Henry Wheaton (1785–1848)

Lydia H. Liu

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

 Henry Wheaton (1785–1848)

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Law
  • History of Law
  • International Law


Show Summary Details


This chapter examines Henry Wheaton’s life and career. Henry Wheaton emerged as an authoritative figure in international law with the publication of Elements of International Law in 1836. Within a couple of decades after the first edition, this book began to eclipse major competing works and was adopted as the foremost modern text of international law in the diplomatic establishments of the United States, Britain, France, and other European countries. It was the first English-language treatise on international law. Wheaton regards public international law as an ‘imperfect’ positive law due to the indeterminateness of its precepts, and the lack of the political power of the State and a judicial authority competent to enforce the law. He adds that the universalism of international law and its efficacy are thus grounded on the progress of civilization peculiar to Christendom.

Keywords: international law; International Law; Henry Wheaton; Christianity

Article.  1721 words. 

Subjects: Law ; History of Law ; International Law

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.