Common Principles and Solidarity of Interests
Added: 2017-10-30
Added: 2017-10-30

Four months have elapsed since the Crimean War was ended by the treaties concluded in Paris on 15 and 30 March.[1] All press is repeating the same message: European politics is resting.

There is indeed nothing more natural than rest after work. It is common among the European societies in cases where efforts or at least energy-consuming attempts were made; it is typically enjoyed after physical or moral exertion. The troops and fleets returning from the Crimea are resting while clerks at offices of War Ministries are calculating the casualties and announcing intended potential reductions in army numbers, which to date used to be limited to granting leaves from duty; at offices of Treasury Ministries, the huge war expenses are being calculated, sources that could cover them are being sought and tasks related to the expansion, extension or establishment of undertakings are being discussed. The public opinion is also resting, exhausted by the abnormal state of alternate peace and war in which the European society remained for three years, weary of constant hesitation, doubt, ignorance, being thrown from one extreme to the other, anticipating the most and least likely events and accidents; it is resting in the shade of peace whose consequences it may not realise accurately, but still feels that the guarantees given at the time when it was concluded include principles that are in line with humanity’s current predicament: they are meant to ensure the progress of these material interests whose furthering is supposed to be the public’s primary preoccupation right now and not only do they not create obstacles, but indeed assist movement in this most desirable direction. Finally, those minds that are not resting now are at least cooling down after having been inflamed with hopes that had not materialised, or outraged by the disappointments they had not foreseen; they are cooled down by the cold conviction that is the unintentional outcome of the work done in Paris: the conviction that today, political views cannot be shaped by any single question, since each question, even the smallest, is a cog in the general political machinery of states and it is so tightly integrated with the whole machine that it becomes a European issue as soon as it is raised. This is the essence of peace, i.e. the rest we are experiencing right now.

However, it would be wrong to infer that the entire sphere of politics is resting. Do not the issues left unsettled in the East require continuous political attention? Can politics afford not to closely watch the progress of the difficult task of implementing the hattı hümayun[2] in Turkey? And Italian affairs, which are constantly being brought up and are invariably very sensitive – can Cabinets afford to cease to be vigilant in this respect? Finally, disregarding many other less pressing matters: the U.S.–English dispute, which has now started in a form that is completely new from the point of view of public law[3], and which has been interrupted by the peculiar episode related to Mr Mahan’s[4] coat, but its future course will still be very significant – does it not provide a important occupation for politicians?

A political movement is not evidenced solely by events: political activities cannot be limited only to facts such as wars, conferences, congresses and treaties, since these are rather the effects of changes in societies that have been wrought by time, and at the same time causes of further changes. In the history of mankind, everything forms an unbroken strand of developments, and politicians who sketch the colours and shapes of this strand on pages of history cannot rest for a minute. It is difficult to judge when their activity is greater, and especially when it is more important. The political movement brought about by the Reformation was reportedly more important than the Peace of Westphalia,[5] which codified this change in European politics. The consequences of the 30-year peace that Europe enjoyed since the 1815 treaties were supposedly incomparably more important than the Napoleonic wars ended by the Congress of Vienna.

Therefore consequences of a major political event often present a greater challenge for politics and demand more activity than the event itself, for instance a war and its ending, i.e. the conclusion of a treaty. War and peace may be – and often are – surprises to politicians, since they are decreed by the supreme power, i.e. Providence. However, in the instruments that conclude the event in question, politics sets down certain principles whose implementation depends on it, stipulates interests that it is meant to guarantee, and provides for certain changes that are to be introduced and for which it assumes responsibility before the society. In the face of these duties, from which it cannot be released, since its very essence is to perform them, it is difficult to suppose it could rest at all. Thus the course of politics may become less interesting and sometimes even boring, diplomatic notes may become less frequent and colourful, a certain number of statesmen may travel to spas or to the seashore, but even despite a complete absence of signs of political movement, this movement is still taking place and its direction has been determined by the consequences of the treaty of 30 March.

