The Global Commonwealth of Citizens: Toward Cosmopolitan Democracy

By Daniele Archibugi | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Introduction: A Queen for the World?

1.1 A Queen for the World?

An American peace thinker, William Ladd, in 1840 published one of the last peace projects which flourished during the European Enlightenment. In his project, he called for the creation of an international congress comprising one ambassador for each state. He envisaged this international congress as a world legislative power that would lay down rules that were shared and respected by all. Ladd realized that such a congress would be insufficient without a judiciary power charged with interpreting the rules and settling disputes, so he also proposed to set up an international court of justice. In a project so explicitly based on the separation of powers that existed in his native America, Ladd could not avoid raising the question of executive power. According to him, executive power was neither conceivable nor probably even desirable and it was therefore necessary to rely on the intangible power of world public opinion, which he optimistically dubbed “the Queen of the World.”1

The idea that public opinion could be the queen of the world is today even more attractive than it was in the nineteenth century. As championed by numerous visionaries, many international organizations have been set up that are nowadays much more sophisticated than the

1. William Ladd, An Essay on a Congress of Nations for the Adjustment of
International Disputes without Resort to Arms (New York: Oxford University
Press, [1840] 1916), p. L.

-1-

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