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The VOC, Corporate Sovereignty And The Republican Sub-Text Of De Iure Praedae

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses some of the ways in which De iure praedae may be understood to constitute a republican text. On close examination, a republican sub-text is detectible through the author's treatment of the discursive object of the text, the Dutch East India Company (VOC), a corporate body. By attempting to legitimate the VOC's natural right to wage just war, Hugo Grotius invests a private entity with a public mark of sovereignty. This investiture of a non-state actor with public international legal personality forces a careful reappraisal of two central characteristics of seventeenth-century republican thought: the divisibility of sovereignty, and the fluid demarcation between the 'public' and the 'private' spheres. The chapter concludes that the VOC may be accurately denoted a 'corporate sovereign', an entity whose legal personality is derived from the corporatist principles that underlined early republican and federalist theory.

Keywords: Corporate Sovereignty; Dutch East India Company (VOC); Hugo Grotius

10.1163/ej.9789004175136.i-422.90
/content/books/10.1163/ej.9789004175136.i-422.90
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