The Essentials of International Public Law and Organization

By Amos S. Hershey | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER II
THE BASIS AND SOURCES OF INTERNATIONAL LAW

II. The Basis or Foundation of International Law. -- Like the State itself, International Law is ultimately based upon the innate or inherited sociability of human nature directed by specific human needs and interests. Though a fighting animal almost constantly engaged in a desperate struggle for existence with his environment and frequently at war with his fellows, man is also a social. and political being who has long since discovered that mutual coöperation and organization are at least as essential to human well-being and progress as are struggle, rivalry, and competition.1

Ever since his earliest appearance on this planet, man has apparently lived not in isolation, but in more or less hostile or friendly groups which form ever widening circles (families, hordes, clans, cities, nations, states, confederacies, etc.) within which the practice of mutual aid or coöperation, due to a sense of interdependence, has largely supplanted, or at least greatly modified, the habit of struggle and competition. This habit or practice of mutual aid and coöperation was gradually extended to intergroupal relations, until it now includes all civilized states, races, and nations, and

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1
For illustrations of the operation of this principle even among lower animals and savages, see the first three chapters of Kropotkin remarkable book, entitled Mutual Aid, a Factor of Evolution ( 1902). Cf. Romanes, Animal Intelligence ( 1883), passim; Espinas, Societés animales ( 1877); and Morgan, Animal Behavior ( 1900), ch. 5.

On the general principles, see Giddings, Principles of Sociology ( 1898), passim; Durkhein, De la division du travail social ( 1902), liv. 1, ch. 1, 17 ff., chs. .5 and 6; Novicow, La critique du darwinism social ( 1910), ch. 8; Pulszky, Theory of Law and Civil Society ( 1888), ch. 6; Redslob, Das Problem des VÖlkerrechts ( 1917), Bk. I, chs. 1-4; and Ross, Social Control ( 1901), passim. See Tarde, Laws of Imitation ( 1903), chs. 1-3 for the view that conscious and unconscious imitation resulting in fixed habits play an important rôle in the development of the social order. For Professor Giddings' interesting doctrine of Consciousness of Kind and the various forms of Co-operation and Likemindedness, see his Inductive Sociology ( 1901), Pt. II, chs. 3 and 4.

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