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dc.contributor.advisorAhnert, Thomas
dc.contributor.advisorMalinowski, Stephan
dc.contributor.authorSwain, William
dc.date.accessioned2022-03-01T10:58:51Z
dc.date.available2022-03-01T10:58:51Z
dc.date.issued2022-03-01
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1842/38637
dc.description.abstractThis thesis focuses on the political writings of Friedrich von Gentz, a German writer and political advisor, between the years 1800 and 1812. Scholarship has tended to focus on the years 1791­1801 and Gentz’s political conversion from support of to opposition to the French Revolution, his translation of Edmund Burke’s work, and his contribution to debates over international relations in the years 1800 and 1801. This thesis both reassesses his stance on international relations, presenting him as a complex thinker rather than a crude realist, and unpacks three relatively unexplored areas of his thought, those of international law, civil society and censorship. The first chapter explores Gentz’s defence of the balance of power against the theoretical objections of philosophers like Immanuel Kant and the practical threats of diplomats like Alexandre D’Hauterive. It shows that Gentz was not purely concerned with power but included a subtle and high regard for the role of domestic constitutions, culture, commerce and moral formation. The second chapter considers Gentz’s understanding of international law and, as an illustration of this, his views on the issue of neutral rights at sea. Gentz held to a dualist conception of international law that blended both natural and positive law, and he defended it against attacks from both sides. The third chapter unpacks Gentz’s changing thought on commerce and civil society amidst the instability of Napoleonic expansion. He believed that there was a causal chain that led from the rise of commerce, to the decline of civil society and on to a universal monarchy of a Montesquieuian mould. The fourth chapter considers Gentz’s writings on the press at the time of Napoleon in order to assess the claim he betrayed his 1797 defence of a free press when he supported the 1819 Karlsbad Decrees. It is shown that Gentz developed his views in light of the Napoleonic experience and did not simply sell out to the powers that be. Overall, this thesis argues for the greater richness and complexity of Gentz’s thought than hitherto realised and for the many­sided character to his conservatism, which in turns points to the many­sided nature of conservatism in general.en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.subjectFriedrich von Gentzen
dc.subjectEdmund Burkeen
dc.subjectbalance of power theoriesen
dc.subjectFrench Revolutionen
dc.subjectconservatismen
dc.titlePolitical thought of Friedrich von Gentz, 1800-1812en
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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