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Central Government

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Chapter Summary

This chapter describes how state formation contributed to the establishment of an institutional framework. In the course of the Middle Ages and early modern period, states were slowly transformed from feudal sovereignties to absolute sovereignties. While medieval states had not yet obtained absolute sovereignty, they had clearly made progress; in Holland, with its weak domanial and feudal structures, the counts managed to do so at an early stage. After they had gained authority they created a homogeneous government apparatus that provided all subjects with an institutional framework. This framework was essentially a social structure allowing for order; it was based on impartial authorities responsible for legislation, the judiciary, and execution of the laws, and thus it provided participants in economic exchange with the means to develop market structures. It even allowed rulers to aspire to an economic policy.

Keywords: central government; economic policy; feudal sovereignties; Holland; medieval state formation; provincial legislation



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