Emmerich de Vattel, The Law of Nations (1758)

The Law of Nations had a particular impact on the American revolutionaries of the late 18th Century and early 19th Century. Vattel’s ideas were utilized to argue against the tax burden which the British Crown levied on the American colonies. Early American lawyers and jurists were exuberant Vattelophiles. In 1775, Benjamin Franklin received three copies of a new edition on behalf of the Continental Congress and, in thanking his friend Charles Dumas for sending them from the Netherlands, he remarked that they “came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising State make it necessary to frequently consult the law of nations” and that “[the book] has been continually in the hands of the members of our Congress now sitting."

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