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17th Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico

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17th Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico
16th 18th
Senate of Puerto Rico parliament.jpg
TermJanuary 2, 2013 (2013-01-02) – January 1, 2017 (2017-01-01)
ElectionNovember 6, 2012
25th Senate
PresidentEduardo Bhatia
President pro temJosé Luis Dalmau
Majority LeaderAníbal José Torres
Majority WhipRossana López León
Minority LeaderLarry Seilhamer
Minority WhipCarmelo Ríos
29th House of Representatives
SpeakerJaime Perelló
Speaker pro temRoberto Rivera
Majority LeaderCharlie Hernández
Majority WhipEduardo Ferrer
Minority LeaderJenniffer González
Minority WhipCarlos Méndez
1stJanuary 14, 2013 – June 30, 2013
2ndAugust 19, 2013 – November 19, 2013
3rdJanuary 13, 2014 – June 30, 2014
4thAugust 18, 2014 – November 18, 2014
5thJanuary 12, 2015 – June 30, 2015
6thAugust 17, 2015 – November 17, 2015
7thJanuary 11, 2016 – June 30, 2016
8thAugust 15, 2016 – November 15, 2016

The 17th Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico is the current session of the Puerto Rican legislature that began meeting on January 14, 2013 and is expected to meet until to January 1, 2017. All members of the House of Representatives and the Senate were elected in the General Elections of 2012. The House and the Senate both have a majority of members from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD).

The house sessions are composed by the 25th Senate of Puerto Rico and the 29th House of Representatives of Puerto Rico.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ The Role of "Law of Nations" in America's Independence
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  • ✪ Commonwealth (U.S. state)


>> Speaker 1: From the Library of Congress in Washington DC. >> Jason Steinhauer: Well, good afternoon. My name is Jason Steinhaeur. I'm a program specialist with the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress. Before we begin today's program, please take a moment to check your cellphones and other electronic devices and please set them to silent. I'll also make you aware that this afternoon's program is being filmed for placement on the Kluge Center website as well as our YouTube and iTunes playlists. I encourage you to visit our website,, K-L-U-G-E, to view other lectures delivered by current and past Kluge scholars. Today's lecture is presented by the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress and cosponsored by the embassy of the Republic of Bulgaria as part of the 2016 European Month of Culture celebrations. I wish to express our thanks to the Bulgarian Embassy and the EU Delegation to United States for their collegiality and collaboration this month. And to mention that in partnership with the EU, we are featuring on our blog all month the stories of European scholars who've conducted research at the Kluge Center including today's speaking Theo Christov, who is of Bulgarian heritage. And we are delighted and honored this afternoon to have the ambassador from Bulgaria to United States here with us today. And so, I'd like to take this moment to call her Excellency to offer a few words of welcome. [ Applause ] >> Elena Poptodorova: Good afternoon. I very well understand why our master of ceremonies today did not dare mention my name. It can be a tongue twister. So I will pronounce for you very dear host, also because there won't be many days left for me to pronounce it out loud in this country. I'm just about to finish my tour as ambassador of Bulgaria to the United States of America and what a greater opportunity. I even think if I'm not mistaken, and I'm not, this is indeed my last speaking event. So, that is to be recorded in my mind at least and in my heart. And you will know why I think it is so special. It is the event itself, but, of course, it falls into a much bigger context. So, you'll-- if you're here in this room, you know why you're here. It is, of course, the very interesting presentation, which I've been looking forward to listening to. And I must confess some ignorance, myself, on the subject. So it's very welcome in a personal way as well. But also, you would know that this is not just a single one time event. May 9th is the day of Europe. And luckily, happily Bulgaria is already part of the European family of nations, who together celebrate this date, this occasion in this town and elsewhere. So, it is a coordinated program of all 28 countries that happens all over the world. So, you can imagine what the rate opportunity it is to be part of such a massive-- such a broad reaching effort. It is also extremely intense and interesting in this town. All embassies are engaged in different cultural programs, so you have all types of tastes to be met, to be satisfied. It is visits through the embassies. It is cultural programs. It is the arts. It is literary programs. Some-- it is dance. But I would say that today's event, which is happily and thankfully part of the program in cooperation with probably the most, I would call it sublime institution in this country, which is the Library of Congress, is the most intellectual one, the most rewarding one. And I believe all of us will only be very happy to take the benefit of this presentation. Why I said that this will be a much-- and I think-- this might-- few words will be co-located in a broader context. I moved in odd, by the fact that we are holding this event in this building in cooperation with the Library of Congress and the Center, the Kluge Center and, of course, the delegation of the European Union. The Library of Congress is not only the institution that it is, but it has been Bulgaria's partner for so many years. And I must confess that I take not only pride, humility, but also deep emotion in having been long time partner and friend of Dr. Billington. I think this country and the Library of Congress have been blessed to have this tighten of intellectual thought and of humane attitude like Dr. Billington. We, of course, did not always deal with the doctor, with Dr. Billington, I mean, at that highest level. We had great partnership with the different teams here at the Library. We tried to provide and to offer here as much as we could from our own archives, which were not known and not admitted to travel to this library and to this country. So, in so many words, I just really, really wanted to let you know that it was not only a protocol courtesy or a diplomatic language that I use in saying how special the event is. For me, I find it serendipitous, it's kind of a great, great conclusion of a great relationship, of course, personal but also professional as my country's ambassador to this country. So, I will really be self complacent or if I would touch presentation of Theo, because I won't be able to do it as well as you would. So, I step away to be part of the audience. We're really looking forward to your presentation, Theo. Thank you. [ Applause ] >> Jason Steinhauer: Thank you so much for that warm introduction and welcome. And it's fitting that you bring up Dr. Billington because we are standing in the John W. Kluge Center, which was brought to reality by the vision of Dr. Billington and the late John W. Kluge. The Kluge Center is a vibrant scholar center on Capitol Hill. And we bring together scholars and researchers from around the world to stimulate and energize