The Reading Room

The Best of the OLL No. 56: Hugo Grotius, “The Preliminary Discourse Concerning the Certainty of Right” (1625)

This is part of “The Best of the Online Library of Liberty” which is a collection of some of the most important material in the OLL. At the beginning of his book on *The Rights of War and Peace* Grotius wrote a short “Prolegomena” (Introductory Essay) in which he summarizes his views about natural rights and natural laws. This excerpt comes from the first part of the “Prolegomena.” According to his understanding of human beings, Grotius believed that they were by nature sociable creatures and that the purpose of natural rights, especially the right of property, was to enable them to live together in peace and prosperity.