Skip to main content Accessibility help
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-6vg6l Total loading time: 0.324 Render date: 2022-12-06T20:54:51.023Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

Men and citizens in international relations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 October 2009


Since Rousseau political theorists have had frequent recourse to a contrast between the fragmented nature of modern social and political life and the allegedly communitarian character of the Greek polis. At the heart of this opposition was the belief that the polis represented a condition of unsurpassable harmony in which citizens identified freely and spontaneously with their public institutions. Unlike their ancient counterparts, modern citizens exhibited less identification with their public world than resolution to advance their separate individual interests and pursue their private conceptions of the good. Nevertheless, the disintegration of the polis was not depicted in the language of unqualified loss. History had not been simply an unmitigated fall, because the individual's claim to scrutinize the law of the polis on rational grounds involved a significant advance in man's self-consciousness. The positive aspect of its decline was man's transcendence of a parochial culture in which neither the right of individual freedom nor the principle of human equality had been recognized. If the modern world had lost the spontaneous form of community enjoyed by the ancients, it surpassed that world in its understanding and expression of freedom.

Research Article
Copyright © British International Studies Association 1981

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1. The principal exponent of this view was Hegel; see The Philosophy of History (New York, 1956), esp. pp. 252–3Google Scholar and The Philosophy of Right (Oxford, 1952)Google Scholar, paras 260–1, esp. Additions. For a fuller account see Plant, R., Hegel (London, 1973)Google Scholar, ch. 1, and Taylor, C., Hegel (Cambridge, 1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, chs. 14–15.

2. O'Malley, J. (ed.), Marx's Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right (Cambridge, 1970)Google Scholar, Introduction, esp. pp. xi-lxiii.

3. C. Taylor, op. cit. esp. pp. 385, 395–7; Colletti, L., Marxism and Hegel (London, 1973)Google Scholar, ch. 12.

4. This distinction is developed further in Walsh, W. H., ‘Open and Closed Morality’, The Morality of Politics, Parekh, B. and Berki, R. (eds.) (London, 1972)Google Scholar.

5. Ibid. p. 19.

6. Ibid.

7. The conflict between the two moralities is represented most clearly by the differences between Kantian and Hegelian ethics. See Acton, H. B., Kant's Moral Philosophy (London, 1970)CrossRefGoogle Scholar and Walsh, W. H., Hegelian Ethics (London, 1969)CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Hegel brought the two moralities (moralitat and sittlichkeit in his own terminology) into clear opposition as theories of international relations, Ibid, para 209.

8. The principal texts discussed in this paper are Pufendorf s The Two Books of the Elements of Universal Jurisprudence (first published 1660) (Oxford, 1934)Google Scholar; The Law of Nature and Nations (first published 1672) (Oxford, 1934)Google Scholar; The Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen According to the Natural Law (first published 1673) (New York, 1927)Google Scholar; Vattel, The Law of Nations; or, Principles of the Law of Nature, applied to the Conduct and Affairs of Nations and Sovereigns (first published 1758) (New York, 1964).Google Scholar

9. Pufendorf, Elements of UniversalJurisprudence, op, cit. p. 242.

10. Vattel, op. cit. pp. 5–6.

11. See, for example, Pufendorfs remark that ‘the just size of a state should be measured by the strength of its neighbours’, The Law of Nature and Nations, op. cit. p. 968.

12. Abstract of the Abbe de Saint-Pierre's Projectfor Perpetual Peace, The Theory of International Relations Forsyth, M. G., Keens-Soper, H. M. A. and Savigear, P. (London, 1970), p. 132Google Scholar.

13. Ibid. pp. 135–6.

14. Idea for a Universal History from a Cosmo-Political Point of View, in Forsyth et. aL op. cit. p. 183.

15. For the view that international politics is a world of ‘recurrence and repetition,’ and its impact upon international relations theory, see Wight, M., ‘Why is there no International Theory? ’, Diplomatic Investigations Butterfield, H. and Wight, M. (eds.) (London, 1966), p. 26Google Scholar.

16. See below, pp. 6–7.

17. Berlin, I., Vico and Herder (London, 1976), p. xxiiiGoogle Scholar; also ‘Herder and The Enlightenment’ in the same volume; Stern, A., Philosophy of History and the Problem of Values (Hague, 1962)Google Scholar, ch. 6.

18. Marcuse, H., Reason and Revolution (London, 1969), p. 36Google Scholar.

19. Ullman, W., Principles of Government and Politics in the Middle Ages (London, 1961), p. 24Google Scholar.

20. Pufendorf, Elements of Universal Jurisprudence, op. cit. p. 103; Vattel, op. cit. pp. 9a-10a.

21. Pufendorf, op. cit. p. 274; Vattel, op. cit. pp. 5–6

22. Carlyle, A. J., A History of Medieval Political Theory in the West (London, 1930), vol. 1, pp. 711Google Scholar.

23. Vattel, op. cit. pp. 5–6.

24. Pufendorf, op. cit. The Law of Nature and Nations, p. 212.

25. Vattel op. cit. p. 7; Pufendorf, Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen, op. cit. p. 90.

26. The Philosophy of Edmund Burke (a selection of his speeches and writings) Bredvold, L. I. and Ross, R. G. (eds.) (Michigan, 1970), p. 17Google Scholar.