one another, to distil wisdom from the Library's rich resources and to interact with policymakers and the public. We offer opportunities for senior scholars, post-doctoral fellows and PhD candidates to conduct research in the Library of Congress' collections. And we also offer free public lectures, conferences, symposia and other programs such as this one, as well as administer the Kluge Prize, which recognizes outstanding achievement in the humanities and social sciences. And as a side note, we are currently accepting applications for Kluge fellowships, which is the fellowship that Theo holds. For more information about the center, please visit, K-L-U-G-E. And I invite you sign up for our RSS email list to learn about future programs as well opportunities for you to conduct your own research here at the Library of Congress. So, on to today's program. Today's program is titled "The Law of Nations in America's Independence." It features scholar Theo Christov, currently a Kluge fellow at the John W. Kluge Center. While at the Library of Congress, Theo has been working on a project that situates the early American republic within the emergence of the field of international law. In particular, he exam-- he is examining the connections between America's independence and European philosophers such as Emer Vattel, about whom we'll hear more today. Vattel's name is not well known to us today. However, in the period of 1789 to 1820, he was the most cited author in legal documents and court proceedings in the early American republic. And his work was consulted upon by delegates to the First and Second Continental Congresses. Dr. Theo Christov is an assistant professor of history and international affairs at the George Washington University here in DC, my alma matter. He is also been a visiting assistant professor at North Western University. He received his PhD from UCLA in 2008. And he is the author of "Before Anarchy: Hobbes and His Critics in Modern International Thought." He is also the author of several book chapters, articles and reviews. And he has received numerous awards and fellowships including the European Society of International Law Young Scholar Fellowship, Phi Beta Kappa International Student Fellowship, excuse me, and UCLA Chancellor's Dissertation Year Fellowship and, of course, a Kluge Fellowship here at the Library of Congress, which is now completing. So, please join me in welcoming Theo Christov. [ Applause ] >> Theo Christov: Thank you so much for that very kind introduction and a warm welcome to our ambassador. Thank you for the kind words. Before I begin, let me-- can you all hear me? I would like to thank the Kluge Center for these 11 months in residence. And I especially want to give a special thanks to Mary Lou, to Jason, to Travis, to Joan for all the hospitality as well as to all the Kluge fellows. Especially one of them, I want to recognize, that would be Will Slauter [assumed spelling] for all these wonderful conversations. Now, I'm well aware that in any [inaudible] and asset, so the first President of the United States delivered his inaugural address in just about 135 words, which was the shortest address, whereas the 9th President, William Henry Harrison delivered his speech in over two and a half hours. So what I'm going to try to do-- and by the way, for those of you who don't know he came down with a flu the next died and he died of pneumonia within a month. So with that in mind, I will keep my remark trip all 45 minutes and share some thoughts with you on my research, which I have been conducting here for the last nine or 10 months. And sadly, I have a less than two months left. What I'm going to present to you today is part of ongoing research, I have conducted at the Library of Congress. The larger research asks the question, how did the world of states emerge from a former world of empires? After all, the existence of states today is a fact that we take for granted. The unprecedented growth of-- in the umber of states since the mid 20th century has largely been a product of decolonization in Africa, in Asia, but forms of sovereignty which are recognizably modern have existed since at least late 18th century. And the founding of this country in particular illuminates at least one significant point about the creation of states namely their desire for independence or domestic sovereignty but also commitment to interdependence in their relations with other states, what I call international sovereignty. While writing the genealogy of the modern statehood can be approached variously, the one story I have chosen to pursue is the birth of the United States in late 18th and early 19th century. Such a pursuit is not entirely arbitrary tracing the origin of the state back to British North America in the 1770s allows us to situate the idea of sovereignty not only in its domestic, but especially in its international context. And I'll make that more clear as I move along. That context can be found in what was called at that time the law of nature and nations and that, which is coming to be called international law. And some of you may know that the term international law was in fact coined by Jeremy Bentham in 1786 to designate a different way of thinking about the Law of Nations. Such a law was partially normative for it prescribed how states ought to behave. And it was partly conventional for it was based in convention and described the established practices among states. In my remarks today, I locate the rising United States in late 18th century in these two conceptions of international law, the normative and the conventional. And I argue that the American revolutionaries were making claims not only for independence from Britain, but also if not primarily for interdependence among other states. Their ultimate goal was not merely domestic autonomy, but above all, external recognition by other states beyond Britain. They clearly understood that independence was their ticket for admission into the international community of states, but the American revolutionaries would have hardly been able to accomplish their global reach had it not been for a Swiss political thinker by the name of Emer Vattel, the name I will be mentioning in my discussion. So he is? Born in 1714 in the Swiss principality of Neuchatel, Vattel came from a privilege background. His father was a high ranking clergyman while his mother was the daughter of the treasure of Prussian King. His interest in philosophy on his father's side and taste of politics on his mother's side define his passion for both. His main work, the Law of Nations published in 1758 was not envisioned. And this is a key point. It was not envisioned to make an original contribution it was simply intended to popularize the works of two German philosophers, Leibniz and Wolff. Both of whom had produced works on the law of nature. Ingenuous as their works were and can tell that by the length of their wigs, they remain largely inaccessible to wider audience. Written in Latin, they were full of mathematical demonstrations to prove the inclinations of human nature. Vattel said, to transform liveness in Wolff's ideas in a comprehensible way and free their cumbersome systems from securities. The irony is that while the Law of Nations was never intended to be original in its content, it became an instant classic and a political guidebook in the hands of every American statesman. Britain and Europe