Charles Tilly (ed.) The Formation of National States in Western Europe (1975), especially pages 1-242

Summary: Examines what Ardant calls the ‘physiology of state-making’: how the builders of states actually performed, or tried to perform, the extractive, coercive, and coordinative side of their work. This emphasis on mechanisms draws attention away from the forms of states and the broadest ends of state-making toward the implications of alternative public policies. (47)
Method: Case studies.
Important Insight: The formation of standing armies provided the largest single incentive to extraction and the largest single means of state coercion over the long run of European state-making. Recurrently, we find a chain of causation running from (1) change or expansion in land armies to (2) new efforts to extract resources from the subject population to (3) the development of new bureaucracies and administrative innovations to (4) resistance from the subject population to (5) renewed coercion to (6) durable increases in the bulk of extractiveness of the state.
     -preparation for war has been the great state-building activity. (74)
Critique: The papers are heavily weighted toward whole states, and big states like France and Spain at that. They are also weighted toward the states that have survived past the 18th century, and they are somewhat weighted toward features of states which are visible within the last century: bureaucracy rather than the sale of offices, mass professional armies rather than militias, specialized policy forces rather than posses. (48)
Churches and religious organizations should have received more attention, and so too should have linguistic and cultural policies. There is a lack of a clear connection b/w policing and other processes of control and extraction. Furthermore, none of the papers contains a sustained discussion of the general administrative structure of the various European states, or of their changes over time. (49)
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Notes
-key point of book as a whole: if the papers in this book have value, it will not be due to the new general explanations they offer for the rise of capitalism or the decline of Spain. Instead, their originality lies in their emphasis on what Ardant calls the ‘physiology of state-making’: how the builders of states actually performed, or tried to perform, the extractive, coercive, and coordinative side of their work. This emphasis on mechanisms draws attention away from the forms of states and the broadest ends of state-making toward the implications of alternative public policies. (47)
-biases: the papers are heavily weighted toward whole states, and big states like France and Spain at that. They are also weighted toward the states that have survived past the 18th century, and they are somewhat weighted toward features of states which are visible within the last century: bureaucracy rather than the sale of offices, mass professional armies rather than militias, specialized policy forces rather than posses. (48)
-churches and religious organizations should have received more attention, and so too should have linguistic and cultural policies. There is a lack of a clear connection b/w policing and other processes of control and extraction. Furthermore, none of the papers contains a sustained discussion of the general administrative structure of the various European states, or of their changes over time. (49)
-explicitly, our authors agree that the building of states in Western Europe cost tremendously in death, suffering, loss of rights and unwilling surrender of land, goods, or labour. Implicitly, they agree that the process could not have occurred without great costs… The fundamental reason for the high cost of European state-building was its beginning in the midst of a decentralized, largely peasant social structure. Building differentiated, autonomous, centralized organizations with effective control of territories entailed eliminating or subordinating thousands of semiautonomous authorities. (71)
-if our analysis of armed forces is correct, most of the enormous cost of military activity – by far the largest single cost of state-making – sprang from the effort to reduce rivals inside and outside the territory. Building states also entailed extracting the resources for their operation from several million rural communities.
-if our analyses of taxation and food supply are correct, European states could not have acquired much more power than they had at the beginning of the 17th century without collaborating in the destruction of the landed peasantry. In any case, they did collaborate.
-the relationship was reciprocal. The growth of governmental staff, the inflation of armies, the expansion of seats of government, the incessant search for new revenues all contributed in various ways to the drawing (or driving) of peripheral areas into national markets, to urbanization, and to the extension of capitalist property-relations. (73)
-IMPT: the formation of standing armies provided the largest single incentive to extraction and the largest single means of state coercion over the long run of European state-making. Recurrently, we find a chain of causation running from (1) change or expansion in land armies to (2) new efforts to extract resources from the subject population to (3) the development of new bureaucracies and administrative innovations to (4) resistance from the subject population to (5) renewed coercion to (6) durable increases in the bulk of extractiveness of the state.
