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Sacred MandatesAsian International Relations since Chinggis Khan$
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Timothy Brook, Michael van Walt van Praag, and Miek Boltjes

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226562629

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226562933.001.0001

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Transitions to the Modern State System

Transitions to the Modern State System

Chapter:
(p.155) Chapter Six Transitions to the Modern State System
Source:
Sacred Mandates
Author(s):
Timothy Brook, Michael van Walt van Praag, Miek Boltjes
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226562933.003.0006

The rules governing international relations in Inner and East Asia changed hugely in the nineteenth century. Asian laws of nations were supplanted under pressures coming from outside, most conspicuously from the West but also from Japan. The resort to violence by Western powers and Asian rulers alike was justified through doctrines of European international law that had evolved so as to remove restraints on European imperialist projects. Asian states scrambled to reorganize along modern, Western lines, and most governments that had ruled them in the nineteenth century were gone by the twentieth, with few exceptions. As new political elites took power, a continent of khans, emperors, hierarchs, and kings became a world of presidents, party leaders, constitutional monarchs, and national assemblies. Interpolity relations underwent a complete conceptual and organizational transformation. Some states, such as Tibet and its Himalayan neighbors, became the objects of competing imperial ambitions, while others, such as Japan, used their new capacities to overturn the hierarchy of earlier relationships, especially with the Qing Great State, and spread their sway over others, notably Korea. Though the older sources of ruler legitimacy and legality did not fully disappear, newer ideologies and rules of interstate relationships largely replaced them.

Keywords:   borders, British India, Chosŏn Korea, Japanese imperialism, European imperialism, Himalayan states, state legitimacy, international relations theory, Meiji Japan, Qing empire

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