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Hugo Grotius on the Law of War and Peace


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Table of Contents

Introduction; On the Law of War and Peace: prologue; Book I: 1. What is war? What is law?; 2. Whether it is ever lawful to wage war; 3. Distinction between public and private war, explanation of sovereignty (Summi imperii); 4. War of subjects against superiors; Book II: 1. The causes of war: first, defence of self and property; 2. Of things which belong to men in common; 3. Of original acquisitions of things, with special reference to the sea and rivers; 4. On assumed abandonment of ownership and occupation consequent thereon, and wherein this differs from ownership by usucaption and by prescription; 5. On the original acquisition of rights over persons. Herein are treated the rights of parents, marriage, associations, and the rights over subjects and slaves; 6. On secondary acquisition of property by the act of man, also, alienation of sovereignty and of the attributes of sovereignty; 7. On derivative acquisition of property which takes place in accordance with law, and herein, intestate succession; 8. On acquisitions commonly said to be by the law of nations; 9. When sovereignty or ownership ceases; 10. On the obligation which arises from ownership; 11. On promises; 12. On contracts; 13. On oaths; 14. On promises, contracts, and oaths of those who hold sovereign power; 15. On treaties and sponsions; 16. On interpretation; 17. On damage caused through injury, and the obligation arising therefrom; 18. On the right of legation; 19. On the right of sepulchre; 20. On punishments; 21. On the sharing of punishments; 22. On unjust causes of wars; 23. On doubtful causes of wars; 24. Warnings not to undertake war rashly, even for just causes; 25. On the causes of undertaking war on behalf of others; 26. On just causes for war waged by those who are under the rule of another; Book III: 1. General rules from the law of nature regarding what is permissible in war, with a consideration of ruses and falsehood; 2. How by the law of nations the goods of subjects may be held for the debt of their rulers, and therein, on reprisals; 3. On war that is lawful or public according to the law of nations, and therein, on the declaration of war; 4. On the right of killing enemies in a public war, and on other violence against the person; 5. Of devastation and pillage; 6. On the right of acquiring things taken in war; 7. On the right over prisoners of war; 8. On the right to rule over the conquered; 9. On postliminy; 10. Cautions in regard to things which are done in an unlawful war; 11. Moderation with respect to the right of killing in a lawful war; 12. Moderation in laying waste and similar things; 13. Moderation in regard to captured property; 14. Moderation in regard to prisoners of war; 15. Moderation in the acquisition of sovereignty; 16. Moderation in regard to those things which by the law of nations have not the right of postliminy; 17. On those who are of neither side in war; 18. On acts done by individuals in a public war; 19. On good faith between enemies; 20. On the good faith of states, by which war is ended, also on the working of peace treaties, on decision by lot, on combat by agreements, on arbitration, surrender, hostages and pledges; 21. On good faith during war, herein also concerning a truce, the right of safe-conduct, and the ransom of prisoners; 22. On the good faith of subordinate powers in war; 23. On good faith of private persons in war; 24. On implied good faith; 25. Conclusion, with admonitions on behalf of good faith and peace.

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An edited and annotated edition of one of the classic works of Western legal and political thought.

About the Author

Stephen C. Neff is a Reader in Public International Law at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh. His subject area is the history of public international law.


'Neff's new student edition offers an excellent balance between authenticity, affordability and access to the original text.' Christopher J. Finlay, International Affairs

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