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American Journal of International Law (A. J. I. L.).
THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.-MARI
TIME CODES.—RECENT PROGRESS IN CODIFICATION.-
Definition of international law.-International law, as commonly understood, is that body of rules which prescribes the rights and duties of states in their mutual relations, and which governs generally the actions of modern civilized states in their intercourse with one another.
These rules are the results of customs and precedents arising from the intercourse of states, of various international agreements, and of the acts of states which have in the lapse of time been recognized as a general authority by the various civilized nations of the world. These rules may justly be considered as based upon the moral convictions and the wise experience of enlightened mankind.
International law compared with municipal law.-International law differs from national or municipal law, especially from that which is written law, in that it has primarily states instead of persons for its subjects, that it does not proceed from any superior law-making power, and that there is ng sovereign authority whose function it is to enforce the law in the case of neglect or violation.
Its existence is, however, accepted by all civilized states as a ruling force between them, and it is never abrogated nor suspended by them in time of peace or of war. A recognition of its obligations is incorporated in the municipal law of many states, the Constitution of the United States of America, for