International Legal Grounds for State Sovereignty

  • Douglas Howland


International law in the nineteenth century was an assemblage of multiple forms of law: the natural law of nations (the “natural” inclusion of all polities as well as state will and self-defense in warfare), the legal positivism of multilateral treaties, and the novelty of international administrative law. Under a regime of unfair treaties, Japan was forced into European international society in the 1850s, and the new Meiji state after 1867 proceeded to westernize, to industrialize, and to internationalize. Contrary to versions of history promoted by legal positivism, the English School of international relations, and the fitfulness of treaty revision conferences, Japan was neither victim nor fool but engaged all three forms of international law as it asserted its sovereignty and achieved parity with the great powers.


Nineteenth Century Sovereign State State Sovereignty Global Order Legal Positivism 
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© Douglas Howland 2016

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