This book explores the history of the international order in the eighteenth and nineteenth century through a new study of Emer de Vattel’s Droit des gens (1758). Drawing on unpublished sources from European archives and libraries, the book offers an in-depth account of the reception of Vattel’s chief work. Vattel’s focus on the myth of good government became a strong argument for republicanism, the survival of small states, drafting constitutions and reform projects and fighting everyday battles for freedom in different geographical, linguistic and social contexts. The book complicates the picture of Vattel’s enduring success and usefulness, showing too how the work was published and translated to criticize and denounce the dangerousness of these ideas. In doing so, it opens up new avenues of research beyond histories of international law, political and economic thought.
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