Everyone will notice this movement and will do what is required to gain knowledge and to properly assess the subsequent events – everyone who watches events with an impartial eye and everyone who is not exclusively attached to a single issue or to a single doctrine, however logical it may seem to him, will want to account for all political symptoms wherever they appear, viewing them in the context of the work recently concluded in Paris and applying them to the principles stipulated and the interests reserved there, without disregarding any indication, even the slightest, that sheds any light on the aspirations of one state or the other. The ancients knew that a long time ago: nihil parvum.[6] Indeed, who is not struck by this strict adherence to etiquette at the court of the Queen of England at the time when the arbitrary expulsion of that monarch’s envoy from Washington does not even result in the most legitimate retaliation that would be justified by the law of nations? This apparently small and trivial episode that will be recorded in Queen Victoria’s[7] court annals – does it not prove how deeply rooted the national tradition of etiquette is and how far from the national tradition the modern British politics strays, surrendering dignity and pride in its dispute with the United States? Again, this grand reception in Stockholm for the Danish and Norwegian students going to a university celebration in Uppsala, these speeches by King Oscar[8] which rouse the audience in the name of some unreal nationality (a supposedly ancient Scandinavian race), and which have vexed some newspapers so much – do they not herald some idea that is still in its infancy or at a nascent stage, or perhaps some new state; do they not contain some still vague signs about the future of the thrones of Denmark, Sweden and Norway? However, at the same time, do they not attest clearly and loudly to the need for some union and association – in a nutshell, for a certain change in the current politics of these countries that would go in the direction of common principles and solidarity of interests?

The motto nihil parvum should also be repeated with regard to the Armenian bishop, a schismatic who lives somewhere in a small town in Asia Minor and, defying the Pasha and the strength of his men, throws out of his cemetery the body of an Armenian who had converted to Protestantism; he does so at the time when Central European newspapers are passionate about burials and perceive the fact that Catholic cemeteries do not accept burials of other denominations as an unmistakable sign of Roman Catholic intolerance. This incident – however small, and however probably less important than a series of often bloody events which Turkey continues to witness – does it not reveal the new face of the hattı hümayun, this political sphinx that has so many statesmen trying to guess the last word of its riddle? This action by a bishop of one of the many religious sects to which the Sultan’s subjects belong, and an action so vigorous and obstinate in view of the recently announced firman[9] on equality, following so closely after the conclusion of the peace treaty – does it not appear to be the beginning of a new thread, which may bring completely unforeseen complications? Still, this case provides a clear proof that a state recognised in the world of politics, which observes the principle of equality of religions to the extent unprecedented so far in the Christian world, cannot achieve this goal easily, and it encounters all difficulties typical of other states, but the recognition of these difficulties does not invalidate the general principle; it also reminds us that each society has some rules that it defends and interests that it does not wish to sacrifice, whatever the form of this society and whatever the direction indicated to it by the dominant political system…

Therefore when studying political movements, no apparently insignificant details should be overlooked: we should always take into account that in the states’ present political system, the society is only accounted for as a minor factor where – as a result of the idea of the state – that society no longer participates in the events that take place as a nation or a certain class within a nation, as it once used to, but rather as a part of a society delineated by state borders, and thus consequences of these events are often reflected in society – sometimes in spheres and aspects that are seemingly completely removed from politics. Only if we take into account these important determinants of the present political system will we be able to obtain satisfactory results not only when assessing the current course of events, but particularly if we wish to connect them to the past, to the former system that is already history now.

This distinction between the two political systems that the reader has already frequently encountered here is not so absolute as to make the moment when the older policy was transformed into the policy of nations clearly discernible, although in treaties, i.e. in public law, this process only appears to date back to the Peace of Westphalia, and it is not so absolute as to prevent the close connection that has existed between these two types of politics for quite a long time; but, on the other hand, it is not pure theory that cannot be applied to practice either; on the contrary, it can and should serve as a guideline when reviewing current events, because it explains many things related to them. The difference between these two political systems was demonstrated fairly exhaustively in March on the occasion of the Paris Conferences, but it may be useful to offer more some comments on it here as well.

