HIS103 - The Practice of the Balance of Power

HIS103 - The Practice of the Balance of Power - The...

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The Practice of the Balance of Power, 1715-1740 Wednesday, October 20 th / 2010 The first emergence of a functioning international system A system marked by systematic restraint exhibited by the members of the system in pursuit of their national interest and moderation Restraint limited agendas The conflicts were limited, and were conducted in a restrained fashion This came about from the product of an idea, the survival of individual states was best guaranteed by an international equilibrium (or balance of power) Safety in organized numbers; collective security via mutual balance/the right to exist was the ultimate guarantee In a way it emerged in Europe for obvious reasons – Europe did not produce a state powerful enough to dominate its entire navy’s, no European “china” style power which could execute total domination, so really the states should have destroyed themselves through constant warfare Instead, created the idea of “a balance” (this was part of the general intellectual baggage of the turn of the 17 th and 18 th century) Just as Newton discovered the universe was held in balance (the laws of gravity), idea of a parallel (the political cosmos) could be maintained as a constant equilibrium – struck a chord with him
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HIS103 - The Practice of the Balance of Power - The...

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