American Legal Cultures of Collective Security

Anthony Carty

in Philosophy of International Law

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780748622559
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652525 | DOI:
American Legal Cultures of Collective Security

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This chapter presents a perspective from American culture and history, which may help to explain dominant American tendencies to resort to the unilateral use of force to resolve what Americans take to be demands of their national security. It draws on two studies to illustrate exactly how US identity is constructed in relation to use-of-force norms and then how that identity is known, even to mainstream political historians, to be repetitively reconstructed at least in every generation. These two studies are: Robert Jewett and John Shelton Lawrence, ‘Captain America and the Crusade against Evil’; and John Lewis Gaddis, Surprise, Security and the American Experience. Both consider international law important, and both claim that the fundamental cultural forces shaping American identity are equally shaping dominant approaches to international law.

Keywords: American culture; American history; use of force; national security; American identity; international law

Chapter.  9444 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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