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date: 23 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers how the modern historiography of international law has ascribed pride of place to the jurisprudence of the law of nature and nations of the Early Modern Age. Whereas the writers from this period have had a significant influence on nineteenth-century international law, their utility as a historical source has been far overrated. The development of the law of nations in that period was much more informed by State practice than historians have commonly credited. Moreover, historiography has overestimated the novelty of the contribution of Early Modern jurisprudence and has almost cast its major historical source of inspiration into oblivion: the late medieval jurisprudence of canon and Roman law. It is thus important to restore medieval jurisprudence to its rightful place in the grand narrative of the evolution of international law.

Keywords: 1815 to World War I, Choice of law, General principles of international law

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