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System, Order, and International LawThe Early History of International Legal Thought from Machiavelli to Hegel$
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Stefan Kadelbach, Thomas Kleinlein, and David Roth-Isigkeit

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198768586

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198768586.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 December 2021

The Law of the Nations as the Civil Law of the World

The Law of the Nations as the Civil Law of the World

On Montesquieu’s Political Cosmopolitanism

(p.240) 12 The Law of the Nations as the Civil Law of the World
System, Order, and International Law

Christian Volk

Oxford University Press

This chapter points out that Montesquieu argues in favour of a specific kind of political cosmopolitanism. For him, the law of nations appears as the civil law of the whole world. Essentially, it can be said that Montesquieu conceives of a law of nations that attempts to avert both the exploitation of other communities and also slavery. At the same time, however, he is not concerned with equating the law of nations with global ethics, or with establishing morally substantial yet politically ineffective obligatory requirements. Montesquieu tries to remain a political thinker who assumes the reality of individual state interests, but who wishes to integrate these in an international legal order that represents more than the consensus between states.

Keywords:   Montesquieu, cosmopolitanism, responsibility, Republicanism, conquest, law of nations, imperialism, humanity

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