European state after the Peace of Westphalia

Ivonina, L. I. Suverenitet i vlast’ v Evrope posle Vestfal’skogo mira [European state after the Peace of Westphalia], in: Proslogion: Studies in Medieval and Early Modern Social History and Culture, 2019. Vol. 5 (1). P. 96113.

Lyudmila Ivanovna Ivonina, Doctor of History, professor, Department of World History, Smolensk State Universtity (214000, Rossiya, Smolenskaa oblalst’, Smolensk, ulitza Przheval’skogo, 4)

Language: Russian

Аgainst the background of the discussion, the article analyzes the problems of sovereignty and the monopolization of power after the Thirty Years War. The fact that the Peace of Westphalia laid the foundations of modern international law and the modern political picture of the world as a combination of sovereign, independent and equal national states is being questioned today. Largely, the author agrees with the opinion that the roots of stylization and the myth of the Peace of Westphalia emanated from the works of its contemporaries, which were later developed in the era of the Old Regime and before the French Revolution of the late 18th century. The Peace of Westphalia has the highest value if we bear in mind that it led to the end of the bloody and senseless conflict and the transition from confessional to rational politics. Thereat a certain stability was achieved, which could bring the relations between states and nations to a new political equilibrium, and new forms of mutual coexistence began to take shape, actively tested in politics, economics, and culture. The new phenomenon became the world of «courts and alliances», which quite clearly drew a line between the late Middle Ages and the Modern Age in all spheres of life. In general, the internal political life of the continent from the second half of the 17th century was characterized by an inclusive monopolization process, which led to the concentration in the hands of the holders of the highest state power of all important political authorities. This process took place both in the states that took the path of bourgeois legal transformation and in the absolute monarchies prevailing on the continent. New forms of European existence were formed in close interaction of methods of adaptation and competition. The consequence of competition and a vivid example of adaptation was the regalization of European rulers and states.

Key Words: Westphalian system, sovereignty, state, the balance of power, monopolization of power, regalization, monarchy


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