The idea of the state undoubtedly reaches very far: we do not mean the history of this idea but rather its application in general European politics. This is why one would look in vain for it in Plato’s[10] Republic or in the annals of the Roman state. Moving forward to the Christian epoch, we should also skip the era of barbarian invasions and the times of Charlemagne[11] whose state dissolved into feudal and national politics, as well as the Middle Ages when the kings and princes who were supposed to lead their nations travelled to Rome to gain investiture. Until the very end of the 15th century, the Holy Roman Empire itself was a state, but in a sense completely different from today’s idea of the state, i.e. in the feudal sense, as a political form adopted by a Christian community that remained closely connected to Rome. It was only in the first half of the 16th century that the idea of the state was discussed in some respects by Machiavelli,[12] but its form in his writings was too glaringly despotic; shortly afterwards, however, the Reformation came to its aid by renouncing obedience to Rome, the Holy Roman Emperor and the politics of the time: the feudal order falls, the Thirty Years’ War breaks out and is finally ended by the Peace of Westphalia where the political system based on the idea of the state became clearly favoured. Since then, the law of nations has been called public law.

No one will probably insist that the victory was decisive and that the transition from one political system to the other was violent. Not all political events before the Peace of Westphalia and not all wars and changes can be explained by national aspirations. The idea of the state was undoubtedly very much present in Charles V’s[13] policy, and the wrestling matches in which Francis I[14] engaged were not always in accordance with the will of the French nation. But those were always wars of conquest, wars driven by the monarch’s ambitions or by national traditions rather than wars motivated solely by “reasons of state”. This so-called raison d’état already belongs to the new system inaugurated by the Treaty of Westphalia. In ancient politics, whatever it was, the king always relied on the nation, i.e. on the elements that represented the nation, whether they were feudal lords, the nobility or municipalities, but it was always the nation, which was best demonstrated by the presence of irregular troops and the composition of the army in those days. Later, the monarch’s strength lay in the government, and with the increasing decline of the nations’ natural advantages, the need for regular paid troops that only heeded the monarch’s commands emerged.

However, as it has been said above, the transition could not have been so violent that political events would not bear any traits of the earlier system after the Peace of Westphalia. There are no sudden leaps in society just as there are no such leaps in nature. Already in our century, the Spanish war[15] still had the characteristics of a purely national struggle. However, it is certain that after the era of the state had begun, nations ceased to count as nations in the sphere of general policy. Nationality ceased to be a political principle and was transferred to the realm of natural laws. In politics, it was replaced by the principle of the state. In public law, only those societies that were constituted politically and able to maintain their independence under the new system were recognised. On the other hand, those nations that could not or would not adapt to the requirements of the new politics were destined for a quick fall. Societies that had never been nations but that had the strength to survive under the new system became states. In short, the idea of the state was exerting an ever stronger influence on politics and on government but did not rule societies as yet. It was resisted by the other traditions, differences between classes and old corporations, and it was primarily unattractive owing to a certain despotic whiff around it. Imposed by means of a riding whip, Louis XIV’s[16] definition of the state was too absolute to satisfy the society. However, the French Revolution came to the aid of the idea of the state, just as the Reformation had come to its aid in Machiavelli’s times. Acting in the name of freedom and equality, destroying all ancient traditions and abolishing all differences between the estates and thus necessitating the introduction of centralised power, it removed almost all social obstacles to the political system based on states. Although the Revolution replaced those obstacles with its spirit and tried to lay down the principle of nationality, in practice its efforts turned out to be so weak since they were incompatible with its essence, which was negation, that in spite of this resistance, the system of states continued to develop in Europe in both the political and social spheres; today, all principles and interests refer to the idea of the state.

In order to demonstrate that this change in European politics is not purely theoretical and that the above considerations apply even at the present moment, it is sufficient to take a look at the main problems with which today’s states have to cope. Where is their source if not in traditional politics which the countries cannot or will not renounce? And what are these obstacles if not remnants of the old politics, retaining which can hardly be reconciled with the current political system? If some countries have renounced them, they have probably become convinced that apart from historical strength, they also entail political weaknesses. And thus is not Austria’s invariably traditional policy in Germany the biggest obstacle to realising its political plans? Will you not always encounter Prussia as an antagonist? – Did not Russia weaken herself by her attempt to pursue national policy in the east? And did not her decoupling from the internal movement of European states cause her to suffer in the last war? Was anti-English policy not the most important difficulty for France? “A rift separates me from England”, Emperor Napoleon[17] was reputed to have said to the Russian envoy in 1853, “but do not forget that there is no rift that politics would not be able to fill”. Has not France benefited from this renunciation of traditional politics? And where is there a more difficult task than maintaining it in Italian affairs? Look at the difficulties England is going through at the moment: the need to maintain the French alliance, the dispute with the United States at the state level, battles against the old political tradition everywhere… In the matter of the Sound, Denmark is defending itself citing the old law of nations and therefore it will not be able to survive under the new public law… Turkey was not viable under the old system and thus has been transformed into a state and it should adhere to the principles and interests of the new system.

