The Legacy of Vattel’s Droit des gens: Contexts, Concepts, Reception, Translation and Diffusion
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This chapter provides an outline of the various dimensions of Vattel’s influence on different topics, through different channels, in geographical and linguistic areas and on academic disciplines. The name Vattel has been a byword for different doctrinal positions in international law, political thought as well as in International Relations and this is how his legacy has so far tended to be understood. This chapter proposes a historical and methodological reassessment of the most common associations and the, at times, opposed (mis)understandings of Vattel’s ideas. Starting from a biographical sketch of Vattel’s own contexts, his early publications and diplomatic career, it explains how some of his central concepts became carriers of other notions in the complex and enduring reception history of the Droit des gens. This introductory chapter also sets the scene and provides a framework within which the contributions to the topic of Vattel’s legacy provided in the other chapters of the book are placed.