This book examines the European roots of humanitarian intervention as a concept and international practice during the nineteenth century, with particular emphasis on the politics and policies of Great Britain and France. It challenges two assumptions: first, that humanitarian intervention is a phenomenon of international relations that appeared after the end of the Cold War and second, that it emerged abruptly during the nineteenth century. Focusing on the Ottoman Empire, the book investigates when, where, who, how, and for what reasons a humanitarian intervention was undertaken from 1815 to 1914. It argues that the primary motivation of humanitarian intervention is to end massacre, atrocity, and extermination or to prevent the repetition of such events, to protect civilian populations mistreated and unprotected by the target-state government, agents, or authorities. This introduction discusses the concept of rights, including natural rights, before the nineteenth century and provides an overview of the questions, assumptions, and issues raised in the book.
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