exported across the Atlantic, the book was so to speak naturalized in the context of American independence. Many of the founding fathers including George Washington were not only deeply familiar with the arguments of the Law of Nations, but also actively engaged in-- I mean debates over the consecution. In this 1796 portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stewart, the painter has carefully chosen books that represent Washington's world of ideas and world of politics, while Vattel's book is not among the few depicted in this portrait, it should have a very lightly candidate as I'm about to argue. For a men known for his diligence and integrity, it comes as a surprise that he failed to return two volumes that were due on November 2nd, 1789, both from the New York Society Library, the books were Vattel's Law of Nations and a collection of works from Britain's lower house of parliament. It was known not until 1934 that the charge-out ledger was discovered in the library's basement and for almost a 150 years no one could have possibly suspected the misdeed. And these are the two items from the ledger. Now the other borrowers including Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay all returned their library books, but one conspicuous borrower never returned his two books. And guess what, he was not even a paying member of the library. And unlike the Library of Congress today, which is absolutely free, back then Patrons had to in fact pay annual membership to be able to check all the books. So let's hope he Library of Congress doesn't change that policy. Now, that patron had an entree on October 5th, 1789, which was recorded simply as president in the space of the borrower. Vattel's Law of Nations and volume 12 of the 14 volume collection of common debates, which contained transcripts of debates from the house of commons must have surely proved indispensable for a man preoccupied with the business of creating a new nation and learning how to be its president. Anecdote even has it that the new president was found consulting Vattel's book by visitors on his first day in office after his inauguration on April 30th, 1789 in New York, which was the capital city back then. Now, when Philadelphia became the capital city at the following year in 1790, he merely took the book with him never to return to the library, that is until it somehow reappeared 221 years later. The book was eventually returned from the George Washington's Mount Vernon Library, not far from Washington DC to the New York society library in 2010 with a waived fee of $300,000, of course, inflation adjusted. So what could have possibly prompted the first president who had been in office for mere five months to send out a messenger for his cherry street home down to New York Society Library in Federal Hall. Now, if you turn to the New York Daily Gazette from October 5th, 1789, which the president must have almost certainly have read when he requested a copy of Vattel, it reads like a global chronicle of stories covering four continents. It contains a letter on the revolutions in Paris, allusions to the Russians, the English, the Turkish army, the State of Holland, the African prince, a Jamaican planter and, of course, the general assembly in Philadelphia itself. Published as one of two dailies, the New York Daily Gazette was anything but local in its coverage and inclusion of foreign affairs on its pages merely reflected how America's saw its place in the world as a nascent state trying to remain neutral during your political turmoil and emerge as a fully pledge sovereign of the international stage. The United States was inextricably becoming part of a wider world of customs and conventions practiced between states. The work of Vattel provided indispensable intellectual ammunition to the defenders of the republic for decades surrounding the birth and adolescence of the new American nation. In the hands of the early republicans, the Law of Nations written largely for European audience, this is a key point, it served to the two-fold purpose of justifying war for independence from the British and of weaving the unique American political experience into the larger fabric of the European experience of liberty. It affectively linked ideologically both sides of the Atlantic. The seemingly insignificant discovery of the book return neglect reveals less about the character of the president. And let's not forget the never lying George Washington story of cutting down the cherry tree. Then it reveals a [inaudible] about the European thinkers who would come to exercise a tremendous influence on the leading statesmen of the newly founded country. Faced with political and religious turmoil that threatened the very fabric of their societies, many political authors dismantled all the European monarchical arguments and fervently defended a new constitution built on the right of citizens. While their argument is in favor of political models of legitimate sovereignty and statehood emerge from a distinctly intra-European context of civil and religious wars, they still can take a very broad appeal to the universality of human experience and rightful demands for political self governance. That universality proved critical in making arguments not only in defensive domestic autonomy but also in the promotion of international sovereignty including the recognition of the United States by outside actors. In dependent states, the hallmark of Vattel's legacy must be sovereign both in relation to themselves, but also in relation to each other. So Vattel's treaties served as an indispensable guidebook in the hands of the framers including the first president who consulted it in situating independence within the large context of statehood. It also helped addressed the question of how a declaration of independence from Great Britain served simultaneously as a proclamation of inter dependence to the world of states. Scholarship has generally tended to acknowledge Vattel as the most cited author in legal documents as Jason mentioned earlier after 1789. And especially throughout the 19th century, the story I have to tell it's a story of Vattel before and around 1789. So in the time remaining I will sketch that pre-1789 story and reinstate Vattel not only the preeminent thinker most authoritative in debates over the future of this country, but also I want to argue and I know this is no small claim to make, there was-- he was even more gasped, influential then locked himself. And I might be being a little theoretical but if I in a different version I would say, Vattel over lock. That would be the basic claim that I would want to make today. Now, Vattel's authority in this country can be traced as far back as 1762. That is the earliest I have been able to come up with, which is a quarter of a century before the drafting of the constitution itself. So it's quite a long time. When Vattel request a copy of the Law of Nations in 1789, George Washington-- when George Washington requested a copy of Vattel's Law of Nations in 1789, he had already been familiar with the arguments for independence long before he became the first president. As early as 1773, he seems to have known about and almost certainly have read Vattel's work. And I have something to show you to prove that. In a shipment request dated October 6th, 1773, George Washington submitted a list of authors that included Hutchison, Ferguson, Grotius, Smith, Monstequieu