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The Puritan CosmopolisThe Law of Nations and the Early American Imagination$
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Nan Goodman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190642822

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190642822.001.0001

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The Law of Nations and the Sources of the Cosmopolis

The Law of Nations and the Sources of the Cosmopolis

(p.25) { 1 } The Law of Nations and the Sources of the Cosmopolis
The Puritan Cosmopolis

Nan Goodman

Oxford University Press

The Puritans’ cosmopolitan thought in late seventeenth-century New England had its source in the cosmopolitanism of a law of nations that was as much about the world as a whole as it was about the nation-state it later came to epitomize. With the nation-state not yet a consolidated entity, the seventeenth-century law of nations was far more open-ended than the international law to which it gave rise more than a century later. In the absence of a fixed idea of sovereignty, the law of nations was able to articulate multiple historical possibilities for social, political, and legal communities, one of which—the cosmopolitan—is fundamental. The cosmopolis emerges as a central part of the intellectual project of the law of nations put forth by the Protestant thinkers Alberico Gentili, Hugo Grotius, and John Selden, with the main features of the law recast as the building blocks of the cosmopolis.

Keywords:   Alberico Gentili, John Selden, Hugo Grotius, law of nations, nation-state

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