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International Legitimacy and World Society$
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Ian Clark

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297009.001.0001

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The Hague and the Public Conscience, 1899–1907

The Hague and the Public Conscience, 1899–1907

(p.61) 3 The Hague and the Public Conscience, 1899–1907
International Legitimacy and World Society

Ian Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Unlike the other cases, the two conferences held at The Hague are not normally identified with a single normative principle. Nonetheless, the meetings were characterized by a great emphasis upon humanitarian concerns, and also upon the need for the acts of state representatives to be endorsed by a wider public. This was best captured by the language of the ‘public conscience’ employed during the conference and embodied in the famous Martens clause. The first conference was held in response to the Imperial Rescript of Tsar Nicholas II, and the subject matter covered disarmament, the laws of war, and international arbitration. The meetings were the subject of major attention from a variety of popular pressure groups, much of it orchestrated by the international peace movement, and publicists such as W. T. Stead. The long term significance, however, lay in the idea that there was a wider public constituency to which international legitimacy principles had to appeal.

Keywords:   arbitration, Hague conferences, Imperial Rescript, laws of war, legitimacy, Martens clause, Tsar Nicholas II, peace movement, W. T. Stead

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