The common law of nations : the ius gentium in the political thought of Francisco Suárez, S.J.

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Francisco Suárez preserved and refined the classical notion of ius gentium for modernity. According to Suárez, the law of nations consisted in mutually recognized norms that govern international conduct in war and peace, bearing legal status as customary standards. As such, the ius gentium offered a tenable basis for international order in a post-Christendom world, becoming the foundation for international relations in the emerging epoch of nation states. Suárez presented the ius gentium as a means to international order without an international authority. He proposed that states, as communitates perfectae, or self-sufficient and independent authorities, could govern international life together through common effort. By explicating Suárez’s international thought, and by comparing and contrasting it with that of Hugo Grotius and Edmund Burke, I will endeavor to demonstrate that Suárez’s account of international relations most accurately identifies the bases for international order without international authority.

Law of nations. International society. Christendom. Prudence. Law and history. Suarez. Grotius. Burke. Ius gentium. International community.