Law, Peace and Status: Brazil’s Call for Sovereign Equality During the Second Hague Peace Conference of 1907

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Abstract

This article reevaluates Brazil’s role in the Second Hague Peace Conference of 1907, challenging prevailing narratives about Brazil’s call for sovereign equality. By combining theoretical insights on international status with an extensive examination of primary sources, such as diplomatic communications and conference proceedings, I show that Brazil’s call for sovereign equality was a strategic response to status struggles rather than an ideological commitment. The call enabled Brazil’s leading delegate, Rui Barbosa, to gain leadership over a Latin American multilateral coalition against a Great Power proposition to create a hierarchical international court. The leadership not only bolstered Brazil’s position as a regional power, but paradoxically, also strengthened the relations with its main opponent during the conference, the US. As such, this study both contributes to our understanding of Latin American historical diplomacy and underscores the nuanced dynamics of non-Great Powers in international politics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalThe International History Review
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 May 2024

Keywords

  • 1900 diplomacy
  • Latin America
  • Middle Power
  • Multilateralism
  • Status hierarchy

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