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date: 24 September 2017

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines Henry Wheaton’s life and career. Henry Wheaton emerged as an authoritative figure in international law with the publication of Elements of International Law in 1836. Within a couple of decades after the first edition, this book began to eclipse major competing works and was adopted as the foremost modern text of international law in the diplomatic establishments of the United States, Britain, France, and other European countries. It was the first English-language treatise on international law. Wheaton regards public international law as an ‘imperfect’ positive law due to the indeterminateness of its precepts, and the lack of the political power of the State and a judicial authority competent to enforce the law. He adds that the universalism of international law and its efficacy are thus grounded on the progress of civilization peculiar to Christendom.

Keywords: international law, International Law, Henry Wheaton, Christianity

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