Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER XIV

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

202. Relation of the United States to Other Independent States.-Hitherto attention has been directed to the organization of the governments which make up the political system of the United States. Little has been said concerning the relation of the Government of the United States to other governments; but a general consideration of this subject is made necessary by the close relations now existing between civilized nations. Although a sovereign state is said to be independent and to recognize no superior, it is nevertheless expected to regard other sovereign states as its equals; and the existence of a nation or of an individual person among equals imposes certain moral obligations that might not be taken account of in complete isolation. One may own the house in which he lives and the lot on which it stands, but he is morally bound to show in his conduct a decent regard for the wishes and the wellbeing of his neighbor. A nation that finds itself in the community of nations also is morally bound to show a decent regard for the wishes and the well-being of other nations. For regulating the intercourse of sovereign states, a body of rules and doctrine has gradually come into existence and been recognized as a proper guide for civilized nations with respect to such actions as affect one another. This body of rules and doctrine is known as international law, although, speaking strictly, it is not law at all. Law

in the proper sense of the word is "a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being by an intelligent being having power over him." The rules which make up the body of international law do not conform to this definition; they are the result of mutual agreements or understandings among the nations, rather than commands. No nation is in a position to enforce obedience to them, yet it is agreed that such obedience tends to promote the general well-being and to remove international friction. They have been called the rules of international morality; and what they enjoin, they enjoin as a duty.

Topics.-Relation of Government of United States to other governments.-Equality of sovereign states.-Definition of law.Nature of international law.

203. Certain Duties Recognized in International Relations. Important among the duties recognized in international relations is the duty of humanity. War continues and is likely to continue yet many decades; still the fact of war between two nations does not entitle either to wreak vengeance on a captured member of the other nation. War between civilized nations is not a war against individual persons, and such persons falling into the hands of the enemy of their nation are entitled to humane treatment. In view of the mutual dependence of nations because of the differences of their soil, climate, and products, it is affirmed that an obligation rests upon every nation to enter into at least commercial relations with other nations. A strong nation is likely to hold this to be the duty of the weaker nations with whom it wishes to trade, particularly if these nations stand on a somewhat lower plane of cultivation. Western nations have held this to be the duty of certain Oriental states. In her attitude toward other nations, Japan saw fit to pursue a policy of strict non-intercourse from the beginning of the seventeenth to the middle of the nineteenth

century. She neither exported nor imported wares, and permitted neither immigration nor emigration. Western nations insisted on trading with her, and her policy was made to yield to their wishes. If there is a duty under which every nation lies, that obliges it to enter into relations with other nations, it is clearly a duty that admits of many exceptions. The power of a nation to establish such customs duties as will practically exclude foreign wares does not appear to be seriously questioned; and there is not a very wide difference between this policy and the policy of complete commercial isolation.

It is understood that when we speak of international relations we have in mind only such states as, by common consent, are counted as independent. Pirates controlling a large territory do not constitute a state. The commonwealth of New York, from the point of view of international law, does not appear a sovereign state, although more populous and wealthier than many sovereign states: it is not a party in international relations. International relations exist only between sovereign states.

Topics. International duty of humanity.-War not against individual persons.-Is there a duty of commercial intercourse?International relations between sovereign states only.

204. Non-Interference. When it is said that a sovereign state is independent, it is meant thereby, among other things, that it is free from interference by other states. This is the general rule, but there are justifiable exceptions. If a state is at war with another state, it may aid any party or province of the enemy which may be in revolt. When its stability and the well-being of the people are vitally affected by lawlessness permitted by its sovereign neighbor, it may insist that order shall be preserved, and may go even to the extent of forceful interference in behalf of self-preservation.

A state in facing a serious revolt or revolution may call on a foreign state for assistance, and it is not questioned that the foreign state in rendering the required assistance is acting strictly within the limits of international propriety. If the revolutionists stand for liberal government against absolutism, and the nation called upon happens to be in sympathy with the political views of the revolutionists, it need not accede to the request. The view sometime entertained in Europe that the constituted governments might properly interfere without being asked, in order to suppress liberal revolts or republican revolutions, is not to be justified. The unfriendly attitude of the European powers toward the republicanism of France during the French Revolution furnishes a case in point. And at the Congress of Verona, in 1822, the project was agitated of bringing the revolted colonies of Mexico and South America back under the authority of Spain. This project was, moreover, significant in that it gave occasion for President Monroe's utterance which became the basis of the Monroe doctrine.

Topics. Meaning of national independence.-Duty of noninterference.—Attitude of European monarchies toward the French Revolution and the republicanism of France.

205. The Monroe Doctrine.-President Monroe having requested Jefferson's opinion concerning the project of the Verona Congress and the correspondence between Mr. Canning, England's Prime Minister, and Mr. Rush, the American minister in London, Mr. Jefferson wrote that " our first and fundamental maxim should be never to entangle ourselves in the broils of Europe; our second, never to suffer Europe to meddle with cisatlantic affairs. America, North and South, has a set of interests distinct from those of Europe and peculiarly her own. She should, therefore, have a system of her own, separate and apart from that of Europe."

In his message of December 2, 1823, President Monroe declared that "we should consider any attempt on the part [of the allied powers] to extend their system to any part of this hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and safety"; and that "we could not view any interposition for the purpose of oppressing [governments on this side of the Atlantic whose independence we had acknowledged] or controlling in any manner their destinies by any European power, in any other light than as a manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States." The doctrine that has been developed on the basis of President Monroe's utterances has not become properly a part of international law; it, however, represents a part of the policy of the United States, and will probably not be interfered with if the Government of this country displays a proper determination to maintain it, and to refrain from interfering in the affairs of Europe.

Topics. Origin of the Monroe Doctrine.-President Monroe's declaration.-Foreign policy of the United States.

206. National Territory.-In the modern conception of a nation, there is involved not merely the notion of government and people, but also the idea of territory. This territory must be strictly and carefully defined, since disputed boundaries lead almost universally to international friction, and sometimes to war. Territory is derived in various ways:

1. By occupying land which was before vacant, confirmed by prescriptive right.

2. By establishing colonies and drawing lands gradually under their dominion by the various means employed in colonial extension.

3. By conquest followed by prescriptive right.

4. By purchase or by gift.

The territory of a nation embraces:

« AnteriorContinuar »