and, of course, Vattel. Fluent in French and verse in Latin many of the founding fathers engaged with political writings that derive their rights and duties of states from those of individuals placed in their natural condition of perfect equality. The essential analogy between free persons and sovereign states provided the ideal context for making claims for independence of the newly formed United States. From Hobbes to Pufendorf, European political thinkers preoccupied the minds of the participants in the central debate over justifying revolution and independence. Connected by similar experiences of oppression and dependence, Europe and American could not have been brought any closer in their ideological proximity in addressing the fundamental question of how to secure a free and independent state. The political theory of John Locke, whom Jefferson called, you may be familiar with this, it's actually here in the Library of Congress, this is Jefferson's own writing. He called the three greatest men, John Locke was one of them that ever lived without any exception. And by the way, you see in these circles Bacon and Newton are the other two in addition to Locke. Those three for Jefferson had been-- that it was has been widely noted and taken for granted. The alienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness and shrine in the declaration of independence continually get attributed to John Locke and his idea of life, liberty and state. But few, if any would link Vattel's language of rights and sovereignty with that of the founding document. This is what I'm trying to do in my own project, part of the explanation for the conventional acceptance of Locke's influence life and chronology. Most scholars have tended to emphasize the influence of Vattel after the revolutionary war and have continued to stress the importance, well, into the present day. Even the Supreme Court affirmed as late as 1978 that Vattel was, I quote, "The international jurist most widely cited in the first 50 years after the Revolution." Propositions make a huge difference for me. So this is after the Revolution. I'm concerned with prior to the revolution. Writing his introduction in 1916 to Vattel's own book, Albert de La Pradelle concurs that the fathers of independence, I quote, "were in a court with the ideas of Vattel and found his-- in his work all the maxims of political liberty." From the mid 1770s, the more the United States progressed, the greater became Vattel's influence, so that in 1780 the Law of Nations became a classic textbook in universities. In fact as early as 1773, it has been on the curriculum of King's College or Columbia University today. But the history of Vattel's presence in America extends even further back by about a decade prior to the 1760s. Much realistic knowledge has been the contribution of his thought to the intellectual debates over independence on the American republic in the yeas leading up to the revolution of 1776. The Law of Nations appeared first in 1758 French, one of the first treaties at that time to have been written in the vernacular rather than the widely used Latin. The first English translation of the work was published anonymously in London in 1759, followed by another English translation in 1760. Only two years later, 1762 in September. Vattel's treaties in fact made its way to New York. It was imported from London. It was made available for purchase from Garrat Noel, the first New York bookseller located on Dock Street in Manhattan. From his shop, Noel also operated what he called a circulating library of several thousand volumes of choice book for those who delight in reading like all of us. And almost certain, the Law of Nations would have been a monkey [phonetic] circulating book, which would have made it even more widely accessible to readership without the means to own a copy of it. John Adams, a delegate to the Continental Congress and later the second US president must have been one of the very first customers to have purchase the Law of Nations. In his diary on February 1st, 1763 or just two months after the book was made available on this side of the Atlantic, John Adams records that after spending the day frivolously, you could ask what he was doing, instead of reading and thinking, " I employed however, too little of my time thinking reading. I might have spent much more." The idea of Mr. Vattel indeed scalding and frowning haunted me. While one they only speculate which specific idea of the treaties may have haunted Adams, it would have been-- it would be possible to suggest that he may have sought to appropriate Vattel's arguments within the larger context of the imperial crisis over the future of the British empire which had brewing since at least 1763. In reading Vattel, Adams must have surely been pretty occupied with establishing the proper relationship between Britain's legitimate power into colonies and the rights of the Americans. Again, the rights of British subjects in the imperial periphery be reconciled with government at its core. As one of the most learned and widely read among the founding fathers, Adams had not only read extensively and was impressed with Vattel, but he was also deeply familiar with the works of those compatriots who had made use of Vattel's ideas. One of the earliest colonial defenders to employ Vattel in political arguments about the power and limits of parliament in the case of the colonies was the Massachusetts lawyer, James Otis whom the young Adams both knew and admired. Educated at Harvard College, James Otis was-- and I'm quoting here from Adams himself, "well versed in Greek and Roman history, philosophy, oratory, poetry, methology," whose "classical studies had been unusually ardent and his acquisitions uncommonly great. He was considered a great master of the law of nature and nations and have read Pufendorf and Vattel." Arguing the famous assistance case for five years in the old statehouse in Boston in 1761 and challenging the authority of parliament on behalf of 53 boss and merchants. Otis made a dramatic speech holding that ultimately the general rich were contrary to both natural law and English practice. The 26 year old Adams was present as described during the actual speech and was so impressed with what he have heard that he described the events on 56 late year later as I quote, "The first scene of the first act of all position to the arbitrary claims of Great Britain. Then and there the child independence was born." This was Adams almost close to the end of his life. Vattel has soon emerged as a political thinker whose treaties provided grounds for resistance against arbitrary of power. And he would subsequently get incorporated into the larger discourse on the origin of government. Otis explained in his-- expanded his argument in the colonists, this is in his work called the rights of the British colonist asserted and proved of 1764. And he extensively cited the position of Vattel to support the authority of parliament of Great Britain that that authority is in fact circumscribed by certain balance which if exceeded their acts become those of mere power without right and consequently void. Such a doctrine is agreeable to the law of nature and nations and Vattel was quoted, "As the authority on the subject rights are derived from nature not from consent." And as Vattel had shown, any violation of the constitution of natural law