The International Character of a Trimmer: Interest, Reason of State, and Balance of Power in Halifax's Political Thought

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Abstract

This article argues that George Savile's thought casts light on international relations in the seventeenth century. Halifax's life and works concern not only England's domestic politics, but also its foreign affairs. Indeed, he develops a clear vision of international politics. This article analyses Halifax's international thought, in particular three concepts that are closely related to one another: ‘interest’, ‘reason of state’, and ‘balance of power’. Through the study of these ideas, this article will try to point out both the novelty of Halifax's thought compared with that of his contemporaries, and to reverse the stereotypical understanding of his intellectual legacy and political behaviour. The ‘trimmer’ contrasts with Louis XIV's attempt to establish a universal monarchy across Europe, outlining a doctrine of moderation that seeks to ensure liberty, security, and restraint in international relations.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)621-635
Numero di pagine15
RivistaTHE INTERNATIONAL HISTORY REVIEW
Volume38
DOI
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2016

Keywords

  • Balance of Power
  • Halifax
  • History of International Thought
  • Interest
  • Reason of State

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