Political Theory

Limits of State Sovereignty: Revolution, Intervention, and Secession


This conference explored a series of fundamental issues dealing with the limits of state sovereignty. The conference readings, a mix of classic and contemporary works, focused on the political and moral issues involved in revolutions, military and humanitarian interventions, and secessions.


Conference Readings

Chatterjee, Dean and Don Scheid, eds. Ethics and Foreign Intervention. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Cohen, Andrew and Christopher Heath Wellman, eds. Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics. Malden, Massachusetts: Wiley Blackwell, 2014.

Lincoln, Abraham. “Message to Congress in Special Session,” July 4, 1861.

Parker, Joel. “The Right of Secession: A Review of the Message of Jefferson Davis to the Congress of the Confederate States,” Spring 1861.

Buchanan, Allen. “Toward a Theory of Secession.” Ethics 101 (1991): 322-342.

Buchanan, Allen. “The Ethics of Revolution and Its Implications for the Ethics of Intervention.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 41 (2013): 291-323.

Kant, Immanuel. Metaphysical Elements of Justice, 2nd edition [the complete text of the Metaphysics of Morals, Part 1]. Translated by John Ladd. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1999.

Locke, John. Second Treatise on Government. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1980.

Mill, John Stuart. The Collected Works of John Stuart Mill, Volume 21: Essays on Equality, Law, and Education. Edited by John M. Robson. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1963.

Smith, Matthew Noah. “Rethinking Sovereignty, Rethinking Revolution.” Philosophy & Public Affairs 36 (2008): 405-440.

Sunstein, Cass. “Constitutionalism and Secession.” The University of Chicago Law Review (2008): 633-670.

Walzer, Michael. Arguing About War. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2004.