproves of war fought in water. The freedom is to be breached only in a necessary international agreement.
This principle was one of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points proposed during the First World War. In his speech to the Congress, the president said:
Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants.
The United States' allies Britain and France were opposed to this point, as Great Britain was also a considerable naval power at the time. As with Wilson's other points, freedom of the seas was rejected by the German government.
Today, the concept of "freedom of the seas" can be found in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea under Article 87(1) which states: "the high seas are open to all states, whether coastal or land-locked". Article 87(1) (a) to (f) gives a non-exhaustive list of freedoms including navigation, overflight, the laying of submarine cables, building artificial islands, fishing and scientific research.Governmental theory of atonement
The governmental view of the atonement (also known as the moral government theory) is a doctrine in Christian theology concerning the meaning and effect of the death of Jesus Christ. It teaches that Christ suffered for humanity so that God could forgive humans without punishing them while still maintaining divine justice. It is traditionally taught in Arminian circles that draw primarily from the works of Hugo Grotius.Grotius Lectures
The Grotius Lectures is a series of annual lectures sponsored by the American Society of International Law since 1999. The lecture is named in honour of the famous Dutch jurist, Hugo Grotius (1583–1645), considered by many to be the 'father of international law.' Over the past decade, the lecture has been delivered by a leading international law scholar or international lawyer. The lecture is customarily read at the opening of the annual meeting of the ASIL, usually held in late March or April each year.
The American Grotius Lecture should not be confused with the annual Grotius Lecture held at the British Institute of International and Comparative Law (the successor to the Grotius Society).Grotius Society
The Grotius Society was a British society founded in 1915 during World War I. In 1958, it was dissolved on the merger with the Society of Comparative Legislation, founded in 1895, to form the British Institute of International and Comparative Law.
The society's objectives were "to afford facilities for discussion of the Laws of War and Peace, and for interchange of opinions regarding their operation, and to make suggestions for their reform, and generally to advance the study of international law." Members had to be British subjects, but the society undertook work for the International Law Association.History of international law
The history of international law examines the evolution and development of public international law in both state practice and conceptual understanding. Modern international law developed out of Renaissance Europe and is strongly entwined with the development of western political organisation at that time. The development of European notions of sovereignty and nation states would necessitate the development of methods for interstate relations and standards of behaviour, and these would lay the foundations of what would become international law. However, while the origins of the modern system of international law can be traced back 400 years, the development of the concepts and practises that would underpin that system can be traced back to ancient historical politics and relationships thousands of years old. Important concepts are derived from the practice between Greek city-states and the Roman law concept of ius gentium (which regulated contacts between Roman citizens and non-Roman people). These principles were not universal however. In East Asia, political theory was based not on the equality of states, but rather the cosmological supremacy of the Emperor of China.Loevestein Castle
Loevestein Castle (Dutch: Slot Loevestein) is a medieval castle in the municipality of Zaltbommel, Gelderland, the Netherlands.
The castle was built by the knight Dirc Loef van Horne (hence "Loef's stein" (stone) house) between 1357 and 1397. Until World War II Loevestein Castle was part of the Hollandic Water Line, the main Dutch defense line that was based on flooding an area of land south and east of the western provinces. Currently the castle is used as a medieval museum and function centre.Mare Liberum
Mare Liberum (or The Freedom of the Seas) is a book in Latin on international law written by the Dutch jurist and philosopher Hugo Grotius, first published in 1609. In The Free Sea, Grotius formulated the new principle that the sea was international territory and all nations were free to use it for seafaring trade. The disputation was directed towards the Portuguese Mare clausum policy and their claim of monopoly on the East Indian Trade. Grotius wrote the treatise while being a counsel to the Dutch East India Company over the seizing of the Santa Catarina Portuguese carrack issue.
Grotius' argument was that the sea was free to all, and that nobody had the right to deny others access to it. In chapter I, he laid out his objective, which was to demonstrate "briefly and clearly that the Dutch [...] have the right to sail to the East Indies", and, also, "to engage in trade with the people there". He then went on to describe how he based his argument on what he called the "most specific and unimpeachable axiom of the Law of Nations, called a primary rule or first principle, the spirit of which is self-evident and immutable", namely that: "Every nation is free to travel to every other nation, and to trade with it." From this premise, Grotius argued that this self-evident and immutable right to travel and to trade required (1) a right of innocent passage over land, and (2) a similar right of innocent passage at sea. The sea, however, was more like air than land, and was, as opposed to land, common property of all:
The air belongs to this class of things for two reasons. First, it is not susceptible of occupation; and second its common use is destined for all men. For the same reasons the sea is common to all, because it is so limitless that it cannot become a possession of any one, and because it is adapted for the use of all, whether we consider it from the point of view of navigation or of fisheries.