27. Fichte, , The Science of Rights (Philadelphia, 1869), p. 215Google Scholar.

28. This point is developed below, pp. 12–137.

29. Kant, , The Metaphysical Principles of Virtue (New York, 1964), p. 140Google Scholar.

30. Kant, Perpetual Peace, Forsyth et. al. op. cit. p. 216.

31. Ibid. pp. 228–9.

32. Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen, op. cit. p. 48.

33. op. cit. pp. 7–8.

34. Pufendorf Two Books on the Duty of Man and Citizen, op. cit. p. 121 and 14C

35. Vattel, op. cit. p. 5.

36. Gallie, W. B., Philosophers of Peace and War (Cambridge, 1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, ch. 2. Kant's comment appears in Perpetual Peace, op. cit. p. 211.

37. Murphy, J. G., Kant: The Philosophy of Right (London, 1970). pp. 110–1CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

38. Lovejoy, A., ‘The Meaning of Romanticism for the Historian of Ideas’, Journal of the History of Ideas, vol. 2 (1941), pp. 260–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

39. It may be argued that Kant's later historical and political writings represent ‘a point of departure’ from his earlier accounts of man as a static being. See Raschke, C. A., Moral Action, God and History in the Thought of Immanuel Kant (Dissertation Series No. 5) (University of Montana, 1975 p. 191–2.Google Scholar

40. Treitschke, H., ‘Die Politik’. The Political Thought ofHeinrich von Treitschke, Davis, H. W. C. (ed.) (New York, 1915), p. 127–8Google Scholar.

41. Ibid.

42. For a fuller discussion of this idea see Aron, R., Peace and War (London, 1966), pp. 585–91Google Scholar and Sterling, R. W.Ethics in a World of Power: The Political Ideas of Meinecke (Princeton, 1958)Google Scholar.

43. ‘The rays of divine light reveal themselves in a broken form in different peoples, each of whom manifests a new shape and a new conception of the Godhead.’ Treitschke, op. cit.

44. see Aron, op. cit. and Sterling, op. cit. for a fuller discussion of these points.

45. ‘Historicism claims trans-historical validity for its own thesis, thus refuting it’. Stern op. cit. p. 182.

46. O'Brien, G. D., Hegel on Reason and History (Chicago, 1975), p. 68Google Scholar.

47. See Colletti, L., From Rousseau to Lenin (New York, 1972), p. 39Google Scholar.

48. Rousseau, , A Discourse on the Origin of Inequality, The Social Contract and Discourses Cole, G. D. H. (ed.) (London, 1968), p. 170Google Scholar; Kant, Conjectural Beginning of Human History, Kant on History Beck, L. (ed.) (New York, 1957), pp. 55–6Google Scholar; Hegel op. cit. para 4, addition; , MarxThe German Ideology (London, 1965), p. 39Google Scholar.

49. Hegel, Ibid. para. 4.

50. Charles Taylor refers to this doctrine as ‘expressivism’, op. cit. esp. pp. 13–29, and pp. 547–552 for its application to Marx's thought.

51. Hegel, op. cit. para 145; Marx, Theses on Fenerbach, Sixth thesis.

52. Hegel, op. cit. Addition to the Preface; The Philosophy of History, p. 54.

53. For a discussion of this aspect of Marx's thought, see Evans, M., Karl Marx (London, 1975), esp. pp. 72–9Google Scholar and Hobsbawm's, E. introduction to Marx's Pre-Capitalist Economic Formations (London, 1964)Google Scholar.

54. Ideafor a Universal History, Forsyth et. al. op. cit. p. 191.

55. Prolegomena to Ethics (Oxford, 1916)Google Scholar, esp. ch. IIIB, ‘The Extension of the Area of Common Good. ’

56. Ibid. p. 238.

57. Ibid. p. 231.

58. Ibid. pp. 239–40.

59. Lectures on the Principles of Political Obligation (London, 1966), pp. 157–8Google Scholar.

60. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, op. cit. pp. 251–3.

61. For extended discussion of this theme, see Plant op. cit. Schiller's statement is a classic summary: ‘If the manifold potentialities in man were ever to be developed, there was no other way but to pit them the one against the other. This antagonism of faculties and functions is the great instrument of civilisation — but it is the only instrument. ’ Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man (Oxford, 1967)Google Scholar, Letter VI, sec. 12.

62. Hegel, The Philosophy of History, op. cit. pp. 317–8.

63. Hoffman, S., The State of War (London, 1965)Google Scholar.

64. Wight, op. cit. p. 26.

Cited by

Save article to Kindle

To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the or variations. ‘’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Men and citizens in international relations
Available formats

Save article to Dropbox

To save this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Men and citizens in international relations
Available formats

Save article to Google Drive

To save this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Men and citizens in international relations
Available formats

Reply to: Submit a response

Please enter your response.

Your details

Please enter a valid email address.

Conflicting interests

Do you have any conflicting interests? *