ABSTRACT. On occasion, China’s international attitude still runs counter to expected international attitude, understood as the dominant political values and their associated modes of sociopolitical behavior in the conduct of foreign affairs. Yet, this means that in the past China’s attitude was even more “erratic.” This raises the following question: is the expected international attitude spatially and temporally universal? Relying upon the tools provided by historical sociology we sought to historically ground the European Nation-States’ and the Chinese Empire’s international attitudes. Nearly two millennia separates the formation of the Chinese Empire’s and the European Nation-States’ international attitudes. We identified two related but ultimately different historical trajectories, which accounts for both the differences of attitude, but also the rapid worldwide diffusion of the European attitude. If both went through a process of modern State-building, only 19th century Europe went through a concomitant transition to industrial capitalism, which radically transformed its domestic environment materializing the threat of Revolution. Balancing the individual interest of rival dynasties with their collective interest, the preservation of the Dynastic Order, led to the materializing of the so-called “Westphalian system,” to which the Great War put an abrupt end after a century of peace. pp. 134–172

Keywords: international relations; Westphalian system; China; Europe; industrial revolution; national revolution

How to cite: Schiele, Alexandre (2015), “China’s International Attitude of Withdrawal during the 19th Century,” Geopolitics, History, and International Relations 7(2): 134–172.

Received 28 August 2014 • Received in revised form 24 February 2015
Accepted 1 March 2015 • Available online 1 August 2015

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Department of Political Science,
University of Quebec, Montreal

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