Mare Liberum was published by Elzevier in the spring of 1609. It has been translated into English twice. The first translation was by Richard Hakluyt, and was completed some time between the publication of Mare Liberum in 1609 and Hakluyt's death in 1616. However, Hakluyt's translation was only published for the first time in 2004 under the title The Free Sea as part of Liberty Fund's "Natural Law and Enlightenment Classics" series. The second translation was by Ralph Van Deman Magoffin, associate professor of Greek and Roman History at Johns Hopkins University. This translation was a part of a debate on free shipping during the First World War, and was published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Oxford University Press in 1916 as The Freedom of the Seas, Or, The Right Which Belongs to the Dutch to Take Part in the East Indian Trade.Ordinum Hollandiae ac Westfrisiae pietas
Ordinum Hollandiae ac Westfrisiae pietas (The Piety of the States of Holland and Westfriesland) is a 1613 book on church polity by Hugo Grotius. It was the first publication of Grotius, a prominent jurist and Remonstrant, concerned with the Calvinist-Arminian debate and its ramifications, a major factor in the politics of the Netherlands in the 1610s. The Ordinum pietas, as it is known for short, gave a commentary on the Five Articles of Remonstrance of 1610 that were the legacy of the theological views of Jacobus Arminius, who died in 1609.Santa Catarina (ship)
Santa Catarina was a Portuguese merchant ship, a 1500-ton carrack, that was seized by the Dutch East India Company (also known as V.O.C) during February 1603 off Singapore. She was such a rich prize that her sale proceeds increased the capital of the V.O.C by more than 50%. From the large amounts of Ming Chinese porcelain captured in this ship, Chinese pottery became known in Holland as Kraakporselein, or "carrack-porcelain" for many years.Social contract
In moral and political philosophy, the social contract is a theory or model that originated during the Age of Enlightenment and usually concerns the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.Social contract arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority (of the ruler, or to the decision of a majority) in exchange for protection of their remaining rights (or maintenance of social organization/ social order or as cooperation.
The relation between natural and legal rights is often a topic of social contract theory. The term takes its name from The Social Contract (French: Du contrat social ou Principes du droit politique), a 1762 book by Jean-Jacques Rousseau that discussed this concept. Although the antecedents of social contract theory are found in antiquity, in Greek and Stoic philosophy and Roman and Canon Law, the heyday of the social contract was the mid-17th to early 19th centuries, when it emerged as the leading doctrine of political legitimacy.
The starting point for most social contract theories is an examination of the human condition absent of any political order (termed the "state of nature" by Thomas Hobbes ). In this condition, individuals' actions are bound only by their personal power and conscience. From this shared starting point, social contract theorists seek to demonstrate why a rational individual would voluntarily consent to give up their natural freedom to obtain the benefits of political order.
Prominent of 17th- and 18th-century theorists of social contract and natural rights include Hugo Grotius (1625), Thomas Hobbes (1651), Samuel von Pufendorf (1673), John Locke (1689), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1762), and Immanuel Kant (1797), each approaching the concept of political authority differently.
Grotius posited that individual humans had natural rights. Thomas Hobbes famously said that in a "state of nature", human life would be "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short". In the absence of political order and law, everyone would have unlimited natural freedoms, including the "right to all things" and thus the freedom to plunder, rape, and murder; there would be an endless "war of all against all" (bellum omnium contra omnes). To avoid this, free men contract with each other to establish political community (civil society) through a social contract in which they all gain security in return for subjecting themselves to an absolute sovereign, one man or an assembly of men. Though the sovereign's edicts may well be arbitrary and tyrannical, Hobbes saw absolute government as the only alternative to the terrifying anarchy of a state of nature. Hobbes asserted that humans consent to abdicate their rights in favor of the absolute authority of government (whether monarchical or parliamentary). Pufendorf disputed Hobbes's equation of a state of nature with war. Alternatively, John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that we gain civil rights in return for accepting the obligation to respect and defend the rights of others, giving up some freedoms to do so.
The central assertion that social contract theory approaches is that law and political order are not natural, but human creations. The social contract and the political order it creates are simply the means towards an end—the benefit of the individuals involved—and legitimate only to the extent that they fulfill their part of the agreement. Hobbes argued that government is not a party to the original contract and citizens are not obligated to submit to the government when it is too weak to act effectively to suppress factionalism and civil unrest. According to other social contract theorists, when the government fails to secure their natural rights (Locke) or satisfy the best interests of society (called the "general will" in Rousseau), citizens can withdraw their obligation to obey, or change the leadership through elections or other means including, when necessary, violence.
Locke believed that natural rights were inalienable, and therefore the rule of God superseded government authority, while Rousseau believed that democracy (self-rule) was the best way to ensure welfare while maintaining individual freedom under the rule of law. The Lockean concept of the social contract was invoked in the United States Declaration of Independence. Social contract theories were eclipsed in the 19th century in favor of utilitarianism, Hegelianism, and Marxism, and were revived in the 20th century, notably in the form of a thought experiment by John Rawls.