September 5 assignments: (Sorry about the mix-up--the Decl. of Indpce. is on the 9th).
From Machiavelli, The Prince
WHENEVER those states which have been acquired as stated have been accustomed to live under their own laws and in freedom, there are three courses for those who wish to hold them: the first is to ruin them, the next is to reside there in person, the third is to permit them to live under their own laws, drawing a tribute, and establishing within it an oligarchy which will keep it friendly to you. Because such a government, being created by the prince, knows that it cannot stand without his friendship and interest, and does its utmost to support him; and therefore he who would keep a city accustomed to freedom will hold it more easily by the means of its own citizens than in any other way. . . . to hold it they were compelled to dismantle many cities in the country, for in truth there is no safe way to retain them otherwise than by ruining them. And he who becomes master of a city accustomed to freedom and does not destroy it, may expect to be destroyed by it, for in rebellion it has always the watch-word of liberty and its ancient privileges as a rallying point, which neither time nor benefits will ever cause it to forget. And what ever you may do or provide against, they never forget that name or their privileges unless they are disunited or dispersed but at every chance they immediately rally to them . . . But when cities or countries are accustomed to live under a prince, and his family is exterminated, they, being on the one hand accustomed to obey and on the other hand not having the old prince, cannot agree in making one from amongst themselves, and they do not know how to govern themselves. For this reason they are very slow to take up arms, and a prince can gain them to himself and secure them much more easily. But in republics there is more vitality, greater hatred, and more desire for vengeance, which will never permit them to allow the memory of their former liberty to rest; so that the safest way is to destroy them or to reside there.
. . .But to come to those who, by their own ability and not through fortune, have risen to be princes, I say that Moses, Cyrus, Romulus, Theseus, and such like are the most excellent examples. And although one may not discuss Moses, he having been a mere executor of the will of God, yet he ought to be admired, if only for that favour which made him worthy to speak with God . . . And in examining their actions and lives one cannot see that they owed anything to fortune beyond opportunity, which brought them the material to mould into the form which seemed best to them. Without that opportunity their powers of mind would have been extinguished, and without those powers the opportunity would have come in vain. . . . And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions, and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new. This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly, in such wise that the prince is endangered along with them. It is necessary, therefore, if we desire to discuss this matter thoroughly, to inquire whether these innovators can rely on themselves or have to depend on others: that is to say, whether, to consummate their enterprise, have they to use prayers or can they use force? In the first instance they always succeed badly, and never compass anything; but when they can rely on themselves and use force, then they are rarely endangered. Hence it is that all armed prophets have conquered, and the unarmed ones have been destroyed. Besides the reasons mentioned, the nature of the people is variable, and whilst it is easy to persuade them, it is difficult to fix them in that persuasion. And thus it is necessary to take such measures that, when they believe no longer, it may be possible to make them believe by force. If Moses, Cyrus, Theseus, and Romulus had been unarmed they could not have enforced their constitutions for long . . . To these great examples I wish to add a lesser one; still it bears some resemblance to them, and I wish it to suffice me for all of a like kind: it is Hiero the Syracusan. This man rose from a private station to be Prince of Syracuse, nor did he, either, owe anything to fortune but opportunity; for the Syracusans, being oppressed, chose him for their captain, afterwards he was rewarded by being made their prince. He was of so great ability, even as a private citizen, that one who writes of him says he wanted nothing but a kingdom to be a king. This man abolished the old soldiery, organized the new, gave up old alliances, made new ones; and as he had his own soldiers and allies, on such foundations he was able to build any edifice: thus, whilst he had endured much trouble in acquiring, he had but little in keeping.
From Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations
THE FIRST duty of the sovereign, that of protecting the society from the from the violence and invasion of other independent societies, can be performed only by means of a military force. But the expence both of preparing this military force in time of peace, and of employing it in time of war, is very different in the different states of society, in the different periods of improvement.
