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From Ancien Régime To Bourgeois State: England

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Chapter Summary

Alan Macfarlane insisted that English society had scarcely undergone any change in its basic structures for a number of centuries. He gave as the reason for this that in England private property, capitalism and modern family structures had already come to prevail in the thirteenth century. Richardson and Sayle are right to maintain that many aspects of administrative development during the reign of Henry II had scarcely any equivalent in France until the seventeenth century. They conclude that England already had an 'impersonal monarchy' (objectified royal power) as early as the twelfth century, is overstated. Even though the dignity of the kings of England had already become a kind of institution, the successful exercise of rule still required the renown of the royal person. Kings won this renown by their courage, by success in battle and on occasion by their justice.

Keywords: capitalism; England; impersonal monarchy; modern family structures; private property

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