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Key figures of the political and legal thought were nothing less subjective to this sway. Similar division is made in the study of international relations. In a historical perspective, the realist thinkers were influenced by war, while their liberal counterparts understood advantages of an absence of conflict.
Thus, Thucydides, an Athenian historian and general in the Peloponnesian war of the 5th century BC, is commonly called "the father of the school of political realism, who views the political behavior of individuals and the subsequent outcomes of relations between states as ultimately mediated by and constructed upon the emotions of fear and self-interest."
The most famous quotation by Thucydides is: "Right, as the world goes, is only in question between equals in power, while the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must." [History of the Peloponnesian War, p.397].
Following his footsteps, Thomas Hobbes, surrounded by horrors of the English Revolution in middle of 17th century, wrote his best-known work, Leviathan, which is actually name of a biblical beast, to describe what a state needs to be in circumstances of uncertainty and instability. The light motif of his theory is understanding that in absence of the absolute state, anarchy rules, namely there is "warre of every man against every man" [Leviathan, p.76].
Opposite to them, Hugo Grotius was not the first to formulate the international society doctrine, but he was one of the first to define expressly the idea of one society of states, governed not by force or warfare but by actual laws and mutual agreement to enforce those laws. As Australian international relations thinker Hedley Bull wrote: "The idea of international society which Grotius propounded was given concrete expression in the Peace of Westphalia, and Grotius may be considered the intellectual father of this first general peace settlement of modern times." This can be seen in the context of economical growth in the Dutch Republic, which made him understand values of free trade among nations.
If the previous one set up foundations of international law, for John Locke who is often referred to as the "Father of Liberalism". Unlike Hobbes's traumatic experience with Oliver Cromwell, John Locke was one of the protagonists of the Glorious Revolution in 1688, almost totally bloodless. In his book The Second Treatise of Government, John Locke writes: "The state of nature has a law of nature to govern it, which obliges every one: and reason, which is that law, teaches all mankind, who will but consult it, that being all equal and independent, no one ought to harm another in his life, health, liberty, or possessions." Contrary to Hobbes, he insisted that the absolute state is not necessary to preserve social peace, but a liberal state should only prevent violation of basic human rights.
These four great thinkers are relevant to us because they set up the foundation of our ways of political thinking, modern state, policies that we apply and offered ideas that shaped modern international law. As they inspired many generation of thinkers in the centuries that followed, how do you see their legacy and relevance for contemporary and future of international law?