Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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p. v

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Acknowledgements

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p. vi

This is a book about cooperation at different levels and about efforts that cut across national borders. It is hardly surprising, then, that fellow historians from different fields and countries have provided feedback on aspects of this study. Special thanks go to Christopher Abel, Charlotte Alston, Julie Carlier, Martin Conway, Stefan Couperus, Sasha Handley, Joseph Hardwick, Axel Körner, Don MacRaild, Boyd Rayward, Amalia Ribi, Bernhard Rieger, Katharina Rietzler, Anne-Isabelle Richard,...

Abbreviations

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pp. vii-viii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-16

By 1880 – the year that these hyperbolic lines were written – it was evident that international congresses had become major vehicles for political, cultural and scientific exchange. The increasing number of such events was but one feature of a wider phenomenon: internationalism. The very same period that has often been characterised as an age of nationalism also saw the migration of ideas and people, the foundation of new international associations, and...

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1. Nationhood

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pp. 17-44

It might seem counterintuitive to start a book on internationalism by considering nationalism – yet the two phenomena were mutually dependent. Internationalists evoked national arguments to solicit support for their schemes; at the same time, international congresses and associations provided staging grounds for the representation of nationhood. Be it in science, politics or the arts, internationalism depended upon the nation as a central point of reference. In this respect, any discussion of internationalism reveals how, by...

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2. Empire

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pp. 45-79

Empire and internationalism interacted in complex and conflicting ways. They bore underlying resemblances in that their practices frequently contradicted their rhetoric about progress and idealism. Similar to internationalism, empires used and created transnational networks; they drew upon expertise that had been gained within the contexts of scientific and cultural exchange, working with missionaries, explorers and scholars. While the unequal power relations at the heart of empire are self-evident, internationalism was not...

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3. Church and state

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pp. 80-114

In the second half of the nineteenth century, Europe experienced intense antagonism between secular and ecclesiastical forces. In Germany, these conflicts peaked with the Kulturkampf of the 1870s; in Italy, they were exemplified by the ‘Rome question’ and the Papacy’s hostility towards the liberal state.1 In France, the legitimacy of the Third Republic was initially contested by an alliance of monarchists and Catholics. Spurred on by Cardinal Lavigerie in 1890, some French Catholics adopted a policy of...

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4. Equality

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pp. 115-144

In their contribution to a Belgian tourist guide, Alexandre Dumas and Victor Hugo praised the Belgian constitution as ‘the most liberal one in Europe’.1 The flexibility of the country’s political framework became evident during the upheavals of 1848, when the government pre-empted unrest by extending the franchise.2 Dumas and Hugo were but two activists who moved to Belgium after the rise of Louis Napoleon in France; others included Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Jean Baptiste Clément, François-Vincent Raspail and Edgar Quinet....

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5. Peace

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pp. 145-180

Belgians had a vested interest in a world order based on the international rule of law, given their country’s location between France and Germany. Belgian independence had bred antagonisms and border disputes with the Netherlands that lasted well into the 1920s. To avoid international rivalry over Belgium, the country’s independence was tied to perpetual neutrality – a formula adopted at Aix-la-Chapelle in 1831 and cemented in 1839 through the Treaty of London. This ‘imposed neutrality’ was soon integrated into the country’s...

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6. Universalism

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pp. 181-210

Internationalism was sustained by ideas about civilisation, international relations and society. It was, however, also a cultural phenomenon in which politics, science and visions of modernity intersected. This aspect is illustrated by two figures who have featured at various parts of this study and whose joint efforts warrant detailed examination: Henri La Fontaine and Paul Otlet. The basic outline of their activism is well known, yet any account of internationalism in Belgium needs to consider their role at the nexus of...

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Conclusion: Internationalism and the Belgian crossroads

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pp. 211-216

Internationalism was an amorphous phenomenon that could be placed at the disposal of conflicting forces and ideologies. Belgian intellectuals portrayed their country as the ‘crossroads of Europe’ and used internationalism as a source of national prestige. Meanwhile, supporters of King Leopold depicted expansion in Central Africa as an international ‘philanthropic’ cause. World exhibitions were emblematic of this kind of internationalism, marked by representations of national progress and imperial propaganda, trailing...

Select bibliography

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pp. 217-243

Index

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pp. 244-251