1st Edition

War, the State and International Law in Seventeenth-Century Europe

By Olaf Asbach, Peter Schröder Copyright 2010

    One of the great paradoxes of post-medieval Europe, is why instead of bringing peace to a disorganised and violent world, modernity instead produced a seemingly endless string of conflicts and social upheavals. Why was it that the foundation and institutionalisation of secured peace and the rule of law seemed to go hand-in-hand with the proliferation of war and the violation of individual and collective rights? In order to try to better understand such profound questions, this volume explores the history and theories of political thought of international relations in the seventeenth century, a period in which many of the defining features and boundaries of modern Europe where fixed and codified. With the discovery of the New World, and the fundamental impact of the Reformation, the complexity of international relations increased considerably. Reactions to these upheavals resulted in a range of responses intended to address the contradictions and conflicts of the anarchical society of states. Alongside the emergence of "modern" international law, the equation of international relations with the state of nature, and the development of the "balance of power", diplomatic procedures and commercial customs arose which shaped the emerging (and current) international system of states. Employing a multidisciplinary approach to address these issues, this volume brings together political scientists, philosophers, historians of political thought, jurists and scholars of international relations. What emerges is a certain tension between the different strands of research which allows for a fruitful new synthesis. In this respect the assembled essays in this volume offer a sophisticated and fresh account of the interactions of law, conflict and the nation state in an early-modern European context.

    Part I Introduction: War the state and international law in 17th century Europe, Olaf Asbach and Peter SchrA der. Part II Modern State and War - an Internal Nexus?: Wars of states or wars of state-formation?, Johannes Burkhardt; Revisiting the 'war-makes-states' thesis: war, taxation and social property relations in early modern Europe, Benno Teschke. Part III Modern Law of Nations - from Spanish Scholastics to Grotius: The law of nations and the doctrine of terra nullius, David Boucher; Taming the fox and the lion - some aspects of the 16th century's debate on inter-state relations, Peter SchrA der; War, diplomacy and ethics of self-constraint in the age of Grotius, Harald Kleinschmidt; Liquefied sanctity: Grotius and the promise of global law, Bertram Keller. Part IV State and International Relations - from Machiavelli to Hobbes: The anatomy of power in international relations: the doctrine of reason of state as a 'realistic' impact, Peter Nitschke; Security as a norm in Hobbes's theory of war: a critique of Carl Schmitt's interpretation of Hobbes's approach to international relations, Luc Foisneau; Hobbes on the concepts of the state and political sovereignty, Christine Chwaszcza. Part V War and State in the Expanding European State System: Peace impossible? The Holy Roman Empire and the European state system in the 17th century, Christoph Kampmann; Hegemon history: Pufendorf's shifting perspectives on France and French power, David Saunders; Colonial design in European international law of the 17th century, Andrea Weindl. Part VI Conclusions and Perspectives: Dynamics of conflict and illusions of law: making war and thinking peace in the modern international system, Olaf Asbach; Index.


    Olaf Asbach, University of Hamburg, Germany; and Peter Schröder, University College London, UK