Looking forward : sovereign responsibilities in the United States and Great Britain, 1894-1920

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lynda M. Kellam, Data Services & Government Information Librarian (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Mark Elliott

Abstract: This dissertation traces the idea of sovereign responsibility as it intermingled with transnational debates over good government, imperialism, self-determination, and race in the United States and Great Britain during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Based on the understanding that national sovereignty has limitations and states have obligations, sovereign responsibility is the idea that countries have a duty to protect their citizens or subjects from harm. Sovereign responsibility became a crucial tenet for the development of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) principle in the 2000s, but as this dissertation demonstrates, the idea has a longer intellectual lineage rooted in debates at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The lives of two influential reformers, the American lawyer Moorfield Storey and the British politician and historian James Bryce, frame the trajectory of this dissertation as it follows their engagement with events both at home and abroad. Using a case study approach, this dissertation examines their writings, speeches, and correspondence with other reformers during the Armenian massacres (1894-1896), the Spanish American and Philippine American wars (1898-1902), the South African war (1899-1902), the anti-lynching campaign in the U.S. (c. 1893-1925), and the Armenian genocide (1915-1923). Each of these case studies provide a window into how the members of reform and anti-imperial networks understood the role of the state and its responsibilities. American anti-imperialists and their counterparts in Great Britain engaged in intellectual debates which helped develop the structure on which later domestic and international law could sit. Fundamentally, this structure served as a basis on which ideas about limits on state sovereignty continued to grow.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2023
Human rights, Humanitarianism, Imperialism, Lynching, Responsibility to protect, Sovereign responsibilities
Sovereignty $x History
Humanitarian intervention $x History
Responsibility to protect (International law) $x History
Storey, Moorfield, $d 1845-1929
Bryce, James Bryce, $c Viscount, $d 1838-1922

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