freedom of the seas

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freedom of the seas

  1. (law) The doctrine, widely recognized in international law, that, outside of narrow territorial limits, the oceans are open to unhindered navigation by vessels of all countries.
    • 1865 Sept. 3, "The Naval Fetes at Cherbourg," New York Times (retrieved 22 June 2014):
      [T]he time of hostile rivalry between the two countries had passed away. There now only remained emulation in doing everything that could advance the cause of civilization and liberty. "The freedom of the seas, pacific contests in labor, and the beneficent conquests of commerce" were meant by the union of the flags of England and France.
    • 1916, John Buchan, chapter 3, in Greenmantle:
      Blenkiron said that Germany was right in wanting the freedom of the seas, and that America would back her up, and that the British Navy was a bigger menace to the peace of the world than the Kaiser's army.
    • 2011 June 21, Jason Hall-Spencer, "A steward for our oceans," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 22 June 2014):
      In the 17th century Hugo Grotius developed the doctrine of the "freedom of the seas", in the face of Portuguese and Spanish claims to sovereignty over vast areas of ocean.

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