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The investiture of emperor Charles VI in Brabant and Flanders: a test case for the authority of the new Austrian government

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Abstract
This article focuses upon the investitures of Emperor Charles VI in 1717 in Brabant and Flanders. The purpose of this analysis is to demonstrate that, contrary to what some historians have claimed, the element of direct communication between prince and subjects remained significant at least until the beginning of the eighteenth century. Despite Charles’ assertive attitude, the ceremonies were preceded by a period of intense negotiation, in which the Estates made clear demands. Eventually, however, he acquiesced to some of their requests. These concessions can be placed within a long tradition of modus vivendi between princely centralism and local autonomy in the Southern Netherlands. The sovereign was financially dependent on the Estates, which therefore had a great deal of leverage at their disposal. This vulnerability was compounded by the fact that Charles stood at the head of a new dynasty, the Austrian Habsburgs, which had no tradition of authority in these regions from which to draw upon. Furthermore, the Barrier Treaty’s provisions restricted his sovereignty. His bargaining position influenced the organization of the investitures, thus illustrating that in the early eighteenth century, the sovereign and provincial Estates of the Southern Netherlands were still engaged in a contractual relationship.
Keywords
Estates, limited absolutism, Austrian Netherlands, investiture, ENTRIES, SOUTHERN NETHERLANDS, eighteenth century, Emperor Charles VI

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Chicago
Van Gelder, Klaas. 2011. “The Investiture of Emperor Charles VI in Brabant and Flanders: a Test Case for the Authority of the New Austrian Government.” European Review of History-revue Europeenne D Histoire 18 (4): 443–463.
APA
Van Gelder, Klaas. (2011). The investiture of emperor Charles VI in Brabant and Flanders: a test case for the authority of the new Austrian government. EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE, 18(4), 443–463.
Vancouver
1.
Van Gelder K. The investiture of emperor Charles VI in Brabant and Flanders: a test case for the authority of the new Austrian government. EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE. 2011;18(4):443–63.
MLA
Van Gelder, Klaas. “The Investiture of Emperor Charles VI in Brabant and Flanders: a Test Case for the Authority of the New Austrian Government.” EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE 18.4 (2011): 443–463. Print.
@article{1168007,
  abstract     = {This article focuses upon the investitures of Emperor Charles VI in 1717 in Brabant and Flanders. The purpose of this analysis is to demonstrate that, contrary to what some historians have claimed, the element of direct communication between prince and subjects remained significant at least until the beginning of the eighteenth century. Despite Charles{\textquoteright} assertive attitude, the ceremonies were preceded by a period of intense negotiation, in which the Estates made clear demands. Eventually, however, he acquiesced to some of their requests. These concessions can be placed within a long tradition of modus vivendi between princely centralism and local autonomy in the Southern Netherlands. The sovereign was financially dependent on the Estates, which therefore had a great deal of leverage at their disposal. This vulnerability was compounded by the fact that Charles stood at the head of a new dynasty, the Austrian Habsburgs, which had no tradition of authority in these regions from which to draw upon. Furthermore, the Barrier Treaty{\textquoteright}s provisions restricted his sovereignty. His bargaining position influenced the organization of the investitures, thus illustrating that in the early eighteenth century, the sovereign and provincial Estates of the Southern Netherlands were still engaged in a contractual relationship.},
  author       = {Van Gelder, Klaas},
  issn         = {1350-7486},
  journal      = {EUROPEAN REVIEW OF HISTORY-REVUE EUROPEENNE D HISTOIRE},
  keyword      = {Estates,limited absolutism,Austrian Netherlands,investiture,ENTRIES,SOUTHERN NETHERLANDS,eighteenth century,Emperor Charles VI},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {4},
  pages        = {443--463},
  title        = {The investiture of emperor Charles VI in Brabant and Flanders: a test case for the authority of the new Austrian government},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13507486.2011.590183},
  volume       = {18},
  year         = {2011},
}

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