Chapter

State and Nation the French Revolution

David Armstrong

in Revolution and World Order

Published in print June 1993 | ISBN: 9780198275282
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598739 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198275285.003.0004
 State and Nation the French Revolution

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The question of the origins of the French revolutionary wars is controversial, with some seeing them as fundamentally ideological, others as power‐political. The Revolution undermined in some significant respect the central assumptions of the Westphalian conception of international society by advancing a new understanding of international legitimacy, through its cosmopolitan aspects, through its challenge to international law and diplomacy, and through its transformation of warfare. The vigour of the counter‐revolutionary response, particularly from Prussia and Austria, derived in large part from a perception that the Revolution posed a challenge to the international system as a whole. Napoleon also threatened the balance of power in Europe.

Keywords: balance of power; cosmopolitanism; counter‐revolution; diplomacy; French Revolution; ideology; international law; international legitimacy; international society; Napoleon

Chapter.  12940 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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