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The Development of the Modern State

Posted by Judson L Moore

In this chapter, two points are made: first, discuss the different forms of ‘state’ which have existed and how they transformed into the modern state; second, why it is that the nation-state became the dominant form of the modern state.

The author shares that the modern state has its birth in European history, stretching back to the Holy Roman Empire 1600 years ago. The author continuously refers to the idea that the history of the modern state is the history of Europe. Early in Europe, Feudalism was the major form of government. This form of government is structured by loose agreements and obligations which flow down to an autonomous level. Feudalism was the most popular form of government from the 8th to 14th centuries when Absolutist states, followed by the nation-state, dominated. From the nation-state comes the modern state. There are four types of modern states:

  1. Constitutionalism
  2. The liberal state
  3. Representative democracy
  4. The single-party polity

So why did the nation-state become so dominant? There is no single event or set of phenomena that occurred to answer this. Rather it is sheer luck that this form would be spread through military victories from nations that happened to be ruled by this form. As the early nation-states spread, so did their form of government.

Continuing on this same trend, the creation of colonies and the spread of globalization spread the concept of the nation-state.

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Judson L Moore
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Travel addict. Ambitious about making the world a better place. Writing what I learn along the way.

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