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acts of France in 1835 and was answered by Mr. Gallatin in a letter to Mr. Everett as follows: 11

The general position assumed by the President, and apparently sustained by Judge Wayne and others, is, that whenever a nation has a claim clearly founded in justice, as that in question undoubtedly is, and justice is denied, resort must ultimately be had to war for redress of the injury sustained. This, as an abstract proposition, is wholly untenable, supported neither by the practice of nations nor by common sense. The denial of justice gives to the offending nation the right of resorting to arms, and such a war is just so far as relates to the offending party. But to assert that a nation must in such a case, without attending either to the magnitude or nature of the injury, and without regard either to its own immediate interest or to political considerations of a higher order affecting perhaps its foreign and domestic concerns, inflict upon itself the calamities of war, under the penalty of incurring disgrace, is a doctrine which, if generally adopted, would keep the world in perpetual warfare, and sink the civilized nations of Christendom to a level with the savage tribes of our forests.

Whether Mr. Roosevelt's interpretation of the morality of Germany's conduct or of our duty is correct or not, it is certainly conceivable that a nation might so act as to violate the rights and jeopardize the safety of the whole community of nations, and that its act might call for concerted action by the community. Nevertheless, for perhaps wise reasons, international law has refrained from characterizing such conduct, however reprehensible, as an "international crime." The law is stated by Oppenheim in his work on international law, 12 as follows:

International delinquency is every injury to another state committed by the head of the government of a state through neglect of an international duty. *

An international delinquency is not a crime, because the delinquent state as a sovereign cannot be punished, although compulsion may be exercised to procure a reparation of the wrong done.

The nature of the law of nations, as a law between, not above sovereign states, excludes the possibility of punishing a state for an international delinquency and of considering the latter in the light of a crime.




Whether a nation which so acts as to disturb the rights and good order of the entire world be termed legally a "delinquent,” or a “criminal,” is perhaps a matter of terminology. Whatever the term, the conception is growing that a nation's acts which, as a matter of fact, have this effect, should in some way be subject to the world's control.

11 2 Gallatin's Writings, 494. 12 Vol. I, 2nd Ed., p. 209, et seq.

The theory is not new. Daniel Webster in 1842, as Secretary of State, wrote to the American Minister at Mexico as follows:

Every nation, on being received, at her own request, into the circle of civilized governments, must understand that she not only attains rights of sovereignty and the dignity of national character, but that she binds herself also to the strict and faithful observance of all those principles, laws, and usages which have obtained currency among civilized states.

No community can be allowed to enjoy the benefit of national character in modern times without submitting to all the duties which that character imposes.




Mr. Evarts, as Secretary of State, in 1877, said:

If a government "confesses itself unable or unwilling to conform to those international obligations which must exist between established governments of friendly states, it would thereby confess that it is not entitled to be regarded or recognized as a sovereign and independent Power."-Ms. Instr. Mexico, XIX 357.

An interesting attempt to harmonize the theory of inviolable national sovereignty and the conception of the existence of certain rights of the "international community" is found in Internoscia's Code of International Law, published in 1910. He defines the “international community" as follows: 13

The International Community is the voluntary union of the States that aim at the attainment by their common endeavors of the full development of their powers and of the satisfaction of their needs, in order to assure the good of all men.

In his introduction he explains his theory of world organization as follows:


The community of states to be organized for the juridical protection of international law must be a supreme power destined to respect and to command the respect of the independence of the people.

13 Part 1, Book 1, Tit. 1, par. 13. 14 P. xv, xxvii.

When a state, contrary to the rules of international law, conquers or abuses another state, the former state although sovereign becomes liable to be brought before the authority that represents the strength of the rest of the world, and if it refuses to recognize such authority, while left free to combat the whole world, it must incur the penalty of its folly even to the point of destruction, if need be, in order that the disturbance it has caused may be removed. The peace and tranquillity, the good and the welfare of the whole of humanity must be secured even at the cost of annihilating a rebellious part of it. This code

is not opposed to the well-established belief of the freedom of a state. This code recognizes the freedom of a state to act as it pleases so far that it grants the rights or a belligerent to a state when it contests the execution of the judgme. It rendered against it.






In the development of the law of crimes in intranational law, the process was gradual by which certain acts originally viewed solely as torts affecting only single individuals were brought within the conception of being crimes against the entire state. The whole law of crimes has been evolved from the ancient law of torts. In this development the individual has been required to surrender many of what were previously considered his rights, in the interest of the rights of others and the good order of the community.

In international law, so strong is the theory that the dignity of national sovereignty should be upheld, and that the law of nations is a law "between not above sovereign states," that it is doubtful that the now termed “delinquencies” of nations will soon, if ever, be stigmatized with the term "international crimes.” In our own national organization, though we have formed a strong federal government, the theory that the States are sovereign political units has always excluded the conception that a State is legally capable of committing a crime. Nevertheless, it seems probable from present indications and the natural necessities of the situation, that international law will ultimately provide for some method of central control over acts of nations of a quasi-criminal nature, and that individual nations will find it to their mutual interest to surrender some of what are at present deemed their sovereign rights, in the interest of the welfare and order of the community of nations.

International law does therefore at the present time have "sanction." That sanction rests almost wholly on the ultimate force of “self-help.” The tendency will be to delegate the duties both of enforcing civil rights and of controlling quasi-criminal acts to authorized officials and to preserve "self-help" so far and only so far as it proves an orderly auxiliary.

In the law's evolution, the conception of the collective rights of the community of nations will enlarge. National acts and rights will fall naturally into two classes, one comprising those of a civil and the other those of a quasi-criminal nature.

Finally, international law must and will ultimately be looked upon as a law and a force not merely between, but also above even sovereign nations.



AMOS S. HERSHEY, Indiana University.
DAVID JAYNE HILL, Washington, D. C.
CHARLES CHENEY HYDE, Northwestern University.
ROBERT LANSING, Washington, D. C.
JOHN BASSETT MOORE, Columbia University.
JESSE S. REEVES, University of Michigan.
GEORGE G. WILSON, Harvard University.

Editor in Chief

JAMES BROWN SCOTT, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D. C.

Secretary of the Board of Editors and Business Manager
GEORGE A. FINCH, 2 Jackson Place, Washington, D. C.



On March 9, 1916, the territory of the United States was invaded by a force of some 1,500 men, under the command of Francisco Villa, who has disputed for the past year and more the authority of General Carranza, the First Chief of Mexico, whose government was recognized by the United States on October 19, 1915, as the de facto government of Mexico. The city of Columbus in New Mexico was the scene of the attack and a number of Americans were killed, including some soldiers, and many buildings were set fire to and burned before the intruders were driven across the international border into Mexico.

The day following the attack President Wilson decided that the circumstances required immediate action to be taken against Villa, and

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