HIS103Y Lecture 11 October 24th The Peace of Utrecht-Rastadt and The Theory and Practice of the Balance of Power, 1715-1740
University of Toronto St. George
HIS103Y Lecture 11 October 24th
The Peace of Utrecht-Rastadt and
The Theory and Practice of the Balance of Power, 1715-1740.
• One principle of the Treaty of Utrecht that characterizes it as the first functioning
international order the first system of balance of power
• This principle was public/ international law in which ‘balance of power’ was
directly cited as the source of the peace settlement
• Anglo-Spanish treaty July 1713 ‘an exact balance of power is the best basis for
mutual friendship and enduring concord in every respect’
• Peace and stability is not formed by principles but by practical foreign policies
that respect these principles
• This occurs when they see their survival and national interest in a political
principle such as ‘a balance of power’ this was designed to help states protect
their own national security
• Therefore it had a national interest that Europe was checked and balanced by
itself such as the Austro-Dutch barrier treaty of 1715
o Conflict over who would pay for the fortresses in Austrian Netherlands.
Dutch and British signed friendship agreement as Britain was
trying to ease this problem.
• In Italy there was similar situation where British support of Savoy allowed Savoy
to check French Italian ambitions and to balance Austrian power to the North.
• Spain’s Philip of Anjou and Austria’s Charles VI didn’t agree to the Peace of
• The convergence between British national interest and foreign territory makes the
balance of power a practical idea
• Britain and France’s King died.
o George I from Hanover took over Britain when James III was alive in
o Both states were scared of succession. So they signed entente, ensuring
peace in Europe.
• 1714, King George of Hanover (absolute power) landed on Britain (parliamentary
o In Britain, the King could not have standing army because standing power
represented the power of monarch.
o King George cannot speak English.
o King needed to pass every law through the parliament.
o But George was good at international relations and was the only protestant
o He intended to use Britain to increase influence of Hanover.
• A severe challenge to international order was presented by the War of the British
Succession in 1730’s after the king died
• France had a different candidate, Leszczynski, Louis XI