amounted to a breach of contract. Critics of the very idea of consent objected to the voluntary nature of civil government dismissed such argument as merely I quote, "Chimerical and unsupported by reason and experience." And quote. "Already born into the political compact of society, citizens may not renounce the very protection that bites-- that binds them together." And here is what Otis says about Vattel, I quote, "Those who want a full answer to the question of why consent is the base of any political community may consult, not John Law, but may consult Mr. Vattel on the law of nature and their consciousness." The reference to Vattel in support of the basic claim that any political government rest on the consent of its citizens, and when that trust has been violated, they have the right to resist is unequivocally endorsed as the voice of reason. Otis's inclusion of Vattel in the ranks of Locke and other major political thinkers would baptize the Swiss jurors as the spokesperson for resistance against British rule and in support of waging a just war against it. The reliance on Vattel as the indisputable authority in the major pamphlet of the American revolution paved the way as early as 1764 for a long trajectory of his influence on how the revolutionary framed their arguments for independence. Vattel's argument in defense of political liberty and independence was not confined to political pathway theories in New England nor localized or publish in Boston. Later in the same year, it had spread south to North Carolina, the last remaining original colony to acquire a printing press. And it's customary with most newspapers at that time, it was filled with extensive extracts when works of religious writers and historians as well as essays and text of important legislative acts. In this July 1764 issue, a lone history of the Roman Empire was began and convenient for several succeeding installments only to be followed in September by a celebration of a genius whose book I quote, "is reckoned among the first for learning and rendition and sound reasoning," unquote. It is not entirely incidental that commentaries on Roman history and Vattel's Law of Nations appeared consecutively. Both of them consider liberty and autonomy as foundational to a free society. Now, the central theme of the review of the Law of Nations, which you will see despite the inclusion of long various and carefully selected extracts is the nature of sovereignty, who possesses political authority in a civil society whose end is public happiness. While the priest [phonetic] derived his authority from the nation and the words of the learned author who has strictly and simply invested him with sovereignty, his regal prerogatives are limited to the well being of his subjects and regulated by the fundamental laws. Roman history shows that when supreme authority such as that of Nero has been abused and its holder becomes discouraged of the state and effectively a public enemy, then the nation may and ought to defend itself. So in other words, the argument I'm making is that this review of the Law of Nations as early as 1764 has been engaged with not only in New England but is really moving south in North Carolina. And the main argument essentially is that obedience to authority is based on the consent of the governed. It is established for their common good. And Vattel is used as a preeminent authority to defend that argument. Now, during the First and Second Continental Congress which convened between 1774 and 1781 delegates from all 13 colonies convened to decide on their future. Benjamin Franklin who had put his idea for such a meeting knew his Vattel quite well. Thanks to someone who has remained in my view the most acknowledge inspiration for the American Revolution. And that is the-- in fact I was not able to find his-- in fact, so obscure this person that in fact I've not-- have not been able to find an image. And I cannot show you an image. I tried quite a bit on-- find any images of him on the internet and I have not been able to find any. Who is he? He was a Frenchman or at least he was born a Frenchman, but he resided in the Hake [phonetic]. He was the first American spy who was hired by the Americans but he lived in the Hake. His name was Charles Dumas. Now who is Charles Dumas? He was acting as a secret agent of the American colonies at the Hake and he designed the first revolutionary diplomatic cipher to mask correspondence between the Continental Congress and its foreign agents in Europe and devoted his life to the cause of the American independence. In fact in the view of the first American judge to serve on the permanent court of the international-- of international justice, Dumas described as, and I quote, "With the exception of Adams, Franklin and Jay, Dumas rendered to the American cause in Europe services more important than did any other man." Versed in the ancient classics, and skilled in many modern languages, Dumas edited the original 1758 edition of Vattel's Law of Nations and sends Frankin three copies in French in that same year with the instruction to distribute, I quote, "One for your own library, another for that in Philadelphia and third for such other library and colony as you may choose." That is he's referring to Franklin. Now, an ardent support of the American revolutionaries and their struggles for independence although he himself never crossed the Atlantic, Dumas edited the Law of Nations specifically to aid his American friends and de facto employers in their revolt against the British. He reinvigorated Vattel's arguments for independence and brought out the relevance of the idea of external sovereignty in the context of the Law of Nations. Statehood demands independence internationally. The three copies of the Law of Nations were considered a most timely gift according to Franklin's biographer James Parton, which was, and I quote, "pounced upon by studious members of Congress, groping their way without the light of precedents." Now, upon-- In Philadelphia, Franklin wrote to Dumas in December 19th, 1775 and allow me to read this long letter. Now this is again from-- this is the words of Franklin. "I am much obliged by the kind present," he's referring to Dumas, "you have made us of your edition of Vattel. It came to us in good season, when the circumstances of a rising state make it necessary frequently to consult the Law of Nations. Accordingly, that copy which I kept, after depositing one in my own library and sending the other to the college of Massachusetts Bay, Harvard University, as you directed has been continually in the hands of the members of our congress, now sitting, who are much pleased with your notes and preface, and have entertained a high and just esteem for their author. Your manuscript is also well relished and may in time have its effect," unquote. Now, the fate of the copy that Franklin kept for himself is not known. The second Harvard copy of Dumas Vattel contains a handwritten commentary written by Dumas himself in which he shares his idea upon government and royalty and effectively endorses the urgency of Vattel to the American context of independence. In practicable an consequently used and dangerous to discuss in Europe, Dumas says, "I thought that sowed in America, the Law of Nations would take root there germinate and fructify one day." Now, the third copy that Dumas sent was presented by Franklin to the Library Company