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Legitimacy in International Society$
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Ian Clark

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199219193

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219193.001.0001

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Utrecht: Consensus, Balance of Power, and Legitimacy

Utrecht: Consensus, Balance of Power, and Legitimacy

(p.71) 4 Utrecht: Consensus, Balance of Power, and Legitimacy
Legitimacy in International Society

Ian Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The Utrecht settlement refers to the complex of treaties, signed in the period 1713-14, which brought an end to the wars of Spanish Succession. These treaties were devoted principally to the conditions on which the members of the Grand Alliance secured future peace with Louis XIV's France, and separately, to the effective partition of the Spanish territories. This chapter explains what the settlement was about, why it has been regarded as significant by various historians and international relations scholars, and how it relates to the developing practices of legitimacy within international society. It shows how a traditionally dominant conception of rightful membership — through the principle of legitimate succession — was challenged and subordinated to international regulation, and in particular to a governing principle of the balance of power. It also explores the elaboration of various aspects of rightful conduct as manifested in the modalities of treaty-making, the articulation of a basic notion of consensus, and the self-conscious promotion of a societal norm of equilibrium. Finally, it reflects on the complex interrelationship between the extent of the consensus around the treaty and the then prevailing balance of power.

Keywords:   Utrecht settlement, treaties, Spanish Succsssion, rightful membership, international society

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