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Competing Discourses Between Prince and Estates: The Case of the Austrian Netherlands and the Search for Government Compromises (ca. 1716-1735)

(2015)
Author
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Abstract
In 1716, as one of the outcomes of the War of the Spanish Succession and the peace settlement of Utrecht, Austria assumed power in the Southern Netherlands. The Austrian Habsburg rulers had no government experience in these war-torn and faraway territories, nor had they clear-cut objectives with respect to these lands. Moreover, the assumption of power by Emperor Charles VI was not at all self-evident and had even been contested. Therefore, the new government and the Estates engaged in a long and complex set of negotiations, debating institutional, financial and commercial matters, and even the question of whether the new ruler, Emperor Charles VI, was legitimately reigning the Southern Netherlands or not. In my presentation, I will argue that both sides of the spectrum rulers and ruled – Charles VI and his government apparatus on the one hand and the Estates’ assemblies representing the inhabitants of the different principalities on the other – searched for a modus vivendi fitting their own interests, but in doing so they adopted diverging conceptions of what was good governance and what was the best for the country. Both sides often based their claims on the same vaguely defined sets of privileges and traditions, for example the so-called Spanish tradition, but employed them for different goals. By analyzing the debates within specific dossiers, such as the implementation of French-style intendants, I will highlight the different discourses on governance. Most importantly, this presentation shows that the actual policy in an Early Modern composite monarchy was the result of constant negotiations in which conceptions of governance only gradually crystallized. Regime changes constitute unique analytic moments to study these interactions and discourses.

Citation

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Chicago
Van Gelder, Klaas. 2015. “Competing Discourses Between Prince and Estates: The Case of the Austrian Netherlands and the Search for Government Compromises (ca. 1716-1735).” In .
APA
Van Gelder, Klaas. (2015). Competing Discourses Between Prince and Estates: The Case of the Austrian Netherlands and the Search for Government Compromises (ca. 1716-1735). Presented at the 45th Annual Conference of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.
Vancouver
1.
Van Gelder K. Competing Discourses Between Prince and Estates: The Case of the Austrian Netherlands and the Search for Government Compromises (ca. 1716-1735). 2015.
MLA
Van Gelder, Klaas. “Competing Discourses Between Prince and Estates: The Case of the Austrian Netherlands and the Search for Government Compromises (ca. 1716-1735).” 2015. Print.
@inproceedings{5841494,
  abstract     = {In 1716, as one of the outcomes of the War of the Spanish Succession and the peace settlement of Utrecht, Austria assumed power in the Southern Netherlands. The Austrian Habsburg rulers had no government experience in these war-torn and faraway territories, nor had they clear-cut objectives with respect to these lands. Moreover, the assumption of power by Emperor Charles VI was not at all self-evident and had even been contested. Therefore, the new government and the Estates engaged in a long and complex set of negotiations, debating institutional, financial and commercial matters, and even the question of whether the new ruler, Emperor Charles VI, was legitimately reigning the Southern Netherlands or not. In my presentation, I will argue that both sides of the spectrum rulers and ruled -- Charles VI and his government apparatus on the one hand and the Estates{\textquoteright} assemblies representing the inhabitants of the different principalities on the other -- searched for a modus vivendi fitting their own interests, but in doing so they adopted diverging conceptions of what was good governance and what was the best for the country. Both sides often based their claims on the same vaguely defined sets of privileges and traditions, for example the so-called Spanish tradition, but employed them for different goals. By analyzing the debates within specific dossiers, such as the implementation of French-style intendants, I will highlight the different discourses on governance. Most importantly, this presentation shows that the actual policy in an Early Modern composite monarchy was the result of constant negotiations in which conceptions of governance only gradually crystallized. Regime changes constitute unique analytic moments to study these interactions and discourses.},
  author       = {Van Gelder, Klaas},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {St Hugh's College, Oxford},
  title        = {Competing Discourses Between Prince and Estates: The Case of the Austrian Netherlands and the Search for Government Compromises (ca. 1716-1735)},
  year         = {2015},
}