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International Legitimacy and World Society$
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Ian Clark

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199297009

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199297009.001.0001

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Versailles and Social Justice, 1919

Versailles and Social Justice, 1919

(p.107) 5 Versailles and Social Justice, 1919
International Legitimacy and World Society

Ian Clark (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Perhaps the least discussed aspect of the 1919 settlement is its provisions on social justice, and yet an entire section of the Versailles Treaty and an article of the League Covenant were devoted to the international regulation of labour, which resulted in establishment of the International Labour Organization. These developments reflected the activities of the trade union movement, and particularly its Congresses during the war, as well as heightened sensitivity to labour in the context of both the war and the outbreak of the Russian revolution. It is clear that inclusion of a section on labour was sponsored by all of the Big Three powers for various political and instrumental reasons. What was radically new about the structure of the ILO was that it allowed membership from state representatives, but also from business and labour, thereby recognizing world society membership in an otherwise international society forum. The decisive argument was that social justice was properly the business of international society because it was fundamental to achieving international peace.

Keywords:   International Labour Organization, international society, League Covenant, Russian revolution, social justice, trade union movement, Versailles Treaty

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