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The Rights of War and Peace is the first fully historical account of the formative period of modern theories of international law. It sets the scene with an extensive history of the theory of international relations from antiquity down to the seventeenth century. Professor Tuck then examines the arguments over the moral basis for war and international aggression, and links the debates to the writings of the great political theorists such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Kant.
This is not only an account of international law: as Professor Tuck shows, ideas about inter-state relations were central to the formation of modern liberal political theory, for the best example the kind of agent which liberalism presupposes was provided by the modern state. As a result the book illuminates the presuppositions behind much current political theory, and puts into a new perspective the connection between liberalism and imperialism.