Ambassadors - Rise of Modern Diplomacy

Rise of Modern Diplomacy

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The rise of the modern diplomatic system was a product of the Italian Renaissance (from around 1300 AD). The use of ambassadors became a political strategy in Italy during the 17th century. The political changes in Italy altered the role of ambassadors in diplomatic affairs. Because many of the states in Italy were small in size, they were particularly vulnerable to larger states. The ambassador system was used to disperse information and to protect the more vulnerable states.

This practice then spread to Europe during the Italian Wars. The use and creation of ambassadors during the 15th century in Italy has had long-term effects on Europe and, in turn, the world's diplomatic and political progression. Europe still uses the same terms of ambassador rights as they had established in the 16th century, concerning the rights of the ambassadors in host countries as well as the proper diplomatic procedures. An ambassador was used as a representative of the state in which he is from to negotiate and disseminate information in order to keep peace and establish relationships with other states. This attempt was employed in the effort to maintain peaceful relations with nations and make alliances during difficult times.

The use of ambassadors today is widespread. States and non-state actors use diplomatic representatives to deal with a host of problems that occur within the international system. Ambassadors now normally live overseas or within the country in which it is assigned to for long periods of time so that they are acquainted with the culture and local people. This way they are more politically effective and trusted, enabling them to accomplish goals that their host country desires.

Resident Coordinators of UN system are accredited to the Head of State and have the same rank.

Historically, officials representing their countries abroad were termed ministers, but this term was also applied to diplomats of the second rank. The Congress of Vienna of 1815 formalized the system of diplomatic rank under international law:

Ambassadors are diplomats of the highest rank, formally representing the head of state, with plenipotentiary powers (i.e. full authority to represent the government). In modern usage, most ambassadors on foreign postings as head of mission carry the full title of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. "Ordinary" ambassadors and non-plenipotentiary status are rarely used, although they may be encountered in certain circumstances. The only difference between an extraordinary ambassador and an ordinary ambassador is that while the former's mission is permanent, the latter serves only for a specific purpose.

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