of Philadelphia. On October 10th, 1775, the minute from the library's director reads, "Should you may having presented the library with a very late edition of Vattel's law of nature and nations, the board direct the secretary to return that gentleman their thanks," unquote. Now, of all three copies, the third one must almost certainly have been most heavily used namely the copy used by the Continental Congress. And one important reason why the delegates of the First and Second Continental Congress chose to meet in Carpenters Hall, this is the image of Carpenters Hall around 1774. The reason why they chose, I think, and this might be a little bit of a stretch, so I'll take any accusations or any attacks that may come from you, but I think the reason why they chose to meet in Carpenters Hall is for simple reason, the building also has the Library Company of Philadelphia. Its librarians, Francis Damon [assumed spelling] reported that Vattel was one of the main sources consulted by delegates during the First Continental Congress, which met from September 5th to October 26th, 1774. And I quote, this is the librarian of the Library Company of Philadelphia. "Philadelphia has become another Cairo," he wrote, "with this difference that the one is a city swarming with merchants, the other with politician and statesmen," unquote. They debated like philosopher for-- by what I was told and this is him again, "Vattel locked and Montesquiei seemed to be standards to which refer either when settling the rights of colonies or when a dispute arises on the justice of propriety of a measure," unquote. The Library Company already owned a copy of the 1760 English translation of the first French edition of 1758, which may have been received at any time before 1763. So in other words, all I'm saying is there's multiple variants and editions being distributed and circulated. The authority of Vattel on questions on the Law of Nations had thus been well established by the early 1770s. A few months prior to the congressional debates in December 28, 1773 letter from the Library Company of Philadelphia to Benjamin Franklin it stated, I quote, "the books enclosed within wire lattices are kept in one large room and there are available to be consulted by delegates," unquote. By the time Dumas own copy of Vattel reached Philadelphia in 1775, the earlier English translation from 1760 had already been in such heavy use by statesmen that it have been rebound with more modern kind of paper than that upon which the book was originally printed. The study of the Law of Nations by the delegates of the Continental Congress whose task was in Franklin's language to inquire into the circumstances of arising state, and rising is the key point I'm making. Reflected simply the spirit of the declaration of independence itself, its central assertion that governments are instituted to fulfill the inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness owed intellectual debt to Vattel's own argument on legitimacy for our people overthrow a tyrannical sovereign. Governments may not-- may not be usurping the transient-- and governments may not be usurp for transient and trivial causes, but they can be overthrown after a long chain of abuses of their own basic political and social rights. After repeated appeals to the British brethren who remained deaf to the voice of justice and consanguinity, the Americans were prepared to declare their independence from the British ground with a full right of a sovereign government truly-- to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances and establish commerce and to do all other acts and things, which independent states may of right do. The Law of Nations, the book not only a short legitimacy to the claims for independence, it also provided a blueprint for the practice of statehood in the world of sovereigns. The newly founded United States in a confluence of early intended acts and fortunate circumstances will become the first state to make international independence the whole mark of statehood. Like all the other founding fathers who did not demarcate the domestics fear from that of the foreign, Jefferson, and by the way, this building is named after him, he accumulated nearly all treatises on the subject of natural law Grotius, Pufendorf, Wolff and, of course, not one but two different editions of Vattel's Law of Nations. Jefferson's copy of Vattel's later edition which he loan to representative from North Carolina and to another representative from Rhode Island reveals that the cross-- that he cross reference Vattel on the Law of Nations with the work of the German juror George Fredrickson Martins [assumed spelling]. In referencing Vattel's work to that of Bodin, the 16th century political theorist, Jefferson positioned the theory of domestic sovereignty within the larger context of relations between independent states. Sovereignty as independence, the main justification for waging a war against British oppression was located into the larger context of relations between states and the law of nature as applied to them. In bringing my story to an end, allow me to draw three main conclusions. The first one should be quite obvious by now, mainly, that far from being marginal and irrelevant, marginal at best, irrelevant at worst, Vattel was in fact at the heart of debate in the early American republic over the core ideals of the revolution that produced a political conditions for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. While many of us are continually reminded of the impact of John Locke's political theory exercise on the birth of this nation, and I'm not denying that, the authority of Vattel was significantly I think far more reaching and far more lasting. Vattel over lock, conclusion one. Second conclusion, it isn't a way a corollary of the first, while we consistently regard independence as the hard one price of the revolutionaries and I'm not denying that. I think in fact it was interdependence that was central to their ideology. They had to become independent in the first place in order to realize their independence in a world of states. They did so by making use of available language of the Law of Nations, a language which Vattel so conveniently yet, conclusion number two, so unintentionally provided to them. In short the boundary between home and abroad was merely imaginary. Americas have always been part of a much larger world. The third conclusion, and this is the final conclusion I want to leave you with, how we should transform our understanding of the American revolution. Unlike the French revolution, which has always been regarded as truly international in its reach, the American Revolution has generally and there has been recent changes in scholarship on this point, that American revolution has generally been seen as the marking of the birth of a new nation. And I'm not denying that story, but the story I have told you today should unsettle this very common belief. It was not simply a domestic revolution for independence, it was primarily the beginning of the modern state. Writing in 1963, the political thinker, very prominent, Hannah Arendt writes and I quote, "The sad truth of the matter is that the French Revolution, which ended in disaster has made world history, while the American Revolution, so triumphantly successful has remained an event of little more than local importance." The American Revolution as I've to