The concept of sovereignty and its relation to natural law in Hugo Grotius' De jure belli ac pacis

Leamon, Rosalind Luanne (1982) The concept of sovereignty and its relation to natural law in Hugo Grotius' De jure belli ac pacis. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

The concept of sovereignty influences every problem in legal philosophy. As the modern doctrine of a determinate authority within the state, it has its origin in the sixteenth century. At the time of the rise of powerful post-Reformation states, and the destruction of the unity of Christendom, Grotius propounded a theory of sovereignty based on a doctrine of natural law independent of the will of God, and deriving its existence from the nature of man as a rational being who seeks a society consonant with his intelligence. Reason provided the basis for justice in the state and justice among states, both in peace and in war. -- It is the purpose of this work to analyse the concept of sovereignty in Grotius’ book De Jure Belli ac Pacis. It is argued that the concept, when denoting the legally supreme will within the state, means something different than when it denotes the sovereign state, externally considered, in its relation to other states. The difference is explored chiefly by using the doctrine of rebellion to explain the nature of sovereign authority within the state; and doctrine of the just war to explain the nature of the sovereignty of states. These divisions correspond to the second and third chapters of the work respectively, and form the main body of the study. Special attention is given to the role of the individual in the two orders (internal and external), and it is argued that the degree of freedom accorded the individual in each of the orders constitutes an inconsistency in Grotian theory. -- It is concluded that sovereignty internally considered, and sovereignty externally considered, although of necessity, different in form (the first being defined by will, the second by consent) derive their content and meaning, and their force of obligation, from the same source in Grotian theory, the nature of man. Hence, the doctrine of sovereignty is rendered coherent by its foundation in the law of nature. The discussion is aided by an exploration, in the first chapter, of Grotius’ method, his concept of sociability, and his scheme of laws and their relation to each other. Also, some problems with sovereignty itself, including the absence of an institutional sanction, are examined.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/5732
Item ID: 5732
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 133-137.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Philosophy
Date: 1982
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Grotius, Hugo, 1583-1645. De jure belli ac pacis libri tres; Sovereignty; Law--Philosophy

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