Skip to main content

Paris, Declaration of

Declaration of Paris, 1856, agreement concerning the rules of maritime warfare, issued at the Congress of Paris. It was the first major attempt to codify the international law of the sea. Conflicting methods used in dealing with property at sea had demonstrated the need for uniformity, while the respect paid to neutral rights in the Crimean War indicated that common principles of action would be accepted by the great powers. Four principles were enunciated by the declaration: privateering would no longer be considered legal; a neutral flag would protect the goods of an enemy, except for contraband of war; neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, would not be liable to capture when under the enemy's flag; a blockade would be binding only if it prevented access to the coast of the enemy. At first the United States refused to accept the declaration, claiming that privateers were necessary if a nation did not have a strong navy. However, the United States accepted the declaration during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War. At the beginning of World War I prize courts recognized the declaration, but submarine warfare and extensive lists of contraband negated its principles. Part of its aims were restated in 1909 in the Declaration of London, but technological advances made many of its provisions inapplicable in 20th-century warfare.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Paris, Declaration of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 16 Jul. 2019 <>.

"Paris, Declaration of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (July 16, 2019).

"Paris, Declaration of." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 16, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.