In this development of the system of states, the treaty of 30 March appears to have a very important place. As concerns its consequences, there is a very clear trend towards common principles and the solidarity of interests; from this purely political and systematic standpoint, it can easily compete against its predecessor, the Treaty of Vienna, and perhaps even surpass it in its intentions. Undoubtedly, it does not mark the beginning of the epoch in which states start to move in these directions, because these trends have long been present in the idea of the state and they only developed slowly; however, the events and circumstances that brought about the treaty, the rules on which it was concluded and the interests that it involved have allowed states to make considerable progress in this direction and to set themselves greater and broader tasks in this area.

States were in a way forced to participate in the Congress of Vienna without having previously achieved unity and agreement. The negotiations took place between the winners and the vanquished. The Congress was about restoring the equilibrium, but by force; it was about curbing the power of the state that did not observe the same rules as the others did. There were also other, no less important differences between the other states present at the Congress. Those states presented very different interpretations of the principles concerning the form of government, the freedom of religion and the equality of their subjects; some upheld the principle of nationality and some did not recognise all the faits accomplis in Europe. So the old status quo had to be changed and a new one had to be introduced. In those conditions, it was difficult to think of actions based on common principles. Attempts might have been made, and were in fact made, but participants had to limit themselves to forced agreement caused by the events that had taken place and to securing the new order. The guarantee lay in the weakening of one side owing to the other side’s domination.

The Congress of Paris took place under different conditions, which were incomparably more conducive to the further development of state politics. It was not only that the conference took place after unity and agreement had been reached; it even appears that had it not taken place, no war would have followed. Even before the war, the issue had been declared a European one and the main principles had been jointly recognised by the powers. The small differences that caused the war do not undermine such principles. This is why after the war, there were neither winners nor the vanquished because there was agreement as to the principles. The issue was to restore equilibrium, but in a completely different manner; it was not so much about reducing the advantage of one state but rather about strengthening the other, which was to serve as the basis for this equilibrium. And both countries admitted to following the same principles as others. Only one state, and the smallest one at that, was perhaps an exception n this respect, but it also saw the need to make the sacrifices necessary to join the great powers in observing such common principles. In the case of yet another state, which was one in the full sense of the word, but differed somewhat from the other participants of the Congress (for reasons of politics and not of principles), certain concessions were made in order to align it with the common direction. So there were no differences that would prevent the development of the system of states. Given the common principles, the form of government was of no great interest to anyone. As concerned the equality of religions, a principle broader than at any earlier time was adhered to in state politics, since a non-Christian society was recognised as a state and unanimously admitted to the group of Christian states. The principle of political equality, and even – to a certain degree – of social equality of the state’s subjects, which was so perfectly aligned with the current system and almost required under it, met no opposition and was not qualified by any exception or privilege. All the changes and reforms that some states demanded from others or that they proposed to others moved in this common direction. All requests resulted from this principle, even the general amnesty which, as it is said today, was not to be granted by virtue of an exception or the differences in the subjects’ backgrounds or any ancient law, because all subjects are equal vis-à-vis the state; however, as English treatises demonstrate, the amnesty was to be announced for the benefit of all nations. Every issue, every reform and every interest were viewed from the European and civilisational points of view and they were judged according to their possible impact on the development of state power. Nothing was said about the principle of nationality at the Congress of Paris. Although the issue of Danube Principalities[18] looked as though it were a reflection of the former system, it was always seen through the prism of states’ policies. If this issue presented problems that have not been resolved yet, it was not because it concerned the principle of nationality, but rather because the combination arrived at in this manner is incompatible with the demands of a newly created state. And did the other issues touched upon in the minutes of the 8 March conference raise this principle of nationality? Not in the slightest. They only demonstrated one thing, which was not mentioned at all: that all the states participating in the Paris Conference recognised all faits accomplis and in view of this common principle no changes to the status quo were necessary. The treaty signed after the Congress of Paris only included this agreement, leaving small differences for later, and state politics, confident in its newly found strength, boldly followed the indicated direction. It established a new maritime public law, inviting other states to join it. As far as we know, Sweden, the Netherlands, Greece and the German Confederation have already responded to this call for common principles.

