Chapter

Westphalia: The Origins of International Legitimacy?

Ian Clark

in Legitimacy in International Society

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780199219193
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191717734 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199219193.003.0004
Westphalia: The Origins of International Legitimacy?

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In 1648, a peace settlement was struck at Westphalia that combined the Münster Treaties (the Empire and France) and Osnabrück (the Empire and Sweden). This settlement has long enjoyed iconic status in the study of international relations. This chapter examines the notion of society as constituted by mutual recognition, and on a procedural principle of international consensus. Many of the terms of the treaties touched upon these issues of rightful membership and rightful conduct. More fundamentally, what was at stake in Westphalia was the capacity of an international forum, acting for an embryonic international society, to stake out a position on these matters at all. Evidence in support of such an interpretation is investigated.

Keywords: Westphalia; Munster Treateis; Osnabruck; international relations; international society

Chapter.  10211 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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