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8 The Ruling of the Modern World (1815-1905)

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Chapter Summary

The 19th century has been charged with a multitude of sins. The energies of that era created a jumble of almost totally incompatible ideologies, each of which was to generate its own kind of commitment, to the level of "overexpectation". Most European international lawyers today are conflicted over the contributions of the late 19th century to the development of an international legal science. On the one hand, it nurtured a system of law that offered a high degree of consistency with the distant past: a respect for continuity and a solid normative framework for the maintenance of order among the holders of sovereignty status. On the other hand, classical international law became increasingly detached from the mainstream of reformist thought. In the early 19th century, their greatest achievement was in persuading governments to abandon the slave trade, and later in denouncing the retention of slave communities.

Keywords:international law; international lawyers; international legal science; modern world; slave trade; sovereignty status; system of law



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