lecture 1 blackboard reading notes

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Political Science
Todd Hall

POL208 – Readings for Week 2 (BB) The Historical Context of Contemporary International Relations 1. Which historical periods have influenced the development of international relations? a. The beginning of the ExplorationAge in Europe 2. What are the historical origins of the state? 3. Why is the Treaty of Westphalia used as a benchmark for IR scholars? a. Treaty ended the 30 years war and stopped the reign of religion over Europe, secularizing the government 4. What are the historical origins of the European balance-of-power system? 5. How could the Cold War be both a series of confrontations b/w the US and the Soviet Union and a “long peace”? 6. What key events have shaped the post-Cold War World? • The Pre-Westphalian World o Greece and the City-State System of Interactions  As the militaries of the great city-states struggled, states carried on economic relations and trade w/ each other to an unprecedented degree  The city-states conducted peaceful relations w/ each other as they vied for power  The sovereign Greek city-states reach the height of their power in 400 B.C.; they carry out cooperative functions through diplomacy + classic power politics o Rome: The Governing of an Empire  Roman Empire served as the precursor for larger pol systems  The Roman leaders imposed order and unit by force on a huge geog area • Spread their language and gov’t to the far reaches of the empire  Marcus Tullius Cicero – proposed that men ought to be united by a law among nations applicable to humanity as a whole • Told Rome’s leaders abt necessity of maintaining state security by expanding resources and boundaries + ensuring domestic stability  Roman Empire originates imperialism, develops the practice of expanding territorial reach. The empire is united through law + lang, while allowing some local identity  Power and authority in Europe became decentralized after the fall of the Roman empire in 500AD  Most of Western Europe reverted to the feudal system (w/ Lords + fiefdoms) • Placed authority in private hands  Church was main institution in medieval Europe • So, authority was centred in Rome or in the local fiefdom  Huge debates over which should rule, religious or secular authority, which continued for 300 years until Treaty of Westphalia  The MiddleAges witness the centralization of religious authority in the church, w/ decentralization in political + economic life o The Late MiddleAges: Developing Transnational Networks in Europe and Beyond  Secular trends began to undermine decentralization of Feudalism + universalization of Christianity in Europe after 1000A.D  Commercial activity expanded into larger areas • Better comm., new tech, etc  New group of inds emerged whose interests + livelihoods extended beyond its immediate locate • New interests in art, philo, + history  Machiavelli called on leaders to articulate their own pol interests • Leaders must act in the state’s interests, answerable to no moral rules  For some theorists, the age of Exploration in Europe marks the beginning of history relevant for contemporary IR  The Late MiddleAges foster the development of transnational networks during the age of exploration  In the 1500s + 1600s, some key locales in Europe (France, England, Spain) were being replaced by an increasingly centralized monarchy • The Emergence of the Westphalian System o According to Jean Bodin, sovereignty is ‘the absolute and perpetual power vested in a commonwealth’  He says that absolute sovereignty is not w/o limits • ‘all the princes on Earth are subject to the laws of God and nature’ • Limited by the type of regime; whether it’s a monarchy, aristocracy or a democracy • Leaders are limited by covenants, contracts w/ promises to the people w/i the commonwealth, and treaties w/ other states o Treaty of Westphalia  Embraced the notion of sovereignty • Virtually all the small states in central Europe attained sovereignty  Monarchs in the west realized religious conflicts had to stop • Agreed not to fight on behalf of Catholicism or Protestantism o Instead, each monarch gained the authority to choose the version of Christianity for his or her people  Treaty legitimized territoriality and the right of states to choose their own religion + established that states could determine their own domestic policies, free from external pressure + w/ full jurisdiction in their own space  Leaders sought to establish their own perm nat’l militaries • Led to increasingly centralized control, since the state had to collect taxes to pay for militaries + leaders assumed abs control over troops  Treaty established a core group of states that dominated the world until th beginning of 19 century: Austria, Russia, Prussia, England, France + United Provinces (Netherlands+Belgium)  Eastern Europe underwent economic revival under aegis of capitalism • Private enterprise was encouraged; great trading companies + banks emerged  Western Europe reverted to feudalism • Economic change was stifled + serfs remained on the land  In both regions, absolutist states still dominated (Louis XIV, Peter the Great + Frederick II)  Adam Smith said that it is necessary to allow individuals to pursue their own interests, unfettered by state regulation • When inds pursue their rational self-interests, the system (market) operates effortlessly • Europe in the Nineteenth Century o TheAftermath of Revolution: Core Principles  Two core principles emerged in the aftermath of theAmerican + French revolutions; legitimacy and nationalism • Absolutist rule is subject to limits imposed by man o The monarch derives his legitimacy from the consent of the governed • Nationalism, wherein the masses identify w/ their common past, their lang, customs + practices o Inds who share such characteristics are motivated to participate actively in the pol processes as a group o Peace at the Core of the European System  After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the five powers of Europe (Austria, Britain, France, Russia and Prussia) agreed to peace  The group of leaders would meet and became a club of like-minded leaders, through which they legitimized both the independence of new European states + the division ofAfrica by colonial powers  There were many major economic, tech + pol changes during this time, but there remained general peace b/c • The European states enjoyed a solidarity amongst themselves, based on their being European, Christian, ‘civilized
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