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Vattel's Law of Nations: Diplomatic Casuistry for the Protestant Nation

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This paper argues that Vattel's Droit des gens cannot be adequately interpreted as based on a philosophical principle, whether of universal justice or of raison d'état. Rather, Vattel unfolds his law of nations within a casuistical discourse where inconsistent principles are deployed strategically. This forms an ethical space in which universal justice can be continuously adapted to the exigencies of national self-interest as interpreted by the diplomat of a Protestant republican nation.


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