JANUARY 23, 2012: Continuing States and Regimes
The state is the fundamental principle of political organization in the modern and
Philpott is talking about the evolution of inter-state society in Europe. He doesn’t
take a long run perspective. His argument is about the Peace of Westphalia as a
point that crystalized the long run dynamics that have been contributing to the
politics we associate with the territorial state. His account is conventional because
of the importance he places on the treaty of Westphalia (a popular view among
political science), but it is unique because of the way he links the Treaty of
Westphalia to religious conflict in Europe→ he calls it a “fulcrum,” and it is a critical
juncture in European political history. The principles embedded in it are “robust” or
have enduring consequences that stretch well into the future.
Westphalia’s 4 enduring principles/legacy:
1. It was comprehensive (principles were to apply to all of Europe).
2. It rejected universal papal and imperial authority in favour of state autonomy.
3. It treats states as formally equal, whatever their domestic capabilities or capacity.
4. The principles of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of state (recognition of
state sovereignty within the border of the state in question).
The legacy distinguished between domestic hierarchy and interstate anarchy, so the
state becomes central to modern political life.
Philpott’s connection between Westphalia and religious conflict:
o Westphalia consolidates a process of historical change (the emergence of the
state as a political actor).
o There is a “before Westphalia” and an “after Westphalia,” because it sets
Europe off on a new path. It was a political settlement after a war.
o Westphalia elevates the state and diminished empire as forms of political
o It is a political settlement, but also a religious settlement→ it removed
religion as a cause of war between and amongst states.
o The principle of non-intervention was introduced (for religious reasons),
and meant no intervention to contest religion in another’s territory.
o This political settlement is considered a protestant victory in the wars of
religion, because it allowed wide parts of Europe to remain protestant→
which is the connection between the protestant reformation and sovereign
o Contra-factual argument: No Protestant Reformation = No peace of
Westphalia (this is what makes it a fulcrum)
o There are certain ideas or propositions in the Protestant Reformation, which
connect it to the Peace of Westphalia. Philpott calls them Protestant
Propositions, because they were taken up by actors and led to mobilization.
These propositions are connected to Catholicism because in the first
instance they were a challenge to the Catholic Church, and were considered
heresy. The challenge in Protestantism to a universal religion and how it is
organized political in the form of Empire. The reformation implies national
churches, organized within a territorial ground and organized by a
territorial government. Political sovereignty defined within state borders.
The essence of sovereignty springs from the works or words of the
Protestant Reformation. o In European political history there are 2 types of challenges of Catholicism→
the democratic Republican challenge, and the challenge connected to the
Protestant Reformation (entrenches an enduring political principle of
organization, i.e. The state). It is possible to imagine a Protestant monarch,
which is the different between the prot