Abstract and Keywords
The chapter discusses recent theories on the European state-building process and explains the choice made here to present a few individual cases of state formation instead of dwelling on the general aspects of the theme. The examples selected are: 1. the Italian Renaissance State in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries; 2. the Spanish composite monarchy under Philip II and Philip III, a confederation of different polities each maintaining their own legislation and separate identity under a conciliar form of government; 3. the French centralized monarchy under Richelieu and Louis XIV, entailing a discussion of the nature and limitations of absolutism; 4. the German states, with a special emphasis on Prussia, and the Austrian Monarchy from 1648 to 1790, demonstrating how the Holy Roman Empire was still a force to be reckoned with, and how absolutist tendencies interlocked with a reform movement influenced by natural law theories and enlightened ideas.
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