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Équilibre et hiérarchie: l'argument juridique dans la diplomatie française et anglaise après la Paix d'Utrecht

Frederik Dhondt (UGent)
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Abstract
The Peace Treaties of Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden (1713-1715) marked the end of a century of bloodshed caused by wars among European monarchs. The exceptional parenthesis of stability from the War of the Spanish Succession to the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), or the War for Jenkins’ Ear (1739-1748), has thus far not received a satisfying overarching interpretation in historiography. The present contribution argues that part of the answer lies in a legal reading of the available diplomatic sources (I). Historiography of international law has thus far focused mainly on doctrine and published treaties. This contrasts with the importance accorded in present-day international law to state practice. Whereas lawyers recognise the importance of state acceptance and norm opposability, legal historians tend to leave this important element to diplomatic history. Yet, legal questions dominated both negotiations on the Spanish Succession (1659-1715) and the implementation of the peace treaties (1713-1740). Late 17th and early 18th-century diplomacy can thus serve as a case to demonstrate there the need for further research on the legal structure of diplomatic argument. Stability in Europe was only achieved through renunciation declarations, entrenched in public international law (II). In the French case, Philip V’s declaration was seen as a violation of loix fondamentales. Britain, on the other hand, needed international support in the application of the 1701 Act of Settlement. Consequently, the consistent application of norm hierarchy between treaty law and internal law was the leitmotiv for Franco-British joint efforts to enforce the Utrecht consensus (III), starting with the bilateral Franco-British Alliance (1716), the Triple (1717) and Quadruple Alliance (1718). The 1720s and 1730s witnessed an erosion of political backing for these policies. Yet, the combination of balance of power and norm hierarchy discourse survived during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738).
Keywords
18th Century History, War of the Spanish Succession, Legal History, International Law, International Relations

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Chicago
Dhondt, Frederik. 2016. “Équilibre Et Hiérarchie: L’argument Juridique Dans La Diplomatie Française Et Anglaise Après La Paix d'Utrecht.” In Actes Du Colloque Thémis En Diplomatie: L’argument Juridique Dans Les Relations Internationales De L'antiquité Tardive Au XVIIIe Siècle [Collection Histoire], ed. Nicolas Drocourt and Schnakenbourg Eric, 67–83. Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes.
APA
Dhondt, F. (2016). Équilibre et hiérarchie: l’argument juridique dans la diplomatie française et anglaise après la Paix d'Utrecht. In N. Drocourt & S. Eric (Eds.), Actes du Colloque Thémis en Diplomatie: L’argument juridique dans les relations internationales de l'antiquité tardive au XVIIIe siècle [Collection Histoire] (pp. 67–83). Presented at the Colloque Thémis en Diplomatie: L’argument juridique dans les relations internationales de l'antiquité tardive au XVIIIe siècle, Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes.
Vancouver
1.
Dhondt F. Équilibre et hiérarchie: l’argument juridique dans la diplomatie française et anglaise après la Paix d'Utrecht. In: Drocourt N, Eric S, editors. Actes du Colloque Thémis en Diplomatie: L’argument juridique dans les relations internationales de l'antiquité tardive au XVIIIe siècle [Collection Histoire]. Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes; 2016. p. 67–83.
MLA
Dhondt, Frederik. “Équilibre Et Hiérarchie: L’argument Juridique Dans La Diplomatie Française Et Anglaise Après La Paix d'Utrecht.” Actes Du Colloque Thémis En Diplomatie: L’argument Juridique Dans Les Relations Internationales De L'antiquité Tardive Au XVIIIe Siècle [Collection Histoire]. Ed. Nicolas Drocourt & Schnakenbourg Eric. Rennes: Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2016. 67–83. Print.
@inproceedings{5752106,
  abstract     = {The Peace Treaties of Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden (1713-1715) marked the end of a century of bloodshed caused by wars among European monarchs. The exceptional parenthesis of stability from the War of the Spanish Succession to the War of the Austrian Succession (1740-1748), or the War for Jenkins{\textquoteright} Ear (1739-1748), has thus far not received a satisfying overarching interpretation in historiography. The present contribution argues that part of the answer lies in a legal reading of the available diplomatic sources (I). Historiography of international law has thus far focused mainly on doctrine and published treaties. This contrasts with the importance accorded in present-day international law to state practice. Whereas lawyers recognise the importance of state acceptance and norm opposability, legal historians tend to leave this important element to diplomatic history. Yet, legal questions dominated both negotiations on the Spanish Succession (1659-1715) and the implementation of the peace treaties (1713-1740). Late 17th and early 18th-century diplomacy can thus serve as a case to demonstrate there the need for further research on the legal structure of diplomatic argument. 
Stability in Europe was only achieved through renunciation declarations, entrenched in public international law (II). In the French case, Philip V{\textquoteright}s declaration was seen as a violation of loix fondamentales. Britain, on the other hand, needed international support in the application of the 1701 Act of Settlement. Consequently, the consistent application of norm hierarchy between treaty law and internal law was the leitmotiv for Franco-British joint efforts to enforce the Utrecht consensus (III), starting with the bilateral Franco-British Alliance (1716), the Triple (1717) and Quadruple Alliance (1718). The 1720s and 1730s witnessed an erosion of political backing for these policies. Yet, the combination of balance of power and norm hierarchy discourse survived during the War of the Polish Succession (1733-1738).},
  author       = {Dhondt, Frederik},
  booktitle    = {Actes du Colloque Th{\'e}mis en Diplomatie: L'argument juridique dans les relations internationales de l'antiquit{\'e} tardive au XVIIIe si{\`e}cle [Collection Histoire]},
  editor       = {Drocourt, Nicolas and Eric, Schnakenbourg},
  isbn         = {9782753551237},
  issn         = {1255-2364},
  keyword      = {18th Century History,War of the Spanish Succession,Legal History,International Law,International Relations},
  language     = {fre},
  location     = {Nantes, France},
  pages        = {67--83},
  publisher    = {Presses universitaires de Rennes},
  title        = {{\'E}quilibre et hi{\'e}rarchie: l'argument juridique dans la diplomatie fran\c{c}aise et anglaise apr{\`e}s la Paix d'Utrecht},
  year         = {2016},
}