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State Formation And Citizenship: The Dutch Republic Between Medieval Communes And Modern Nation States

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Chapter Summary

The relationship between the state and its inhabitants is one of the fundamental themes of political economy and New Institutional Economics. This chapter analyses what were the specific features of one case, the Dutch Republic, arguably the best example of a small state to play a disproportionately large role in the European state system in this period. It discusses the specific Western European characteristics of the process of state formation from the origin of the communes during the High Middle Ages to the final decades of the eighteenth century, when some of these concepts and ideas, reformulated by Enlightenment thinkers, played a large role in the 'Atlantic Revolution' which began in 1776. The power of a state is, evidently, not only a function of the efficiency of its ability to mobilise resources, but also dependent on its size, i.e. the amount of resources available within its boundaries.

Keywords: Atlantic revolution; Dutch Republic; Middle Ages; political economy; state formation



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