However, each political system must work in two aspects: the theoretical and practical ones. The idea of the state has long since ceased to be a theory; in fact, it may even have too strict and logical consequences in practice. As it developed, it could not be constrained to one direction only. Political principles correspond to interests in practice: common principles required the solidarity of interests.

In practical terms, the task before the Congress of Paris was easier than that before the Congress of Vienna and it had incomparably greater potential consequences for the system.

If only because the territorial composition of Europe had to be transformed at that time, there was necessarily more talk of principles than of interests during the Congress of Vienna. The goal was agreement, and it is easier to achieve this in principle. Moreover, with each change in the status quo new interests appeared that could neither be clearly predicted nor accurately assessed. This made it impossible to subordinate those interests to principles that were often the result of concessions (if not demands), or to cause all states to assimilate the others’ interests, i.e. to achieve solidarity.

At the Congress of Paris, nearly all important interests were known and defined in advance and, moreover, largely recognised as European ones. The states were encouraged to accept the solidarity of interests as a political direction not only by their acceptance of common principles; this was demanded by almost the entire public opinion in all branches of industry and commerce and by the spirit of speculation, which enveloped not just states but transformed entire societies into huge corporations, the spirit of association in line with the idea of the state that grew on the ruins of abolished corporations, guilds and privileged institutions, which does not know nationalities or even borders, and which is as cosmopolitan as material interests themselves. The statesmen who sat in Vienna did not know the enormous impact of reducing societies to their individual members without making any differences between them, just as they did not know railways or telegraphs. They did not hear the voices that speak in unison in Europe and that are coming as fast as though they were carried on a telegraph wire and as strong as if they were travelling by locomotive; these voices call for the freedom of trade, freedom of navigation, freedom of the straits and of the sea, and more specifically demand security and peace from all states. The Treaty of Paris attempted to satisfy all these demands by convincing the public that all those principles were common and agreed and that any question that influenced great interests would be considered a European question and that safety lay in the direction charted by politics, i.e. in the solidarity of interests. As proof of this practical application of common principles, a separate treaty of 15 March was concluded.

Whatever the political system and whatever unity, agreement and solidarity between the states it ensures, there will always be disputes in societies that may lead to war if these are not settled by the ultimate tribunal, and if the parties do not accept its judgment, do not recognise its jurisdiction or are not afraid of its enforcement measures. In Europe, there also were once common principles and the solidarity of interests, but at that time the society and politics were purely Christian and thus the matters were settled between Christians, the tribunal was in Rome and the pope or the Holy Roman Emperor on his behalf was the highest judge. In today’s politics, it also appears that a tribunal is needed: no wonder, since people may change with time and circumstances, but their nature does not change. The Treaty of Vienna and the Treaty of Paris resulted in alliances that corresponded to their intended consequences. The Holy Alliance that included victors and was based on force guarded the new status quo on the basis of the recognition of faits accomplis more than on agreement over any principles. The alliance of 2 December, i.e. of 15 March,[19] is probably based on force, since there is no political tribunal without such force, but it is mostly held together by common principles and the desire to maintain the equilibrium by moving in that direction. This tribunal does not have the powers of Saint Leo the Great[20] to protect the society from war just as Leo protected a city from Attila[21]. On the political scale, the consequences of the Treaty of Paris as expressed by this alliance will always prevail; nevertheless, the alliance’s task will be difficult.

So even if we think that European politicians are trying, on the one hand, to strengthen and consolidate this alliance, and on the other to undermine it, since there can be no alliance which would be fully satisfying to all, can we suppose that politics is resting because political activities are less obvious to our eyes?

