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The French Revolution, the Union of Avignon, and the Challenges of National Self-Determination


Law & Hist. Rev., Vol.31 pp.717-843, 2013 [Periódico revisado por pares]

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  • Título:
    The French Revolution, the Union of Avignon, and the Challenges of National Self-Determination
  • Assuntos: Multilinguistic; Decolonization; International; Controversial; Articulation; Independence; Application; Articulated; Imperialism; Populations; Copyright Law; Governments; International Law; International Trade Law; Torts
  • É parte de: Law & Hist. Rev., Vol.31 pp.717-843, 2013
  • Descrição: ... Finally, although the union of Avignon and the Comtat Venaissin with France showed revolutionaries to be operating in response to a particular crisis and without any intention to upset fundamentally the nature of European international law, and although the union of Avignon was itself a fairly benign and unique episode in revolutionary foreign affairs, it portended a new and potentially chauvinistic means of territorial acquisition, even before the outbreak of the French Revolutionary Wars. ... A large majority of deputies concurred with the mediators' views, and the National Assembly decreed, "in accordance with the wish freely and solemnly proclaimed by the majority of the communities and citizen of the two countries," the union of Avignon and the Comtat with France. ... Common at the time, although counterintuitive in retrospect, were assertions of France's dynastic or treaty rights to the territory, beginning as far back as the time of Charles Martel, in 672, and sometimes even in Roman times. ... More notably, opponents of the union made provocative claims based on the will of the people and were, in fact, the first to employ this tactic in the immediate aftermath of Bouche's November 1789 proposal, when a unanimous deliberation of the City Council in Avignon affirmed its loyalty to the pope, and the Representative Assembly of the Comtat rejected union, claiming "the only legitimate foundation of any acquisition or claim of sovereignty is the free consent of the People" and, again channeling Voltaire (although not sharing his politics or his views of organized religion), asserted that "people cannot be sold or trafficked like simple mobile or territorial property." ... The Austrian Emperor, for his part, never responded to the pope's first missive, leading His Holiness to write him again about the "great and manifest injustice" of the annexation of Avignon, asking that he, "placed at the head of a great Empire, surpassing in dignity and in strength all other princes. . . employ all your measures to render us justice in Avignon." ... Even if revolutionaries were not undertaking a premeditated program of aggrandizement in Avignon, as illustrated by the delicate and restrained manner in which they approached the union, and even if they were correct to question the provocative nature of the union in terms of European power politics by highlighting the meager material stakes involved, France's annexation of Avignon based on the principle of popular sovereignty was still enormously contentious. ... The union of Avignon and the first appearance of the principle in international relations confirm much of this contemporary analysis.
  • Idioma: Inglês

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