June 11, 1895: Judson Harmon, U.S. Attorney General and the Rio Grande

0611 Judson HarmonJune 11, 1895: First day of tenure of Judson Harmon as U.S. Attorney General. “Harmon issued the most explicit statement of what became known as the American doctrine of absolute sovereignty, that “the rules, principles and precedents of international law impose no liability or obligation upon the United States,” in a case involving a claim by Mexico for damages from diverting the waters of the Rio Grande.” Or, as one source put it: “US Attorney General Judson Harmon tells Mexico that the US will ‘do whatever it pleases’ with water from the Rio Grande.”

Commentary:  Even for those days, this was a pretty amazing statement.

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