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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the origins of the disciplines of international and comparative law in nineteenth-century Europe. It charts in broad terms the emergence of comparative studies of law in France, Germany, Britain, and elsewhere among jurists and scholars who sought to deploy the language of law in the service of both universal and domestic ‘civilization’. In an age of rapid societal, economic, constitutional, and technological change, a progressive spirit of development of the law in all its dimensions thrived in a constant intercourse between the national, colonial, and international legal spheres of thought. Later in the century, various specialized branches of cosmopolitan legal studies including international law and comparative law branched off to their own academic and institutional fields. These nonetheless continued to share many ideas about universal justice, the liberal ideals, the role of Europe in the world, and other matters.

Keywords: international law, comparative law, nineteenth century, colonial law, Institute of international law, civilization, cosmopolitanism, historical school, eurocentrism

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