show was an event of a truly global significance whose effects can be felt with us today. Ironically none of these effects were in any way intended by Vattel and yet he would gratefully take credit for them as he should. Thanks for the attention. [ Applause ] So, we should probably take the floor and open it questions. I think we have at least 10 minutes for any questions that anyone may have. Yes, Kennedy? >> Kennedy: That was terrific. And you persuaded me that Vattel is a crucial figure in American Revolution. I want to bring us back to the open remarks you made, however in your lecture, and think in this way, Vattel talks about nations in a context of nature as I understand it. And he talks about state, he doesn't talk about nations [inaudible]. And particularly my question is how we get from these categories of nations and states and impart the distinction that we can gather in 20th, we nation states and [inaudible] this distinction that is embedded in the arguments of Vattel [inaudible] or is it something that comes a little-- >> Theo Christov: Great question. That's really the heart of what I'm trying to do, how we transition from empire to states. Let me just say what Vattel is not doing. Vattel is not endorsing any imperial ways of perpetuating the European experience of empires in the 18th century, he speaks of nations. And actually he speaks of patriarch in the French edition. So he-- he's very much thinking in terms of homelands. He's not thinking in terms of the nation and state as we would understand it today. Now, that is not to say that the revolutionaries were not making use to their own ends, and part of my argument is there have been unintended consequences of using Vattel for purposes of claiming independence in order to claim interdependence among other states. So in other words what I'm trying to say is that Vattel's argument is being used to make claims for external sovereignty. But in order to make a claim for external sovereignty, you have to have a claim to domestic sovereignty. And the thing we've lost track of the second part of the equation, we focus so much on domestic independence and sovereignty, we've lost track of the external sovereignty. I think what Vattel is doing is he's giving us the legitimacy criteria according to which we can make a claim for how a state can become an equal member of the international and I don't like to use the word society of states, but essentially what he is doing is enumerating the conditions on which we can claim independence. And he's making that argument on various point, I'm not going to go too much into it, but he's making distinction between free persons and free states, that there is an analogy between the two. That analogy breaks down because free persons come and institute society, but free states don't necessarily come and institute a global society. But I think what is critical is that Vattel speaks of independence as a condition for interdependence. And I think that part of the argument is taken up by the early Americans. So I think your point is well taken that we have to be careful to speak of nation states in the 20th century and perhaps even how those nation states are being unsettled by non state actors. But I do think Vattel's approach of taking interdependence as a consequent-- consequence of independence is critical that we have to start with independence and then move on to interdependence. I hope that answers part of the question. Yes? >> How, you know, how does this comfort with interdependence that you've spoken off square with Washington's ammunition the steer clear of national attachments on the [inaudible]? >> Theo Christov: Right. So I think what all of these Washington, Franklin, Adams are doing is reading very carefully Vattel as opposed to they are endorsing every single aspect of his theory. But I think in doing so, Vattel really serves as an authority. And I've had conversations with the other colleague fellow Will Slauter on the question of how Vattel is being used as an authority. And I can say a little bit more about that in a more extended answer, but let me just say briefly that, what is a question of authority and how Vattel in late 18th century is being used as a political authority? And the really thing he's being used as a source for intellectual ammunition, there is a bit of a cherry picking going on in the sense that whatever is being convenient from his treaties in his theory, he is being used by many of the frames to make arguments that would be useful to their ends. But fundamentally I think he's being used as an authority and he's eventually addressed as he's just the authority. I mean, Locke is another one and Montesquieu is another one, but Vattel is a true authority in the Law of Nations. So I do think that Washington-- there is a certain selectivity in which he is being used. And by the way, there's a lot more engagements of correspondents that I just couldn't really gage into. But that sort of-- that there is a selective process in which he's being used. [Inaudible]. [ Inaudible Remark ] Yes. [ Inaudible Remark ] The British loved Vattel for one simple reason because he really made very important the question of commerce and how the British have established commercial relations, which needs to be replicated in the rest of Europe. The French did not like Vattel. And in fact, he was published in Amsterdam and London. The very first edition was published in Neuchatel. Although I've-- from what I have read, it's even questionably first published in Neuchatel, but in 1759 an anonymous editor publishes the work in London. I don't think that's insignificant and he praises the British because one simple reason, in addition to the fact that they develop commercial relations, British love liberty in a way that no other nation does. And I think it's very critical for him that he doesn't endorse the French, he doesn't endorse even the Swiss, he himself is a Swiss, he's from Neuchatel. And by the way, he's a contemporary of Rosso, but yet he's very much engaging with the British because they provide that blueprint for liberty. So I do think that he's very much embraced on the island, but within continental Europe, he's much more questionable. And I think this also a very interesting point to make, how he's being used and how his theory has been transformed in the American context. He was not writing for the Americans and yet in the hands, precisely, of the editor Charles Dumas, he was able to be very much used here. And the first part of the question was that on any relation with Grotius? So Grotius was the early 17th century Dutch jurist and Vattel comes about a 130, a 140 years later. It's a very interesting question because Grotius in many ways is seen as much more rigid on the question of intervention. Vattel on the other hand is-- although that's even somewhat questionable, but I think he's much more reserved on the question, can intervention within international relations is that permissible. I think in general Vattel would say no at least in relation to Grotius. What connects both Grotius and Vattel and by the way there's also a third name Pufendorf because in 1785, Immanuel Kant writes of all three of them, Grotius, Pufendorf and Vattel as sorry comforters, why? Simply because they were not-- they were simply very fanciful with their legal theories because you cannot put them in practice. I think it's a struggle we have today. Can