James Bryce, also known as the Viscount Bryce of Dechmont, was born May 10, 1838, in Belfast, Ireland. He attended Glasgow and Heidelberg Universities and received a bachelor of arts degree from Oxford University in 1862.
Bryce entered Parliament in 1880 and remained a member until 1907. During this time, he also performed diplomatic duties—serving as undersecretary of foreign affairs in 1886 and chief secretary for Ireland from 1905 to 1906. From 1907 to 1913, he acted as ambassador to the United States.
In 1913, Bryce participated at the Hague Tribunal, the international court of Arbitration established in the Netherlands. After World War I, he was active in the formation of the League of Nations. Bryce gained fame for his numerous publications, including The Holy Roman Empire: The American Commonwealth, which was published in 1888 and was an important work concerning American government; and Modern Democracies, published in 1921.
He died January 22, 1922, in Sidmouth, Devonshire, England.