Development of the Early modern State

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
Your conception of an early modern state appears to differ from mine. That is OK. We will disagree on criteria and characteristics.

If you are arguing that 16th century England was a "fiscal-military state," there is a substantial disagreement as the sovereign was dependent on customs to pay for all Royal expenses, mostly including the army and navy. Parliamentary subsidies were grudgingly voted in extremis, but private capital and plunder were major components of English military financing until the last half of the 17th century.

English Royal, and county, bureaucracy was minimal at best; corrupt at worst and could not provide what was needed by the Crown without the peculation of military officers and the private initiative and profit motive of maritime privateers. Corruption was tolerated of necessity because army and navy officers were the only providers of additional resources needed to wage war.

See the following:

C. G. Cruikshank, Elizabeth's Army (Oxford, 1966, 2nd. ed.)

M. C. Fissel, English Warfare, 1511-1642 (London, 2001)

P. E. J. Hammer, Elizabeth's Wars (New York, 2003)

R. B. Wernham, "Amphibious Operations and the English Assault on the Spanish Atlantic Economy, 1585-1598," in D. J. B. Trim and M. C. Fissel, eds., Amphibious Warfare 1000-1700, Commerce, State Formation and European Expansion (Brill, 2006)

Wernham's essay in particular, as well as Cruikshank's old work, demonstrate the primitive state organization and the financial difficulties with which the Crown struggled in England's long (undeclared) war with Spain.
 
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martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,646
Spain
The characters of a Modern State are:

1st: a Territory
2nd: A political control on territory
3rd: The Monopoly of the Force: Police and standing Regular (Not mercenary) Army
4th: a Diplomatic professional Corps.
5th: a public Treasury
6th: bureaucracy with professional officials

The Italian States were "Modern" but most of them lacked of police and Armies save mercenaries...The Modern State born in Spain (and Portugal), France and England.
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
In the Early Modern Forum, let's debate the Early Modern state. There seems to be a sense that we are discussing the Modern state. Criteria have been proposed that reflect states closer to the age of democratic revolution than to early modern state formation.

To differentiate between 16th century conditions and those of the mid 18th century, it can be interesting to designate some examples and consider differences between them. I suggest:

1) Spain has been mentioned. Habsburg Spain in the 16th century was a composite monarchy of numerous territories, each with their indigenous elites, privileges and local laws, and security interests. With primitive and slow communications, and with a bureaucracy that was not large by any means, the monarchy functioned well enough to continue as a powerful state. Few of the "modern" criteria are present, but this widespread monarchy was successful anyway.

2) France in the 16th century was still transitioning from a medieval kingdom and for most of the century it experienced defeat and religious turmoil. Royal governments could not keep armies in place any more than could disaffected nobility (Protestant or otherwise). Seven or eight civil wars were fought mainly because the financial resources were lacking and poorly used. The wars petered out when troops could not be fed or paid, and then began again. The nobility had its own agendas at the expense of the state, and that continued until the mid-17th century. Yet France was a wealthy land and was an important state connected to all the most important component parts of Europe east of the Elbe.

3) England developed differently from the Continent, mostly due to its geography. The country functioned with almost no bureaucratic organization apart from personal patrons and their clients. Soldiers were raised ad hoc and most were involuntarily levied, their officers exploiting them for their own profit. Beyond a small Royal Navy, maritime strategy was a matter of privateering and plunder (with the sovereign also making risky investments). At the earliest stage of the 1600s, England had survived more because of geography than the minimal structure of its state.

Spain can be classified as a fiscal-military state. France and England not so. Two others that developed the important institutions of a fiscal-military state after 1600 are the Dutch Republic and somewhat later, Sweden.

See: Jan Glete, War and the State in Early Modern Europe: Spain, the Dutch Republic and Sweden as Fiscal-Military States, 1500-1660 (London, 2002)

By 1750, France and Great Britain were the greatest of great powers. Spain, the Dutch and Sweden had been eclipsed. (Spain remained a substantial state with geographical reach, and it made a remarkable recovery in the 18th century and until the Napoleonic Wars.) By the later 18th century the early modern fiscal-military state had been replaced by the mercantile state.

The 16th and 17th centuries were dominated by states that were not modern in the sense of national loyalty, that were not managed by sophisticated bureaucracies or that had yet to develop modern methods of finance. Yes there were financial instruments - Bonds, Juros, annuities, and banks - but these methods tended to be short term methods and had many instances of breakdown and inadequacy. From tax collection to government councils to the officers corps, these early modern states relied (as they had to) on patronage, venality and personal resources of nobility and small mercantile populations. By 1700 that was changing, but that can be another thread.
 
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Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
Your conception of an early modern state appears to differ from mine. That is OK. We will disagree on criteria and characteristics.

If you are arguing that 16th century England was a "fiscal-military state," there is a substantial disagreement as the sovereign was dependent on customs to pay for all Royal expenses, mostly including the army and navy. Parliamentary subsidies were grudgingly voted in extremis, but private capital and plunder were major components of English military financing until the last half of the 17th century.
The reliance on customs and tarrifs to fund the government doesn't prevent it from being a modern state. For much of US history, the government relied on tarrifs. The key thing is that the king was not paying for war out of his lands.