international law be imposed or is simple chimerical? According to Immanuel Kant, they were simply chimerical. So Grotius, Vattel and Pufendorf was the three he calls sorry comforters, because they're just comforting us, but actually we should feel sorry for that because they're not really providing anything. But Grotius is very much I think coming out of-- and I have actually a reason to say this, he's really coming out of use especially in 19th century because citations, Vattel in the 19th century in legal-- in the Supreme Court cases, in legal proceedings far exceed those of Grotius and Pufendorf combined. So I think the legacy of Grotius is still there, but I think question is practical use. This was a practical guidebook, Americans really needed that guidebook to kind of struggle with questions of diplomatic practice, relations with other states, Vattel provided that for them. And I think that kind of practicality aspect unlike Grotius who was much more embedded in his context of Portuguese versus Spanish imperial rivalry was much more distance and kind of less practical than someone like Vattel. One more question? Yes? [ Inaudible Remark ] So yeah. Let me-- And I think it's a very good point to kind of end some of my remarks. The question, how can we think of the rise of the American-- of the United States as the emergence of the kind of modernly recognizable modern system? Often times, at least in historiography, people take six and 48 as that kind of foundational year that that was when the treaty of his failure-- the treaties of his failure were signed. And I think there's a good reason to have a marking point. Periodization [phonetic] is always nice. But I think there's lot of issues with that six and 48 date namely that Washington starts to think that this is the birth of the nation state as often times especially in international relations. Scholarship people take that birth date as unequivocally unambiguously central. I think there's issues with that because it's not really until the question of how independence provides the first condition for external recognition. And in many ways that's what I'm trying to argue in my point that you cannot establish external recognition, meaning outside recognizing you as a state before you claim domestic autonomy of a certain kind. Now, there's very-- various ways in which one can establish political autonomy and I think someone like Vattel is more reserved about how he should structure our political system. He's open to various kinds of political systems and political regimes. What is critical is to establish the conditions for domestic sovereignty, then and only then external recondition can be demanded. And that's exactly what I think people like David Armitage for instance have insisted the declaration of independence is a legal document in relation to international law. How the birth of what we can call today international law began by way of moving from independence to interdependence. In other words, you're not simply on autonomous entity existing on your own, but you're in relation in a sort of web of relations with other states. And I think the birth of the United States provides that kind of pivotal moment because in many ways, let's face it, America was a fortunate circumstance, because nature favored them in many ways. And I think that fortunate circumstance provided the impetus for how in the 19th and especially in the second half of the 20th century the number of states would quadruple from about 50 around the time that the founding into United Nations to almost 200 today. And I think Vattel is providing that kind of prescriptive model moving from independence to interdependence. He's also very explicit that independence is can sometimes be very violent and very bloody. It then can go on for sometime. But once you have accomplished that, then you are in a position to-- in my sort of words, you have gained your ticket of admission into that kind of larger international society of states. And the reason why I kind of brought this story of the emergence of the state in the American context is largely because I think it provides that momentum for thinking how a very fortunate nation has come in late 18th century by sometimes [inaudible] circumstances to emerge as a global actor on the international stage, an event which doesn't really happen until-- really until the late 19th, early 20th century. But I do think you can already begin to see how in late 18th century, there is some manifestations of that desire to emerge as an equal act or on the international stage. Yeah. >> Jason Steinhauer: We'll stop there. >> Theo Christov: Thank you so much. [ Applause ] Thank you. >> Speaker 1: This has been a presentation of the Library of Congress. Visit us at




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President At-large Eduardo Bhatia PPD
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Minority Whip District II - Bayamón Carmelo Ríos PNP

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Office District Representative Party
Speaker of the House At-Large Jaime Perelló PPD
Speaker Pro Tem 39th District Roberto Rivera PPD
Majority Leader At-large Charlie Hernández PPD
Majority Whip 20th District Carlos Bianchi Angleró PPD
Minority Leader At-Large Jenniffer González PNP



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District Name Political party
At-large Angel Rosa PPD
At-large Aníbal José Torres PPD
At-large Antonio Fas Alzamora PPD
At-large Cirilo Tirado PPD
At-large Eduardo Bhatia PPD
At-large Rossana López León PPD
District I San Juan José Nadal Power PPD
District I San Juan Ramón Luis Nieves PPD
District IV Mayagüez–Aguadilla Gilberto Rodríguez PPD
District IV Mayagüez–Aguadilla María Teresa González PPD
District V Ponce Martín Vargas Morales PPD
District V Ponce Ramón Ruiz PPD
District VI Guayama Ángel M. Rodríguez Otero PPD
District VI Guayama Miguel A. Pereira PPD
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District VII Humacao José Luis Dalmau PPD
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District VIII Carolina Pedro A. Rodríguez PPD
At-large Itzamar Peña PNP
At-large Larry Seilhamer Rodríguez PNP
At-large Margarita Nolasco PNP
At-large Thomas Rivera Schatz PNP
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District II Bayamón Migdalia Padilla PNP
District III Arecibo Ángel Martínez PNP
District III Arecibo José Joito Pérez PNP
At-large Maria de Lourdes Santiago PIP


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At-large Jorge Colberg Toro PPD
At-large Luis Vega Ramos PPD
District 2 Luis Raúl Torres PPD
District 3 Sonia Pacheco PPD
District 4 José Luis Báez PPD
District 11 Rafael "Tatito" Hernández PPD
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District 1 José "Nuno" López PNP
District 5 Jorge Navarro Suárez PNP
District 6 Antonio "Tony" Soto PNP
District 7 Luis Pérez Ortíz PNP
District 8 Antonio "Toñito" Silva PNP
District 9 Ángel "Gary" Rodríguez PNP
District 10 Pedro Julio Santiago PNP
District 12 Héctor Torres Calderón PNP
District 13 Gabriel Rodríguez Aguiló PNP
District 14 Ricardo Llerandi PNP
District 18 Ángel Muñoz PNP
District 22 Waldemar Quiles Rodríguez PNP
District 24 Luis "Tato" León PNP
District 26 Urayoán Hernández PNP
District 28 Rafael "June" Rivera PNP
District 33 Ángel Peña PNP
District 36 Carlos "Johnny" Méndez PNP
District 37 Ángel Bulerín PNP
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