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The study of the neutrality laws of the United States in the form in which it is now published has been considerably enlarged from the study originally presented as a thesis in the Department of Political Science. Its object is to discuss the neutrality laws of the United States, both from the historical and from the critical point of view. An introductory chapter explains the character and scope of neutrality laws in general; the obligations of a neutral state in international law, the necessity of municipal legislation to give effect to those obligations, and the extent to which such legislation may or should properly be carried. A second chapter sketches the history and development of the neutrality laws of the United States. The object of this chapter is to set forth the traditional policy of the United States upon the matter of neutrality laws, and to show the changes in those laws which have been brought about by the necessity of adapting them to existing conditions. A third chapter states the authoritative interpretation of the present neutrality laws of the United States, as determined by judicial construction. This chapter is supplementary to the second and aims to give an exact statement of the actual restrictions imposed upon citizens and aliens by the neutrality laws of this country. A fourth chapter deals with the limitations of the neutrality laws of the United States. It defines, first, the acts which, though apparently of an unneutral character, are not properly to be included within a neutrality code; and secondly, the acts which should be so included, but are not actually covered by the existing neutrality laws. This chapter is followed by a draft of a new neutrality code embodying the results of the investigation. The draft introduces amendments intended to meet the deficiencies of the existing law and to bring it more in accord with the recognized obligations of the United States. While the study is therefore, by its purpose, largely technical in character, the subject with which it deals is one of such great interest and importance as to commend itself to the attention of the general public. The neutrality laws of the United States hold a significant place in the legal and political history of the country; controversies have ranged around them, and they have more than once been the subject of sharp diplomatic discussions, while not a few of the im
portant decisions of the Supreme Court of the United States have been based upon violations of the several neutrality acts.
Moreover, with the exception of Great Britain, no other country has enacted similar municipal legislation of so comprehensive a character, in the interest of enforcing upon its citizens and others within its jurisdiction, the observance of the duties of neutrality. Most of the continental countries have adopted certain general provisions against foreign enlistment and against acts which may compromise the neutrality of the state; but they have not thus far seen the need of enacting penal legislation of the definite and precise character of that adopted by the United States and Great Britain. It is true that in the case of the latter countries special circumstances formed the proximate occasion for the adoption of their neutrality acts; but, on the other hand, it can hardly be denied that municipal neutrality legislation, as a means of giving effect to international obligations, has been greatly neglected. In consequence of the rules relating to the rights and duties of neutral powers in land and maritime war, adopted at the Second Hague Conference of 1907 (Conventions V and XIII), it is all the more imperative that the states of the world should amend their neutrality legislation so as to enable them to meet the obligations which they have thus defined for themselves. In view of this fact, the experience of the United States may not only be of interest, but of service as well, to states contemplating the adoption of new or the amendment of existing neutrality laws.
LIST OF PUBLICATIONS REFERRED TO IN THE TEXT.
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Bemis, George. American Neutrality. Boston, 1866.
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