Often called “the father of international law,” Hugo Grotius (known in the vernacular as Hugo de Groot) (1583–1645) was a highly prominent and influential European lawyer and diplomat active in the first half of the seventeenth century. In his major works, Grotius sought to identify and advocate for principles that, if adopted, would promote tolerance and peace. Grotius utilized a natural law approach, leading him to espouse the centrality of states and the use of fundamental principles in resolving international conflict.
This was a period of considerable political and religious strife in Europe, including the Eighty Years’ War (1568–1648) for Dutch independence, and the highly destructive Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648) between Catholic and Protestant regions of Europe. In addition to religious conflict, nations competed fiercely for trade opportunities and colonial expansion. Not surprisingly in such a context, Grotius is best known for his theological works, including De veritate...
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