Alejandro Álvarez's Latin American Law: A Question of Identity Article

Esquirol, JL. (2006). Alejandro Álvarez's Latin American Law: A Question of Identity . 19(4), 931-956. 10.1017/S0922156506003700

cited authors

  • Esquirol, JL



  • This essay focuses on Alejandro Álvarez's seminal article, ‘Latin America and International Law’, published in 1909 in the American Journal of International Law. Offering and in-depth analysis of the text, it foregrounds the strategic meaning of Álvarez's work in the light of the international politics of his day. It posits that, more than simply a diplomatic history of Latin American particularity, Álvarez presents the case for a different hemispheric international order, based on an ‘American international law’ extending to the United States. He draws primarily an Latin American Precedents – based on historical and stituational commonalities – to argue for a common public law. He then grafts an idiosyncratic interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine as the United States' main contribution to this common law, as well as the fact of US sponsorship of various Americas-wide conferences resulting in the ratification of regional treaties. Notably, and this is one of the main points of this is one of the main points of this essay, Álvarez elevates certain Latin American states as leaders in regional international law and capable agents of its enforcement across the hemisphere. In short, this essay advances the claim that Álvarez's project of pan-American law in effect entreats the United States to share its hegemony and wield its power in the region jointly with Latin America's ‘better-constituted’ states. © 2006, Foundation of the Leiden Journal of International Law. All rights reserved.

publication date

  • January 1, 2006

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

start page

  • 931

end page

  • 956


  • 19


  • 4