The Law of Nations

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The Law of Nations
Vattel - Le droit des gens, 1775 - 446.tiff
Cover page
Author Emerich de Vattel
Country Switzerland
Language French
Genre International Law
Publication date
1758
Published in English
1760

The Law of Nations: Or, Principles of the Law of Nature Applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (French: Le droit des gens) is a legal treatise on International Law by Emerich de Vattel, published in 1758.[1]

Summary[edit]

The Law of Nations is founded on the Treaties and Customary (common) Law of the modern nations of Europe. With a list of the principal Treaties, concluded since the year 1748 down to the present time, indicating the works in which they are to be found by Mr. Martens. The book was translated from the French by William Cobbett. [2]

Synopsis[edit]

The Law of Nations has been said to have modernized the entire practice of international law.

Influence[edit]

Centuries after his death it was found that United States President George Washington had a number of overdue library books dating back over 221 years. One of them was The Law of Nations.[3][4]

Swiss editor Charles W.F. Dumas sent Benjamin Franklin three original French copies of the book. Franklin presented one copy to the Library Company of Philadelphia. On December 9, 1775, Franklin thanked Dumas:[5][6]

It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising State make it necessary to frequently consult the Law of Nations.

Franklin also said that this book by Vattel, "has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress now sitting".[7][8]

It provides at least a partial legal basis for modern conscription in the United States.[9] In the Selective Draft Law Cases (1918), upholding the Selective Service Act of 1917, the court stated:

It may not be doubted that the very conception of a just government and its duty to the citizen includes the reciprocal obligation of the citizen to render military service in case of need, and the right to compel it. Vattel, Law of Nations, book III, cc. 1 and 2. To do more than state the proposition is absolutely unnecessary in view of the practical illustration afforded by the almost universal legislation to that effect now in force.

English editions[edit]

Vattel’s Law of Nations was translated into English in 1760, based on the French original of 1758. A Dublin translation of 1787 does not include notes from the original nor posthumous notes added to the 1773 French edition. Several other English editions were based on the edition of 1760. However, an English edition from 1793 includes Vattel’s later thoughts, as did the London 1797 edition. The 1797 edition has a detailed table of contents and margin titles for subsections.[10]

Footnotes[edit]

External links[edit]

http://kingdom-hawaii.org/lawintro.html