Sovereignty of States in Theory. Universalist and Nationalist Conceptions

  • Marek St. Korowicz


For the purpose of these introductory remarks, until the further course of the present study will permit the determination of the notion of sovereignty in a more detailed and precise manner, the following definition is submitted thereof: Sovereignty of a State is its supreme power over its territory and inhabitants, as well as its independence of any external authority.


International Relation Absolute Power State Sovereignty Sovereign Power Xviii Century 
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  1. 1.
    Sir John Fisher Williams, Aspects of Modern International Law, Oxford 1939 p. 29.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Liber autem populus est qui nullius alterius populi potestati est subiectus. Digest, XLIX, 15, 7, I. Grotius accepted and quoted this definition in De Lure Belli ac Pacis, 1625, lib. I, c. 2 par. 21.Google Scholar
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    Ibidem, p. 87; other examples pp. 88 ff.; see for further examples in the field: Wiktor Sukiennicki, La Souveraineté des Etats en Droit International Moderne, Paris 1927; E. N. van Kleffens, “Sovereignty in International Law,” Hague Rec., vol. 82, 1953.Google Scholar
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    Quoted in French by Redslob, op. cit., p. 223.Google Scholar
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    For generations of lawyers and statesmen Vattel’s book was an appreciated desk encyclopedia of international law. Prof. Jessup gives us in this connection an interesting fact that George Washington borrowed a copy of Vattel’s book from the New York Library on October 5, 1789. Cf. Proceedings of the ASIL, Washington 1955, p. 5.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Victor Basch, Les Doctrines politiques de philosophes classiques de l’Allemagne, Paris 1927; Xavier Léon, Fichte et son temps, Paris, 3 vols., 1922–1927; see: Frederick Hertz, Nationality in History and Politics, London 1951, pp. 336 ff.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Hertz, op. cit., p. 340; in his book on the perfect State, published in 1800, Fichte believes that a State, before secluding itself, should occupy a sufficient territory within natural frontiers, and then give solemn assurance to all governments that it would not strive for further expansion, and take no part in any war. Hertz, ibidem, p. 337. This sounds like Hitler’s assurances after every conquest in 1938/39.Google Scholar
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    Quoted by Redslob, Histoire..., op. cit.,p. 433. This declaration contradicts the Protocol of London of January 17, 1871 which prohibits the unilateral annulment of international obligations; Germany was one of its signatories.Google Scholar
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  35. 3.
    Notwehr and Neutralität, Berlin 1914. The American Institute of International Law, in its Declaration of Rights and Duties of Nations, of January 6, 1916, p. I, rejects categorically this alleged “law of necessity,” affirming that “the right to conserve the State’s own existence neither implies the right nor justifies the act of the State to protect itself or to conserve its existence by the commission of unlawful acts against innocent and unoffending States.” Carnegie, Washington 1916.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1959

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marek St. Korowicz
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Fletcher School of Law and DiplomacyUSA
  2. 2.University of CracowPoland

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