• Born on April 10, 1583
  • Deft, Holland
  • Worked as a jurist in the Dutch republic
  • Laid the foundations for the international law
  • With Francisco de Vitoria and Alberico Gentili
  • Philosopher, Theologian, Christian apologist, Playwright and Poet
  • Key works: Mare Liberum and De Jure Belli ac Pacis

Early Life

  • Born in Deft, Holland
  • First child
  • Jan de Groot and Alida van Overschie
  • Groomed at early age in a traditional humanist and Aristotelian education
  • Entered University of Leiden
  • He was 11 years old
  • Earned an appointment as advocate in 1599

To The Hague

  • Third largest city in Netherlands
  • Seat of the Dutch parliament, government, and royal court
  • Became official historiographer
  • For the states of Holland in 1601
  • Wrote about the issues of international justice in 1604

Natural Law

  • A perspective judgment where things can be considered good or bad according to their own nature
  • Hypothetical argument:
  • Natural Law is still valid if God does not exist or if God is not interested in human affairs
  • Believed that God was no longer the only source of ethical qualities

Key Works

  • Mare Liberum
  • Translated as The Free Sea
  • Formulated a principle
  • Sea was international territory
  • All nations are free to use it for sea surfing trade
  • Provided ideological justification for the Dutch to break up various trade monopolies
  • Argued that freedom of sea is key aspect in communications between people and nations
  • Believed that ruling over the sea is against natural law
  • War is violating Natural Law
  • But necessary
  • Produced Just War doctrine
  • Jus ad bellum
  • Rightful causes of war
  • Jus in bello
  • Rightful conduct of war
  • If nation wants to enter war
  • Ensure that purpose of war = obtain rights
  • War is the last resort when conciliation failed
  • Religious war is unjust
  • Religion is inner conviction
Rodman Edward Serling: Twilight Zone & Biography

Conference and negotiations

  • Concessions
  • Single combat/Choosing by lot
  • Moral conducts during war
  • Protect non combatant
  • Treat hostages and prisoners humanly
  • Protect property from destruction
  • Recognized sovereign states as basic units of international law
  • Law of nations have more extensive rights
  • Authority from all, if not, many nations
  • Grotius’ personal motto was:
  • “Ruit Hora” which means “Time is running away”
  • Last words were:
  • “By understanding many things, I have accomplished nothing.”

Can We Help with Your Assignment?

Let us do your homework! Professional writers in all subject areas are available and will meet your assignment deadline. Free proofreading and copy-editing included.

Cite this article as: William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team), "Hugo Grotius: Biography & Contributions," in SchoolWorkHelper, 2019, https://schoolworkhelper.net/hugo-grotius-biography-contributions/.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments