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International Law

International Law (5th edn)

Malcolm Evans
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date: 21 July 2024

p. 3A Short History of International Lawlocked

p. 3A Short History of International Lawlocked

  • Stephen C Neff


This chapter presents a brief history of international law. It proceeds chronologically, beginning with an overview of the ancient world, followed by a more detailed discussion of the great era of natural law in the European Middle Ages. The classical period (1600–1815) witnessed the emergence of a dualistic view of international law, with the law of nature and the law of nations co-existing (more or less amicably). In the nineteenth century—the least-known part of international law—doctrinaire positivism was the prevailing viewpoint, though not the exclusive one. For the inter-war years, developments both inside and outside the League of Nations are considered. The chapter concludes with some historically oriented comments on international law during the post-1945 period.

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