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Why Did Seventeenth-Century Estates Address The Jurisdictions Of Their Princes As Fatherlands? War, Territorial Absolutism And Duties To The Fatherland In Seventeenth-Century German Political Discourse

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author argues that in the second half of the sixteenth century in sharp contrast to the fifteenth and earlier sixteenth century, the rhetoric of fatherland began to be used to describe the jurisdictions of princes as well as to describe the Empire. The author begins with a short outline of the significance of the term patria within legal discourse (I), followed by a single example that reveals in more detail that, although the application of the new term remained muddled, contradictory and haphazard, its use tended to become openly anti-absolutist in the seventeenth century (II). Without doubt, many princes in Germany succeeded in emancipating themselves to a considerable extent from the formal control of estate assemblies.

Keywords: fatherland; Germany; patria



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