North America: American Exceptionalism In International Law

Mark W. Janis

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

North America: American Exceptionalism In International Law


How has America been exceptional over history in its approach to international law? This chapter reviews the history from the late 18th century, when the United States declared its independence from the United Kingdom, to the beginning of the 20th century, as the United States watched Europe descend into the First World War. The discussion, largely based upon material and observations drawn from a new book, America and the Law of Nations 1776–1939, emphasizes not the ways in which the American approach to international law has been similar to that in Europe, but how America has been different. It considers the law of nations and the common law; the law of nations and American independence; and international law and Utopia.

Keywords: United States; United Kingdom; Law of Nations; international law; American independence

Article.  13900 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

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