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The Co-creation of Imperial Logic in South American Legal History

In: Journal of the History of International Law / Revue d'histoire du droit international
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  • 1 Researcher, History Department, Pontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
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Abstract

This study is part of the current trend of expanding ‘histories of international law’. From a regional perspective, I analyse not just the South American dimension of the process known as the ‘universalization of international law science’, but also focus on the ‘ideological use’ of ius gentium europaeum in the debate on the occupation of indigenous territories governing by the nation Mapuche in the south of Chile (1861–1883) and then the discussion on the legitimacy of the Saltpeter War between Chile and the Bolivian-Peruvian Alliance (1879–1884). I argue that the Chilean national legal discourse applied a core argument of nineteenth-century international law to legitimize its foreign policy in those conflicts: ‘the standard of civilization’. Thus, it is possible to speak about a domestic recreation of imperial logic as part of the globalization of the European law of nations in the nineteenth century.

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