By Thomas Ertman

For a few years students have sought to provide an explanation for why the ecu states that emerged within the interval sooner than the French Revolution built alongside such diversified traces. Why did a few states turn into absolutist and others constitutionalist? What enabled a few to enhance bureaucratic administrative platforms, whereas others remained based upon patrimonial practices?

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Additional resources for Birth of the Leviathan: Building States and Regimes in Medieval and Early Modern Europe

Sample text

But before succumbing to despair, we should take note of the fact that, as Koenigsberger himself mentions, one person at least offers the beginnings of such a theory, and that person was none other than Otto Hintze. During the 1920s and early 1930s, following his retirement from the University of Berlin, Hintze turned his attention increasingly to the representative assemblies of medieval and early modern Europe, a subject which he had neglected prior to World War I. His new interest may have been prompted by the difficulties that the Hungarian and Polish cases posed for his earlier, geopolitical theory42 or perhaps it was inspired by the advent of the parliamentary Weimar Republic.

2O Birth of the Leviathan about whether it would ever be possible to develop a general theory to explain variations in the strength of representative institutions. But before succumbing to despair, we should take note of the fact that, as Koenigsberger himself mentions, one person at least offers the beginnings of such a theory, and that person was none other than Otto Hintze. During the 1920s and early 1930s, following his retirement from the University of Berlin, Hintze turned his attention increasingly to the representative assemblies of medieval and early modern Europe, a subject which he had neglected prior to World War I.

16 Birth of the Leviathan largely from taxes on commerce or their equivalents like foreign subsidies or payments extorted from occupied territories which were allegedly easy to collect, could dispense with such bureaucracies. Thus while the underlying logic is somewhat different, these theorists' predictions concerning variations in state infrastructure are in the end nearly identical with those of Hintze, and equally problematic. The reason for this, as John Brewer's work has shown, is that the assumption that taxes on commerce were easy to collect and taxes on land difficult is erroneous.

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