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Excerpts from Vattel, The Law of Nations (1758)
THE Law of Nations, though so noble and important a subject, has not, hitherto, been treated of with all the care it deserves. The greater part of mankind have, therefore, only a vague, a very incomplete, and often even a false notion of it. The generality of writers, and even celebrated authors, almost exclusively confine the name of "Law of Nations" to certain maxims and treatises recognised among nations, and which the mutual consent of the parties has rendered obligatory on them. This is confining within very narrow bounds a law so extensive in its own nature, and in which the whole human race are so intimately concerned; it is, at the same time, a degradation of that law, in consequence of a misconception of its real origin.
There certainly exists a natural law of nations, since the obligations of the law of nature are no less binding on states, on men united in political society, than on individuals. But, to acquire an exact knowledge of that law, it is not sufficient to know what the law of nature prescribes to the individuals of the human race. The application of a rule to various subjects, can no otherwise be made than in a manner agreeable to the nature of each subject. Hence, it follows, that the natural law of nations is a particular science, consisting in a just and rational application of the law of nature to the affairs and conduct of nations or sovereigns. All treatises, therefore, in which the law of nations is blended and confounded with the ordinary law of nature, are incapable of conveying a distinct idea, or a substantial knowledge of the sacred law of nations.
… The emperor seems to approach nearer to the sense we at present give to that term. "The law of nations," says he, "is common to the whole human race. The exigencies and necessities of mankind have induced all nations to lay down and adopt certain rules of right. For wars have arisen, and produced captivity and servitude, which are contrary to the law of nature; since, by the law of nature, all men were originally born free."4 But from what he adds, — that almost all kinds of contracts, those of buying and selling, of hire, partnership, trust, and an infinite number of others, owe their origin to that law of nations,— it plainly appears to have been Justinian's idea, that, according to the situations and circumstances in which men were placed, right reason has dictated to them certain maxims of equity, so founded on the nature of things, that they have been universally acknowledged and adopted. Still this is nothing more than the law of nature, which is equally applicable to all mankind.
The Romans, however, acknowledged a law whose obligations are reciprocally binding on nations: and to that law they referred the right of embassies. They had also their fecial law, which was nothing more than the law of nations in its particular relation to public treaties, and especially to war. The feciales were the interpreters, the guardians, and, in a manner, the priests of the public faith.5 The moderns are generally agreed in restricting the appellation of "the law of nations" to that system of right and justice which ought to prevail between nations or sovereign states. They differ only in the ideas they entertain of the origin whence that system arose, and of the foundations upon which it rests. The celebrated Grotius understands it to be a system established by the common consent of nations: and he thus distinguishes it from the law of nature: "When several persons, at different times, and in various places, maintain the same thing as certain, such coincidence of sentiment must be attributed to some general cause. Now, in the questions before us, that cause must necessarily be one or the other of these two — either a just consequence drawn from natural principles, or a universal consent. The former discovers to us the law of nature, and the latter the law of nations."6
. . . And, besides, Grotius, by his very distinction, and by exclusively appropriating the name of "the law of nations" to those maxims which have been established by the common consent of mankind, seems to intimate that sovereigns, in their transactions with each other, cannot insist on the observance of any but those last-mentioned maxims, reserving the internal law for the direction of their own consciences. If, setting out with the idea that political societies or nations live, with respect to each other, in a reciprocal independence, in the state of nature, and that, as political bodies, they are subject to the natural law, Grotius had, moreover, considered that the law must be applied to these new subjects in a manner suitable to their nature, that judicious author would easily have discovered that the natural law of nations is a particular science; that it produces between nations even an external obligation wholly independent of their will; and that the common consent of mankind is only the foundation and source of a particular kind of law, called the Arbitrary Law of Nations.
