Political History of Belgium: From 1830 Onwards

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Asp / Vubpress / Upa, 2009 - Broj stranica: 516
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The political history of Belgium is a fascinating story that should not be kept from speakers of English in Belgium and abroad.

From an international point of view, Belgium has been a trendsetter in many ways. It was the first country on the European continent to experience a quick process of industrialisation, with the development of the first liberal state following closely behind. More than elsewhere, liberalism reigned supreme in the 19th century, and as a result the social question was raised with great vehemence. The World Wars put Belgium in the middle of the fighting twice over; especially after 1945, the country played a prominent international role, first in the foundation of the Atlantic alliance and the European construction, and later in the decolonisation of the Congo. In the meantime, Belgium has developed into one of the countries experiencing the full force of globalisation, and, thanks to Brussels, into one of the preeminent international political centres.

Belgium is also a model of pacification democracy. Throughout many conflicts during the 19th and 20th centuries, an enduring compromise grew between Catholics and freethinkers, making Belgium one of the most pluralistic countries in Europe today. The fierce conflict between workers and employers, in its turn, led to a well-functioning model of a consultation and welfare state. Two cultures live together in Belgium. Up until the second half of the past century, the Flemish majority was at an economic, political and cultural disadvantage; during the process of catching up, coinciding with the demise of the Walloon economy, a complex federal model developed, in which cosmopolitan Brussels takes a very special position.

This book aims to offer a historical perspective in interpreting the current tensions in Belgian politics based on scientific literature.

Political History of Belgium is without doubt the outstanding authoritative reference work about the political history of a country at the centre of the development of Europe. As such, it offers essential background information for politicians, policy makers, civil servants, journalists, researchers, students and anyone with an interest in Belgium and Europe.
  

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Introduction
9
Els Witte
10
Breakthrough of a Liberal Constitutional State 18301848
19
The Military Financial and Diplomatic Consolidation of the Nation
28
Domestic PostRevolutionary Politics
34
SocialEconomic Policy
40
The Liberal AntiClerical Opposition
47
The AllLiberal Government of Rogier and FrèreOrban 1847
53
Pluralism Secularisation and SocioCultural Catholicism
256
Moral Themes as Political Issues
264
Alain Meynen
271
The General Strike of 19601961
277
The Resurgence of Labour Resistance and the New Social Movements 19681973
285
the Breakthrough of NeoLiberalism
296
The NeoLiberal Labour Policy 19821987
302
Racism and the New Social Issue
313

E Witte
61
The Labour Movement
73
The Liberal Freethinkers and AntiClericalism
82
pivotal point in the clerical vs anticlerical conflict
89
E Witte
97
The SocialDemocratic Programme
106
The Democratisation of Voting Rights and SocialPolitical Integration
114
The Battle for the Farmers Vote
123
Cultural Flamingantism
129
Colonialism and Militarism
135
Jan Craeybeckx
143
King Albert and His Governments
150
Pressure Groups Employers and Labour Organisations Social Dialogue
164
The Flemish Movement and the Language Laws
171
Jan Craeybeckx
183
the road to an initially corporatist social pact
190
The RightWing Movements in a Divided Catholic World
197
the policy of independence
208
Occupation Collaboration and the Resistance Movement
216
Economic Reconstruction and Social Cooperation
230
The Royal Question
239
Integration into the Western Bloc
245
Conflict and Conflict Management in the ReligiousPhilosophical Sphere
249
Recession Tentative Recovery and Budget Deficit 19911997
319
Legitimacy and Economy 19971998
328
Globalisation and Wage Norms
340
The New Economy
350
Els Witte
361
Brussels
369
the constitutional reforms of 1970 and 1980
376
Saint Michael Agreement
385
CHAPTER XJan Craeybeckx Alain Meynen
393
Belgium and NATO
400
Belgium and Europe
406
Els Witte
413
Parties and Elections
420
Changing Relations Between Government and Parliament
432
Justice and Politics
439
Media and Politics
445
ANNEXE I
457
ANNEXE II
463
Bibliography
471
List of Abbreviations
497
Author index
505
Subject index
511
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O autoru (2009)

Els Witte is a professor, a historian, and the former vice-chancellor at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). She is the director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Study of the Brussels Language Situation. Jan Craeybeckx is professor doctor emeritus at the department of history at the VUB. Alain Meynen is a historian who works at the Documentation Centre and Archive of the Communist Movement in Belgium.

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