Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
MODUS VIVENDI. The law of nations formulates the laws, rules and usages in force among the different states. But that these laws, rules and usages may be considered as in force, it is necessary that the states should have recognized each other, that is to say, it is necessary that they should mutually consider each other as states. Now, it may happen, for one reason or another, that a government does not wish to, or can not, morally, recognize a given state; if this state is situated at a distance, it has only to be ignored; it is treated as if it did not exist. There may be then, it is true, some difficulties for such subjects of the government as are obliged to visit such a country, and who have to put themselves under the protection of another state, but there is no difficulty between the two governments. The case is not the same when the two powers are contiguous. It is then impossible for them to ignore each other, they must live together, and then it may be desirable to establish a modus vivendi. Generally such a situation is settled by a war, but when Cavour first used this expression in 1860, war between Italy and the pope was morally and politically impossible. After the installation of the Italian government at Rome, it was necessary to seek a modus vivendi for the relations between the king and the pope.
—This expression, of which we find no trace in treatises on international law yet published, is of quite frequent use at present, and, the word being found, the situation would appear to be more frequent than during the past, the more so since war is not so easily decided upon, when it is necessary to put millions of men on foot and expend billions of money.
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