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In the very outset of my work, it will be found that I differ entirely from Monsieur Wolf in the manner of establishing the foundations of that species of law of nations which we call voluntary. Monsieur Wolf deduces it from the idea of a great republic (civitatis maximæ) instituted by nature herself, and of which all nations of the world are members. According to him, the voluntary law of nations is, as it were, the civil law of that great republic. This idea does not satisfy me; nor do I think the fiction of such a republic either admissible in itself, or capable of affording sufficiently solid grounds on which to build the rules of the universal law of nations, which shall necessarily claim the obedient acquiescence of sovereign stales. I acknowledge no other natural society between nations than that which nature has established between mankind in general. It is essential to every civil society (civitati) that each member have resigned a part of his right to the body of the society, and that there exist in it an authority capable of commanding all the members, of giving them laws, and of compelling those who should refuse to obey. Nothing of this kind can be conceived or supposed to subsist between nations. Each sovereign state claims, and actually possesses an absolute independence on all the others. They are all, according to Monsieur Wolf himself, to be considered as so many individuals who live together in the slate of nature, and who acknowledge no other laws but those of nature, or of her Great Author. Now, although nature has indeed established a general society between mankind, by creating them subject to such wants as render me assistance of their fellow creatures indispensably necessary to enable them to live in a manner suitable to men, yet she has not imposed on them any particular obligation to unite in civil society, properly so called: and if the all obeyed the injunctions of that good parent, their subjection to the restraints of civil society would be unnecessary. It is true, that as there does not exist in mankind a disposition voluntarily to observe towards each other the rules of the law of nature, they have had recourse to a political association, as the only adequate remedy against the depravity of the majority the only means of securing the condition of the good, and repressing the wicked: and the law of nature itself approves of this establishment. But it is easy to perceive that the civic association is very far from being equally necessary between nations, as it was between individuals. We cannot, therefore, say, that nature equally recommends it, much less that she has prescribed it. Individuals are so constituted, and are capable of doing so little by themselves, that they can scarcely subsist without the aid and the laws of civil society. But, as soon as a considerable number of them have united under this same government, they become able to supply most of their wants; and the assistance of other political societies is not so necessary to them as that of individuals is to an individual. These societies have still, it is true, powerful motives for carrying on a communication and commerce with each other; and it is even their duty to do it; since no man can, without good reasons, refuse assistance to another man. But the law of nature may suffice to regulate this commerce, and this correspondence. States conduct themselves in a different manner from individuals. It is not usually the caprice or blind impetuosity of a single person that forms the resolutions and determines the measures of the public: they are carried on with more deliberation and circumspection; and, on difficult or important occasions, arrangements are made and regulations established by means of treaties. To this we may add, that independence is even necessary to each state, in order to enable her properly to discharge the duties she owes to herself and to her citizens, and to govern herself in the manner best suited to her circumstances. It is, therefore, sufficient (as I have already said) that nations should conform to what is required of them by the natural and general society established between all mankind.
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The law of nations is the law of sovereigns. It is principally for them, and for their ministers, that it ought to be written. All mankind are indeed interested in it; and, in a free country, the study of its maxims is a proper employment for every citizen; but it would be of little consequence to impart the knowledge of it only to private individuals, who are not called to the councils of nations, and who have no influence in directing the public measures. If the conductors of slates, if all those who are employed in public affairs, condescended to apply seriously to the study of a science which ought to be their law, and, as it were, the compass by which to steer their course, what happy effects might we not expect from a good treatise on the law of nations! We every day feel the advantages of a good body of laws in civil society: — the law of nations is, in point of importance, as much superior to the civil law, as the proceedings of nations and sovereigns are more momentous in their consequences than those of private persons.
But fatal experience too plainly proves how little regard those who are at the head of affairs pay to the dictates of justice, in conjunctures where they hope to find their advantage. Satisfied with bestowing their attention on a system of politics which is often false, since often unjust, the generality of them think they have done enough when they have thoroughly studied that. Nevertheless, we may truly apply to states a maxim which has long been acknowledged as true with respect to individuals, — that the best and safest policy is that which is founded on virtue. Cicero, as a great master in the art of government as in eloquence and philosophy, does not content himself with rejecting the vulgar maxim, that "a state cannot be happily governed without committing injustice;" he even proceeds so far as to lay down the very reverse of the proposition as an invariable truth, and maintains, that "without a strict attention to the most rigid justice, public affairs cannot be advantageously administered."15