States: Rise and Decline of the Primary Subjects of the International Community

Antonio Cassese

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of International Law

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199599752
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Law

 States: Rise and Decline of the Primary Subjects of the International Community

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This chapter notes that sovereign States have been the backbone of the international community since its inception. They have been the primary actors on the international scene, but have always been polarized, and their actions have essentially been based on self-interest. However, they also needed social intercourse with other States in order to survive and flourish. Nevertheless, the ‘sociability’ of States has not led them to create a community proper, the society of mankind dreamed by Grotius. Each sovereign State continues to pursue its own interest, although now, much more so than in the past, it has to take into account pressures, incentives, and exhortations of other subjects. The chapter also explores when the individual State’s authority might be replaced by the power of the community.

Keywords: sovereign States; modern State; international community; international society

Article.  10551 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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