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ERC Securing Europe, Fighting its enemies, 1815-1914


22 - 25 August 2016
University of Kent at Paris, Reid Hall

Presentation by Beatrice de Graaf at University of Kent (Paris Campus)

Beatrice de Graaf will present a paper on the ‘Allied Machine’ at the ‘The Price of Peace: Modernising the Ancien Régime? Europe 1815-1848′ conference held by the University of Kent at their Campus in Paris.

Paper Abstract

The ‘Allied Machine’ at work. The Council of Ambassadors and Restoration France – balancing power with justice by Beatrice de Graaf. 

After 1815, a veritable system of collective security was created, pivoting around the notion of ‘mutual security’ as coined in the treaties of 1814/1815. In Article VI of the Second Treaty of Paris, 20 November 1815, the Allied Powers expressed their commitment to not just restore security to France, but to the whole of Europe, while safeguarding the continent for both new revolutions, upheavals and unilateral aggressions. The promise to continue the wartime alliance in peacetime through means of conferences and meetings, was first and foremost exemplified in the creation of the Allied Council of Ambassadors, in tango with the Allied Occupation of France, both chaired and overseen by Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington. This ‘Allied Machine’, in the words of Castlereagh, convened biweekly between 1815 and 1818 and set tone and pace for an institutionalised ‘imagined community of security’, as a recasting and reinterpreting of the principle of balance of power. In this paper, based on new archival material, a case is made to study the French restoration and the post-1815 settlement from the perspective of the creation of this incipient international security council. Second, it is argued that within this council a new, highly contested and debated interpretation of the balance of power was developed – intended to wed power to justice, old to new, ‘Kraft’ with ‘Recht’, as Metternich put it.

Programme conference

This conference will revolve around the provocative historiographical issue of whether the post-Napoleonic order represented an attempt to reconcile the heritage of the ancien régime with a deeply transformed world. A number of themes will be explored by panels of invited experts from across Europe. Topics will include:

  • Rethinking the ‘Restoration’
  • New departures in international relations
  • Constitutions vs. Charters
  • Rebirth of composite monarchies
  • Before and Beyond the Nation
  • New Elites and Old Aristocracies
  • Historicising the Ancien Régime?
  • New borders and old identities