Treaty of Paris (1815)

Treaty of Paris (1815)

The Treaty of Paris of 1815 was signed on November 20, 1815, following the defeat and second abdication of Napoleon. In February, Napoleon had escaped from his exile on Elba; he entered Paris on March 20, beginning the Hundred Days of his restored rule. Four days after France's defeat in the Battle of Waterloo, Napoleon was persuaded to abdicate again, on June 22. King Louis XVIII, who had fled the country when Napoleon arrived in Paris, took the throne for a second time on July 8.

The 1815 Treaty, drawn up entirely in French, the "lingua franca" of contemporary diplomacy, was harsher toward France than the Treaty of 1814, which had been negotiated through the maneuvers of Talleyrand, because of reservations raised by the recent widespread support for Napoleon in France. France was reduced to its 1790 boundaries; it lost the territorial gains of the Revolutionary armies in 1790-92, which the previous treaty had allowed France to keep. France was now also ordered to pay 700 million francs in indemnities, in five yearly installments, [Article 9; the 1814 treaty had required only that France honor public and private debts incurred by the Napoleonic regime; see André Nicolle, "The Problem of Reparations after the Hundred Days" "The Journal of Modern History" 25.4 (December 1953:343-354)] and to maintain at its own expense an Allied army of occupation of 150,000 soldiers [Articles 4 and 5.] in the eastern border territories of France, from the English Channel to the border with Switzerland, for a maximum of five years. [The army of occupation and the Duke of Wellington's moderating transformation from soldier to statesman are discussed in Thomas Dwight Veve, "The Duke of Wellington and the British Army of Occupation in France, 1815-1818" (Westport CT:Greenwood Press) 1992.] The two-fold purpose of the military occupation was rendered self-evident by the convention annexed to the treaty outlining the incremental terms by which France would issue negotiable bonds covering the indemnity: in addition to safeguarding the neighboring states from a revival of revolution in France, it guaranteed fulfilment of the treaty's financial clauses. [A point made by Nicolle 1953:344.]

Although some of the Allies, notably Prussia, initially demanded that France cede significant territory in the east, rivalry among the powers and the general desire to secure the Bourbon restoration made the peace settlement less onerous than it might have beenFact|date=August 2007. This time France was not a signatory: the treaty was signed for Great Britain, Austria, Russia, and Prussia, forming in effect the first confederation of Europe.

The treaty is promulgated "In the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity," a foretaste of the return of the exiled Jesuits and the renewed role of religion, especially of Roman Catholicism, in the reaction to the Napoleonic Era. The treaty is brief. In addition to having "preserved France and Europe from the convulsions with which they were menaced by the late enterprise of Napoleon Bonaparte," the signers of the Treaty also repudiated "the revolutionary system reproduced in France."

The treaty is presented "in the desire to consolidate, by maintaining inviolate the Royal authority, and by restoring the operation of the Constitutional Charter, the order of things which had been happily re-established in France." The Constitutional Charter that is referred to so hopefully, was the Constitution of 1791, promulgated under the "Ancien régime" at the outset of the Revolution. Its provisions for the government of France would rapidly fall by the wayside, "notwithstanding the paternal intentions of her King" as the treaty remarks. The first Treaty of Paris, of May 30, 1814, and the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna, of June 9, 1815, were confirmed. On the same day, in a separate document, Great Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia renewed the Quadruple Alliance. The princes and free towns who were not signatories were invited to accede to its terms, [Act of the Congress of Vienna, Article 119.] whereby the treaty became a part of the public law by which Europe, with the exclusion of Ottoman Turkey, [Turkey had been excluded from the Congress of Vienna by the express wish of Russia (Strupp, "Wörterbuch des Völkerrechts", "s.v." "Wiener Kongress").] established "relations from which a system of real and permanent balance of power in Europe is to be derived." [The wording is from the May 20, 1814 treaty, quoted in Hugh McKinnon Wood, "The Treaty of Paris and Turkey's Status in International Law" "The American Journal of International Law" 37.2 (April 1943:262-274) p 263 and note 6; Wood's main subject is the Treaty of Paris (1856), terminating the Crimean War.]

ee also

*List of treaties


External links

* [ Text of the Treaty of Paris, from]

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