At the time of writing, telegrams are announcing important developments in Spain.[22] These, however, do not have direct impact on the overall policy direction. The Iberian Peninsula has been a separate story so far – Spain must clear the existing remnants of the old system, which are still strong. It will manage to do so quickly if it follows the revolutionary road which it has taken. It will renounce its traditional characteristics, abandon old customs, lose its traditions, destroys its national individuality and develop social and cosmopolitan aspirations; in short, it will turn into a state and only then will follow the route of common principles and the solidarity of interests that has been charted for it.



[1] The Congress of Paris (1856) was held to settle the disputes that had led to the Crimean War. It was attended by representatives of France, Turkey, England, Sardinia, Austria and Russia. It culminated in the conclusion of a “peace and friendship” treaty on 30 March; pursuant to the Treaty of Paris, Russia was to cede southern Bessarabia to Moldavia and the city of Kars to Turkey. The Danubian Principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) were granted to Turkey as protectorates, with guarantees of broad autonomy. The Black Sea was to be closed to warships, while Russia and Turkey were deprived of the rights to maintain any military installations on its coast. Shipping on the Danube was to be free. Russia pledged to demilitarise the Åland Islands.

[2] Hattı hümayun – a document or handwritten official note drawn up by the Ottoman Sultan.

[3] The U.S.–British conflict in Central America was exacerbated in 1852 when the British established a colony on the Bay Islands of Honduras. In 1854, a crowd attacked a U.S. diplomat in Greytown (Nicaragua) and as a result, a U.S. warship bombarded the city. There were no fatalities, but both British and French estates were damaged, which triggered protests from both countries. An additional factor that complicated the situation in the region was related to the activities of William Walker (1824–1860), an American lawyer and physician who gained fame as a mercenary. In 1853, Walker led an expedition to conquer the Baja California Peninsula and managed to set up the Republic of Lower California there, but was later forced to return to the United States by the Mexican government. In 1855, he invaded Nicaragua and in 1856, he proclaimed himself president of that country, although he was forced to leave it just one year later. In 1860, during an expedition to Honduras, he was captured by the British and handed over to the Honduran authorities who had him executed by firing squad. An attempt to resolve these conflicts was the Dallas-Clarendon Treaty.

The Dallas-Clarendon Treaty was concluded on 17 October 1856 in London. It was signed by the U.S. ambassador to London George M. Dallas and by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Lord Clarendon. It was supposed to settle the British–U.S conflict in America: the British were to withdraw from the Bay Islands of Honduras and from the Mosquito Coast. However, the Treaty met with protest in the United States Senate and was not ratified by President James Buchanan.

[4] In June 1856, George M. Dallas, the U.S. ambassador (minister) to London who served from 4 February 1861 to 16 May 1861, was to present three Americans to Queen Victoria. One of them was West Point Professor Duncan Hart Mahan who was dressed in black trousers, a blue coat with metal buttons, a yellow vest and a black tie. U.S. legation representative Benjamin Moran warned Dallas that this outfit was inappropriate, especially since Mahan had no sword, and thus the master of ceremony at the Queen’s court Sir Edward Cust could refuse to admit him. This proved to be the case. Thereupon, Dallas refused to present his other compatriots and left the palace, which led to a stir in British official circles.

[5] The Peace of Westphalia was concluded on 24 October 1848 and ended the Thirty Years’ War. It concerned political and religious relations within German states and also between France and the Holy Roman Empire as well as between Sweden and the Habsburgs. It was signed in two locations: in Münster (between the Holy Roman Empire and France) and in Osnabrück (between Sweden and the Habsburgs).

[6] Latin: nothing is small.

[7] Queen Victoria (1819–1901) – Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 1837, Empress of India (from 1877). The period of her reign is referred to symbolically as the Victorian era. It was marked by the industrial revolution, the gradual democratisation of political life (electoral reforms) and the rise of Britain’s colonial power.

[8] Oscar I, Joseph François Oscar Bernadotte (1799–1859) – son of the French General Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, he settled in Sweden when his father was adopted by King Charles XIII of Sweden in accordance with the wishes of Napoleon I Bonaparte; in 1818, Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte became King of Sweden and King of Norway as Charles XIV John. Oscar I ascended to the throne after his father’s death in 1844 (formerly he used to be, among other things, Viceroy of Norway in 1824 and 1833). He introduced liberal reforms and pursued an active foreign policy, aiming, inter alia, to reduce Russia’s influence in the Baltic Sea region.

