Unequal treaties have become synonymous with the imperial practice of Western states in East Asia during the nineteenth century. They have also become a popular subject of study for historians of international law. A neglected feature of the history of unequal treaties is the way they were used and theorised upon as instruments of informal empire before the nineteenth century, in the early-modern age. Hugo Grotius in particular wrote extensively on unequal treaties and alliances through his familiarity with the Dutch East India Company’s exploits in the East Indies, where the conclusion of treaties with indigenous rulers formed the cornerstone of Dutch imperialism. This article delves into the early-modern roots of unequal alliances and discusses how the Grotian analysis of unequal alliances influenced other authors of the classic law of nations.
The gap between theory and practice in international law (1810–1900)
Inge Van Hulle
This paper seeks to illustrate the major role, which the introduction by Britain of three types of recognition, i.e. de facto, diplomatic and de iure recognition has played in the development of the modern declaratory and constitutive theories of recognition. Through an analysis of historical context, state practice and theories of the nineteenth-century doctrine of recognition, this paper shows that, while the development by Britain of its specific concept of recognition was inspired by Realpolitik, and less by legal considerations as to what the exact function of recognition by third states was, the use of the concept of recognition in the case of Spanish America was increasingly appropriated into a positivist and constitutive approach.
From the Public Law of Europe to Global International Law?
Edited by Inge Van Hulle and Randall C.H. Lesaffer
Three themes are explored: ‘international law and revolutions’ which reappraises the revolutionary period as crucial to understanding the dynamics of international order and law in the nineteenth century. In ‘law and empire’, the traditional subject of nineteenth-century imperialism is tackled from the perspective of both theory and practice. Finally, ‘the rise of modern international law’, covers less familiar aspects of the formation of modern international law as a self-standing discipline.
Contributors are: Camilla Boisen, Raphaël Cahen, James Crawford, Ana Delic, Frederik Dhondt, Andrew Fitzmaurice, Vincent Genin, Viktorija Jakjimovska, Stefan Kroll, Randall Lesaffer, and Inge Van Hulle.