Grotius, Hugo

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Grotius, Hugo

Hugo Grotius.

Hugo Grotius, also known as Huigh de Groot, achieved prominence as a Dutch jurist and statesman and is regarded as the originator of International Law.

Grotius was born April 10, 1583, in Delft, Netherlands. A brilliant student, Grotius attended the University of Leiden, received a law degree at the age of fifteen, and was admitted to the bar and began his legal practice at Delft in 1599. It was at this time that he became interested in international law, and, in 1609, wrote a preliminary piece titled Mare liberum, which advocated freedom of the seas to all countries.

In 1615, Grotius became involved in a religious controversy between two opposing groups, the Remonstrants, Dutch Protestants who abandoned Calvinism to follow the precepts of their leader, Jacobus Arminius, and the Anti-Remonstrants, who adhered to the beliefs of Calvinism. The dispute extended to politics, and when Maurice of Nassau gained control of the government, the Remonstrants lost popular support. Grotius, a supporter of the Remonstrants, was imprisoned in 1619. Two years later he escaped, seeking safety in Paris.

In Paris, Grotius began his legal writing, and, in 1625, produced De jure belli ac pacis, translated as "Concerning the Law of War and Peace." This work is regarded as the first official text of the principles of international law, wherein Grotius maintained that Natural Law is the basis for legislation for countries as well as individuals. He opposed war in all but extreme cases and advocated respect for life and the ownership of property. The main sources for his theories were the Bible and history.

"What the consent of all men makes known as their will is law."
—Hugo Grotius

Grotius spent the remainder of his years in diplomatic and theological endeavors. From 1635 to 1645, he represented Queen Christina of Sweden as her ambassador to France. He pursued his religious interests and wrote several theological works. Grotius died August 28, 1645, in Rostock, Germany.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Burlamaqui and Vattel clearly indicate, and Grotius strongly implies,
(1642) La Bibliographiepolitique du Sieur Naude contenant la methodepour estudier la Politique, avec une lettre de Monsieur Grotius & l'Extrait d'une autre du Sieur Hamel sur le mesme subiet, Paris: Vve.
Brett examines the fluctuating boundaries between the human and natural as they occur in controversies: over the definition of natural law, including its relation to ius gentium; over natural liberty in regard to civil liberty and natural right--the latter emphasized particularly by Grotius and Hobbes; over the founding of states in terms of the competing narratives of the form of the commonwealth as "unity" or "order" (evinced in debates over the state as a body politic or head of the body); over the state's relation not simply to the bodies but to the lives of its subjects; over the question of how far the state's jurisdiction extends to travellers of various sorts; and finally, over the city's "natural place," for example, as framed by the sea.
As Bown asserts, it is true that the treaty inspired Hugo Grotius to argue, in his Mare Liberum [1609], in favor of freedom of navigation and thus launched a philosophical and legal debate over this issue that continues to the present day.
The legacy of Spanish thought in the realm of law finds a new home in the work of Grotius. This point seems to have drawn the attention of a number of legal scholars during the first half of the twentieth century.
Hugo Grotius, the Portuguese and free trade in the East Indies
Hugo Grotius, whose seminal works of the early seventeenth century also champion private property, sought to develop a largely secular conception of natural law.