Legal arguments in the debate on recognition of Italian independence in Belgian parliament (November 1861)

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The debate on the recognition of King Victor Emmanuel II of Piemonte-Sardinia as King of Italy in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives in the Fall of 1861 illustrates the challenges generated by constitutional change in the long nineteenth century. Recognition can be seen as a purely political decision, decided by the executive branch under supervision of the legislature. However, the terms of the debate between the ruling Liberal party and the Catholic opposition make clear that both the law of nations and constitutional history were used as arguments. Belgian constitutional history, and especially the revolution of 1830, had provided legitimating concepts sustained by both political parties. The recognition of Piemontese annexations was decried as a violation of Belgium’s permanent neutrality, and a potential precedent undermining the position of ‘secondary nationalities’. It is doubtful whether legal motives, rather than economic interests, played a decisive role in the outcome of the debate. However, the main actors’ legal training and historical curiosity urged the governmental Liberals to explain their position in a common legal vocabulary
Originele taal-2English
Pagina's (van-tot)1-31
Aantal pagina's31
TijdschriftForum Historiae Iuris
StatusPublished - 12 dec 2022
EvenementEntangled legal orders: Constitutional law and international law in the long 19th century - University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland
Duur: 2 mrt 20203 mrt 2020

Bibliografische nota

Part of the debate section "Entangled National and International Legal Orders in the Long Nineteenth Century", co-edited with Elisabetta Fiocchi Malaspina (Zurich) and Raphaël Cahen (VUB)


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