     -preparation for war has been the great state-building activity. (74)
-coalitions marked the European state-making process at a smaller scale as well (in addition to at the system level). The variant strategies state-makers employed comprise much of the news of this book. Yet some general features stand out: As a rule, the European monarchs of the great state-building period allied themselves with the landlords of their territories, who received a certain licence to exploit their own shares of the land and the peasantry. Landowners generally comprised the nerves of the armed forces, the core of the coercion employed in crushing the early forms of resistance to state-making, and the bulk of local administration in nomine principis. (76-77)
-European state-making began from a position of relative homogeneity (due to the Roman empire) across Europe, but involved a further move toward homogeneity within states, along two criss-crossing paths: (1) via the deliberate attempts of state-makers to homogenize the culture of their subject populations through linguistic, religious, and eventually educational standardization; and (2) via the tendency of those states enclosing relatively homogenous populations to survive and prosper, while those containing wide cultural disparities tended to stagnate or explode (since a homogenous population was more likely to remain loyal and centralized policies of extraction and control were more likely to yield a high return to the government where the population’s routine life was organized in relatively uniform ways. (78-79)
-The European state-building experiences will not repeat themselves in new states, since the connections of the new states to the rest of the world have changed too much… Among other things, that prior existence of a state system has fundamentally altered the role of the military forces in the smaller states, since their strength or weakness no longer makes the major difference in the territory controlled by the state or in its relations with other states. (81)
-what’s more, they can borrow military might, technical expertise, or development funds from other states, and exist in a more globalized world, which affects the expectations of citizens (e.g. welfare) and the complexity of the economy. (82)
-We began our work intending to analyze state-making and the formation of nations interdependently. As our inquiry proceeded, we concentrated our attention increasingly on the development of states rather than the building of nations. There were several reasons for this drift: the definition of “state” is easier to fix than that of “nation”; another was our fixation on the periods in which the primacy of states was still open to serious challenge, and these were not generally periods of nationalism, mass political identity, or great cultural homogeneity; the third was the deliberate bias in our original sets of topics toward the extractive and repressive activities of states. (3)
-In their most general terms, all our historical questions go back to one: what are the most crucial problems and events in the emergence of the alternative forms of Western states? That immediately raises two issues: common properties and variations… The problem of variation itself splits neatly into two parts: what determined the principal variations in the early forms of West European states?; and what difference did the character of early state-building make to the subsequent form and substance of political activity in one country or another? (12-13)
-Precisely b/c our object is to look forward from 1600 to 1650, we should step back a bit in time to see what lies behind our vantage point… What did Europe at the beginning of the 16th century have in common? First, cultural homogeneity, largely due to the Roman Empire (regarding a convergence of language, law, religion, administrative practice, agriculture, landholding, and perhaps kinship as well). Second, the prevalence of the peasantry (most of the population and most of the resources were committed to a peasant way of life). (19)
-two features of the background to European state-making deserve emphasis because our unilinear notions of ‘political development’ tend to disguised them: (1) the early political importance of deliberative assemblies; (2) the tenacious and widespread resistance to the expansion of state power. (21)
-the structure which became dominant in Europe after 1500, the national state, differed from these alternative possibilities (Holy Roman Empire, commercial federations, feudal organizations) in several significant ways: (1) it controlled a well-defined, continuous territory; (2) it was relatively centralized; (3) it was differentiated from other organizations; (4) it reinforced its claims through a tendency to acquire a monopoly over the concentrated means of physical coercion within its territory. (27)
-the predominance of peasants drew state-makers willy-nilly into struggles and coalitions with the men who controlled the land. (28)
-features that explain the victory of the national state over its theoretically possible alternatives: specialized organization works (think success in war); the openness of the European periphery; the contributions of cities, trade, merchants, manufacturers, and early capitalism (freed resources, made taxation and other forms of extraction more feasible, and motivated older authorities to develop new forms of control over the population). (30)
-in raising preliminary questions about the alternative patterns of state-making in Europe, I want to call attention to only one broad characteristics of the three elements of variation/commonality: population; governmental organization; and routinized relations b/w the gov org and the population. (32)
-population: the pattern of mobilization w/in the population subject to each state.
-the extent of mobilization on the basis of language and belief depended to an important degree on the form and policy of the state. Mobilization on the basis of class position within the industrial system occurred regardless of the character of the state.
-governmental organization: the degree of “stateness.” Borrowing from Nettl (1968), I mean the degree to which the instruments of government are differentiated from other organizations, centralized, autonomous, and formally coordinated with each other.
-extreme stateness neither guarantees political stability nor assures power in the international arena. Increases in stateness do ordinarily increase a government’s command of mobile resources, but the short-run cost of an increase is the increased likelihood of resistance and revolt.
-routinized relations: the forms of political rights exercised by the population with respect to the governmental structure.
-The European national revolutions of the last few centuries did not so much expand political rights as concentrate them in the state and reduce their investment in other sorts of governments… Nothing could be more detrimental to an understanding of this whole process than the old liberal conception of European history as the gradual creation and extension of political rights. (37)’