The Foreign Policy of Louis XIV, to 1697

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Alison Smith

Week Beginning September 27 : th International Relations in Europe (1688-1725) Theme: The Foreign Policy of Louis XIV, to 1697 - Most changes in political structure of Europe bw 1688-1721 arose in connection w five great wars: the Nine Years War, the War of Spanish Succession, the Turkish wars of 1683-99 and 1714-18, and the Great Northern War - That these wars didnt merge into ONE European conflict suggests a tripartite division of Europe into West, North and South-East; no hard and fast partitions between these regions -> Number of these states belonged to two or more of these regions i.e. Hanover and Brandenburg to West and North, Habsburg Monarchy and Venice to West and South-East, and Russia and Poland to North and South-East - Common for countries of one region to get involved in the affairs of another; almost always to amend the balance of forces; yet attempts to call in the forces of another region in order to upset the existing forces elsewhere, or break a military deadlock nearer home, usually failed - A tripartite division of Europe between 1688-1714 would be difficult to maintain -> European capitals (including Constantinople) then came to form a single indivisible political structure -The French influence, the consolidation of the Habsburg monarchy in central Europe, together with the emergence of Britain and Russia, led to a more even distribution of power or of weakness on the Continent -> Instead of one preponderant power, there were now five of the first rank; 1) Great Britain 2) France 3) Spain 4) Habsburg Monarchy 5) Russia -> Savoy and Prussia were rising - About 1714-15, in Great Britain, France, Spain, Habsburg State, Russia, Sweden, Tuscany and Parma, the succession to the throne was either disputed or uncertain - Great Britain now reigned supreme on the seas and had taken part in two great land wars; it was clear that Britain was to stay in Europe; ***(WHY?? BASICALLY; Britain was starting to become really strong, especially on water in terms of naval, and they couldnt be exerted fully as a power on the Continent without allies. Britains most effective diplomatic weapon was that they could afford with their sea power, freedom of action in distant lands. Without conscious design [meaning it just basically all fell into place on its own] this helped to combine all Europe into one political system] - The new order was founded on the balance of power between the leading States; but this was no accident; avowed purpose of the Utrecht settlement was to confirm the peace and tranquility of the Christian world through a just equilibrium of power basically, a kind of equality and political equilibrium bw the powers was to be the foundation of public safety - To Louis XIV, equality of power between States seemed as dumb as equality of honour between them; on occasion, he was ready to admit a kind of condominium (law) -> To preserve peace by Spanish Partition treaties, Louis sought a close association with William III (if William was in agreement with him, they could together lay down the law to the rest of the world -> In 1715 he again entertained the idea of a condominium with the Emperor, to resist the maritime powers (England+allies) who were interfering with the true gods of the earth (LOUIS WAS SO LAME)
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