(image source: CUP)
Joshua Meeks (Northwest University) reviewed Edward James Kolla's recent book on the French Revolution, Sovereignty and International Law (CUP 2017, see announcement on the ESCLH blog).
One of the more common conceptions of diplomacy during the French Revolution is that the revolutionaries attacked tradition in the name of liberty and disregarded international law and conventions as they attempted to export radical revolution throughout Europe. In Sovereignty, International Law, and the French Revolution, Edward James Kolla pushes back against this idea, arguing that though the revolutionaries were willing to adapt and in some cases ignore established legal traditions, they did so not in a conscious attempt to replace international law with a revolutionary variant. Instead, he explains in both breadth and detail how the principles of popular sovereignty espoused by the revolutionaries shaped the principle of self-determination in international law through a contingent, contradictory, and often haphazard process. Through case studies ranging from Corsica to the Netherlands, Kolla elucidates a thoughtful argument that combines a rigorous approach to international law with a well-crafted historical narrative.Read the full review here.
(source: H-Diplo mailing)