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The Vesting of Sovereignty in a League of Nations, 28 Yale Law Journal 209 (1919)


The general movement in human society is from the simple to the complex. The family, expanding into the tribe, is the first political unit, and the will of the patriarch is its rule of conduct. Gradually the operation of that will becomes in some measure limited. Several tribes come to constitute a nation. The nation, as civilization advances, distributes governmental power among several depositaries. It creates departments, each wielding a portion of the sovereign power, and each to some extent independent of the others. Society is still national in character, but each country enters into certain relations to other countries. There is a law of the sea, as to the nature of which it is desirable, and perhaps necessary, that all of them shall agree. There is a law, that is generally recognized, of international relations, in many matters; made up of treaties and usages. It has been said that this international law is the only law worth studying by philosophers or statesmen, because it is the only one broad enough in its groundwork of facts to justify scientific confidence in its precepts. Without going to that length it is certain that the necessary breadth and complexity of any plan for the general and permanent regulation of international relations give it a special attraction to those interested in the development of political sciences, particularly in the present century.

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