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America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939$
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Mark Weston Janis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579341

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579341.001.0001

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Holmes: International Law and American Federalism

Holmes: International Law and American Federalism

(p.176) 10 Holmes: International Law and American Federalism
America and the Law of Nations 1776-1939

Mark Weston Janis

Oxford University Press

We have already met American federalism. States rights and slavery, our ‘peculiar institution,’ tore the Union apart in the 19th century, and engendered an intellectual and legal battle over the proper role of international and foreign law in US law. After the Civil War, states' rights and American exceptionalism, still largely about race relations, again prompted a fierce debate about the appropriate impact of international and foreign law on US law. This chapter returns to the theme with Missouri v Holland, a still controversial decision of the Supreme Court rendered in 1920. Just at the time when Wilson's League of Nations was dividing Americans pro and con on the wisdom of relying on international law and institutions in US foreign affairs, Missouri divided them about employing international law in our domestic law.

Keywords:   international law, Missouri v Holland, American federalism, domestic law, federalism

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