[9] Firman – an official document issued by the Sultan.

[10] Plato (427–347 BC) – Greek philosopher, born in Athens to an aristocratic family, a relative of Solon and a student of Socrates. The founder of a school of philosophy called the Academy after the grove of Academe in which it was located. The author of famous dialogues, which included, among others, Symposium, Republic, Phaedo, Apology of Socrates and Laws.

[11] Charlemagne (742–814) – King of the Franks and Lombards, one of the most eminent rulers of medieval Europe. He fought numerous wars, including with Arabs, Saxons, Avars and Lombards. He successfully introduced certain internal reforms in order to unify his empire and streamline its administration, which were necessitated by the size of that empire. On 25 December 800, Pope Leon III crowned him Holy Roman Emperor.

[12] Niccolò Machiavelli (1469–1527) – Florentine political thinker, author of one of the most controversial works in the history of political thought – the Prince (1534), which resulted in charges of cynicism and prioritising effectiveness above all else being levelled against the author, although his work is also considered by some to be among the best political treatises that reveals the real mechanisms of power.

[13] Charles V (1500–1558) – King of Spain (as Charles I, 1516–1556), Holy Roman Emperor (1519–1556), son of Philip I the Handsome and grandson of Maximilian I. As the heir of three great dynasties (the Habsburg, Burgundian and Castilian-Aragonian ones), he sought to build a universal Christian monarchy.

[14] Francis I de Valois (1494–1547) – King of France from 1515, founder of the Collège de France, patron of artists who successfully fought campaigns in Italy, and also, with varying luck, battled against Emperor Charles V with whom he unsuccessfully competed for the throne of the Holy Roman Emperor.

[15] The war that took place on the Iberian Peninsula from 1808 to 1814, in which Napoleonic France fought the Spanish and Portuguese who struggled for their independence and were supported by Great Britain. It ended with the French being forced to retreat behind the Pyrenees; the outcome was also affected by their setbacks in other arenas of the Napoleonic Wars (and especially the failed expedition to Moscow).

[16] Louis XIV (1638–1715) – King of France and Navarre from the Bourbon dynasty. His independent rule only started after the death of Cardinal Mazarin (1661). In internal policy, he introduced a series of reforms and relied on the streamlined royal administration to introduce the absolutist form of government. He fought several wars for primacy in Europe, e.g. with Spain, the Netherlands, the so-called League of Augsburg and the English-Habsburg-Dutch coalition in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1713).

[17] Napoleon III (1808–1873) – Emperor of the French (1852–1870), nephew of Napoleon I, raised in exile. In 1848, he was elected President of the Republic. He proclaimed himself Emperor as a result of a constitutional coup d’état (1851) and the plebiscite he had won (1852). At first, he was successful economically and politically, but his reign ended with the defeat in the war against Prussia; the Emperor himself was captured in battle and dethroned (formally in 1871, although he lost power already in 1870). After being released from prison, he spent the rest of his life in England.

[18] The Danubian Principalities were the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. In 1861, they became part of the united Romanian state.

The independence of Romania was only approved by the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Charles I of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen was Prince, and later King of Romania in accordance with the powers’ wishes.

[19] On 2 December 1854, Austria signed a treaty with Great Britain and France, which were waging a war against Russia at the time; under the treaty, it undertook to protect the Danubian Principalities and received guarantees of its interests in northern Italy. On 15 April 1856, Austria, France and Great Britain issued a statement indicating that a breach of the provisions of the Treaty of Paris of 30 March 1856 would be a casus belli.

[20] Leo I (?–461) – saint, pope from 440, Father and Doctor of the Church. He formulated the doctrine of two natures (divine and human) united in the person of Jesus Christ without confusion or division, which was later confirmed by the Council of Chalcedon (451). Author of letters and sermons and of liturgical texts.

[21] Attila (406–453) – leader of the Huns since 445, founder of the empire that extended from the present Denmark and the Rhine to the Balkans and the Caspian Sea.

[22] Mann wrote more on this subject in his article “Reformy i polityka europejska” [“Reforms and the European Policy”] in Dodatek do Czasu of August 1848.


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