The Franco-British alliance against Philip V

Onderzoeksoutput: Unpublished paper


The complex diplomatic constellation in Europe from the Peace of Utrecht to the War of the Austrian Succession suggests a chaotic, ad-hoc evolution of the international system. Driven by mere self-interest, monarchs gave and broke their word, in treaties that seemed to live ad nutum. Treaty collections or learned treatises on the law of nations would have had little actual impact. The complexity of overlapping political intrigues and networks would have precluded the dawn of out present-day international law.

Philip V’s fate from 1713 to 1725 allows a counter-reading of this narrative. French and British diplomatic correspondence shows a convergence between two “natural enemies”. On the one hand, based on the exclusion of dynastic competitors (Philip V in France, the Old Pretender in Britain). On the other hand, driven by the imposition of a norm hierarchy between treaty law and domestic public law.

From 1716 on, Franco-British cooperation amended and enlarged the solutions materialized in the Peace Treaties of Utrecht, Rastatt and Baden, that had been announced in bilateral diplomacy for decades. Challenges to the legal order emerged -in discourse- from the Emperor and -in arms- from Philip V. The confrontation of the War of the Quadruple Alliance was a struggle of concepts, rooted in the European legal tradition, as well as of political interest or military force. The use of legal arguments did not merely legitimate arbitrary political choices. The assimilation of the balance of power achieved in 1713 with the intellectual toolbox of legal reasoning allowed diplomats to exert influence on their interlocutors.
Originele taal-2English
StatusUnpublished - 12 mei 2017
EvenementJornades Internacionals. La política exterior de Felip V a debat: a debat - Universitat Pompey Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
Duur: 11 mei 201712 mei 2017


ConferenceJornades Internacionals. La política exterior de Felip V a debat: a debat
Internet adres

Bibliografische nota

Proceedings will be published (in translated Spanish version) by the Casa de Velazquez.


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'The Franco-British alliance against Philip V'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit