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3 - The Lore and Laws of Peace-Making in Early Modern and Nineteenth-Century European Peace Treaties

from Part I - Historical Dimensions to Peace Settlement Practice

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 January 2021

Marc Weller
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Mark Retter
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
Andrea Varga
Affiliation:
University of Cambridge
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Summary

This chapter traces the practice of concluding peace treaties in Early Modern Europe, characterised by the increasing standardisation of clauses, as well as the influence of the concept of legal (or formal) war alongside that of just war. While just war retained an important role in the justification of war, treaty-making practice tended to rely on legal war, which produced a dualist logic in both war-waging and peace-making. Over time, the settlement of territorial conflicts moved from pre-existing claims and rights to conquest as a basis; dynastic legitimacy was subordinated to the raison d’etat. Increasingly standardised amnesty and restitution clauses, retractions of letters of reprisal, and provisions on prisoners of war likewise bore the influence of the legal war concept. Finally, to deal with the ever wider disruption caused by war, separate FCN treaties emerged alongside peace treaties. Later on, the 1919 Treaty of Versailles marked a brief return to a discriminatory concept of war, but its longer-lasting impact was on collective security and compensation of war damage for citizens.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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