Author: Emile Simpson

In this article I set out Hugo Grotius’s account of sovereign entities in the De Iure Belli ac Pacis (The Rights of War and Peace, 1625). In so doing, I seek to challenge a claim not uncommonly encountered in the recent historiography of the work, namely, that Grotius had no account of the state therein. In challenging that claim, I will make a further claim that while Grotius did have an account of the state, it was only one of two forms of sovereign entity, the other being the patrimonial kingdom. While this last claim is occasionally encountered in terms of a distinction between forms of government, I go further, on the basis that the distinction identifies a fundamental conceptual difference between free and unfree nations, which speaks not only to the form of government, but to the nature of the sovereign entity itself. Furthermore, it is my contention that through the patrimonial kingdom, Grotius was able to account for empire.

In: Grotiana