In Search of a Legal Conscience: Juridical Reformism in the Mid-19th Century Peace Movement

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The rise of modern international law as an autonomous scientific discipline in the early 1870s can be considered the culmination of multiple legal and extra-legal processes which trace their origins back to much earlier in the century. Several decades before the founders of the Institut de Droit International declared themselves the “legal conscience of the civilized world”, other societal groups had already expressed profound disaffection with the existing law of nations, which they viewed as inherently insufficient to guarantee lasting stability amongst civilized states. The conferences of the “Friends of Peace”, held between 1843 and 1851 in several European cities, featured many jurists who routinely employed legal modes of reasoning to communicate and advance legalistic objectives such as mandatory international adjudication and the codification of international law.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Pages (from-to)355-374
Number of pages19
JournalStudia Iuridica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sep 2019
Event24th Annual Forum Young Legal Historians - Warsaw, Poland
Duration: 14 Jun 201817 Sep 2018
Conference number: 24


  • internationalism
  • arbitration
  • codification
  • nineteenth century
  • international law
  • peace movement


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