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Treaty Of Utrecht (1713 1715) Essay

3637 words - 15 pages

Over the course of history, an untold number of treaties and pacts have been agreed upon between individuals, groups and nations alike to settle disputes of every sort; but few have come close to the historic magnitude as that of the Treaty of Utrecht. This series of peace treaties between France, Great Britain, Denmark, and Austria (as well as a host of other, more minor players) marked the end of a thirteen-year struggle that had ravaged continental Europe, the War of the Spanish Succession (also referred to as Queen Anne's War). From the outset of this conflict, there existed two motivating factors that led to the outbreak of war, and also served as the legacy of the peace treaty that ...view middle of the document...

What sets apart the Treaty of Utrecht apart from all other peace treaties before it is its specific aim of maintaining the balance of power among the European states. Previous landmark treaties such as that of Westphalia, established over sixty years earlier, were based on the concept of universalism, which generally meant that the victorious power dictated the terms of peace, usually resulting in that power obtaining large amounts of land and monetary concessions from the war, making the strong stronger and the weak only weaker . The peace of Utrecht set a precedent, in that from that point onward, it became the right and duty of all other states to interfere with another should there arise the risk of any single power becoming large enough to dominate all others .In the case of the Spanish Succession War, that threat came from France and the possibility of the union of the French and Spanish crown to form one massive, hegemonic force was alarming to the other European states. By accepting the testament of Charles II, dated October 2, 1700, to name the grandson of Louis XIV, Philip D'anjou "heir to all Our Realms and all Our Domains without any exception whatever" in the "interests of the peace of Christendom and all of Europe and of the well-being of all these Our Realms", Louis upset the balance of power in Europe, prompting the alignment of the Grand Alliance against him, despite Charles expressly stated that "this Crown and that of France shall ever remain sundered" .That final edict from Charles however, was not good enough to put the rest of Europe at ease. In her declaration of war against France on May 15, 1702, Queen Anne states that the war is necessary, "in order to preserve the liberty and balance of Europe and to curtail the exorbitant power of France" . During this period, the instinctive reaction to such a major upset in the balance of power was channeled into the articulation of national policy, which was in turn used to justify the circumvention of normal laws of succession and inheritance . The notion is echoed by John Hattendorf in his writings of England's role in the war, "The military alliance of 1701 was aimed at maximizing national resources among several autonomous nations in order to respond to the preponderant military power of France" . All of Europe was familiar with the power-hungry ways of Louis and his tendency to do whatever necessary to advance French interests and expansion, and this time they were determined not to let history repeat itself.The Grand Alliance, banding together to prevent French hegemony, was a decentralized agreement that had no single decision making authority and its members played relatively independent roles while simply fighting on the same side. As such, the allegiance was an arrangement set out to achieve a favourable balance of power, but one of the fundamental flaws of the Alliance was their lack of coordination against France . A. D. Francis elaborates, arguing in essence that the...

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