Informations and abstract
When evaluating the Congress of Vienna of 1814/15, historians traditionally concentrate on the establishment of a new international order in the wake of the Napoleonic Wars. In this context, the practice of intervention was attributed a clear function: the Great Powers would jointly intervene to put down revolutions that posed a danger for the newly created order. However, to interpret the practice of intervention as having derived strictly from antirevolutionary concerns is to overlook another aspect taking shape in the shadows of the congress, one that would become fi rmly established in nineteenth-century international politics, namely, the use of military intervention to enforce an internationally stipulated humanitarian norm. The essay argues that the international ban of the slave trade, as declared by the Congress of Vienna, not only created an international humanitarian norm but also conceived the corresponding international apparatus to enforce it. This perspective throws a new light on the early nineteenthcentury practice of intervention. Thus, this article traces the origins of the practice of humanitarian intervention to the milieu of the Congress of Vienna and the context of the fi ght against the transatlantic slave trade.