English Royal, and county, bureaucracy was minimal at best; corrupt at worst and could not provide what was needed by the Crown without the peculation of military officers and the private initiative and profit motive of maritime privateers. Corruption was tolerated of necessity because army and navy officers were the only providers of additional resources needed to wage war.
Bureaucracy did exist, and was sufficient for the needs. The armies were by Tudor times not armies provided by the powerful nobles, as in medieval times, but worked for and reported directly to the crown (state). Thus it meets the criteria of a modern state. Large bureaucracies are not a requirement of a modern state, merely large enough to do what is needed.

Privateers and prize money existed into the early 19th century, after you have acknowledged the existence of the early modern state.

Wernham's essay in particular, as well as Cruikshank's old work, demonstrate the primitive state organization and the financial difficulties with which the Crown struggled in England's long (undeclared) war with Spain.
So? Difficulty in funding doesn't preclude England from being an early modern state, and wars are expensive, and funding wars for even fully modern states can be difficult. The international finance markets that England could borrow from to finance their wars not exist in the 16th century.
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
In the Early Modern Forum, let's debate the Early Modern state. There seems to be a sense that we are discussing the Modern state. Criteria have been proposed that reflect states closer to the age of democratic revolution than to early modern state formation.

To differentiate between 16th century conditions and those of the mid 18th century, it can be interesting to designate some examples and consider differences between them. I suggest:

1) Spain has been mentioned. Habsburg Spain in the 16th century was a composite monarchy of numerous territories, each with their indigenous elites, privileges and local laws, and security interests. With primitive and slow communications, and with a bureaucracy that was not large by any means, the monarchy functioned well enough to continue as a powerful state. Few of the "modern" criteria are present, but this widespread monarchy was successful anyway.

2) France in the 16th century was still transitioning from a medieval kingdom and for most of the century it experienced defeat and religious turmoil. Royal governments could not keep armies in place any more than could disaffected nobility (Protestant or otherwise). Seven or eight civil wars were fought mainly because the financial resources were lacking and poorly used. The wars petered out when troops could not be fed or paid, and then began again. The nobility had its own agendas at the expense of the state, and that continued until the mid-17th century. Yet France was a wealthy land and was an important state connected to all the most important component parts of Europe east of the Elbe.
I we would say that France retained some medieval features well up until the French Revolution. For example,I read that some regions of France had their in standards of units.

3) England developed differently from the Continent, mostly due to its geography. The country functioned with almost no bureaucratic organization apart from personal patrons and their clients. [/Quote]

Debatable. Even in medieval times, the English chancery developed "Chancery English" to bring some uniformity in language and spelling that had wide range of dialects. Yes, bureaucracy wasn't as large or well developed as later times, but we are taking about "early" modern states, with the stress on.early.

And while not extensive, its bureaucracy was far from non existence as you imply. A number of institutions of modern Britain already existed by then.

Soldiers were raised ad hoc and most were involuntarily levied, their officers exploiting them for their own profit.
Really? Most soldiers were volunteers, there was no draft, and feudal leviez were a thing of the past. Can you provide examples from.Elizabethan and Stuart times that the soldiers were involuntary? Naval forces were involuntary up until the he early 19th century.

Beyond a small Royal Navy, maritime strategy was a matter of privateering and plunder (with the sovereign also making risky investments). At the earliest stage of the 1600s, England had survived more because of geography than the minimal structure of its state.
England did have a small professional military, even if it was just a small navy. Britain, until it became more active in European and world affairs, had no need of a large standing army.

Prize money and privateering were used by Britain until the early 19h century. Are you asserting that Britain was not an early modern state even at the beginning of the 19th century?

Spain can be classified as a fiscal-military state. France and England not so. Two others that developed the important institutions of a fiscal-military state after 1600 are the Dutch Republic and somewhat later, Sweden.
You fail to define what a fiscsl-military state is, and it seems to me a consitent definition of the term, England would have been one after the Restoration, which did have s standing army.

By 1750, France and Great Britain were the greatest of great powers. Spain, the Dutch and Sweden had been eclipsed. (Spain remained a substantial state with geographical reach, and it made a remarkable recovery in the 18th century and until the Napoleonic Wars.) By the later 18th century the early modern fiscal-military state had been replaced by the mercantile state.
You don't need to be a great military power to be a modern state. The US for most of its history had a relatively small army and navy because it didn't need a bigger one.

The 16th and 17th centuries were dominated by states that were not modern in the sense of national loyalty,
You are completely shifting your argument. Whether or not the dominant powers in the 16th and 17th century were modern states, England did have a sense of national loyalty, and I suspect France and Spain did as well. If France did, then you are completely wrong. And your claim is true only if you claim England was not a major power

From tax collection to government councils to the officers corps, these early modern states relied (as they had to) on patronage, venality and personal resources of nobility and small mercantile populations. By 1700 that was changing, but that can be another thread.
This wasn't true of England by the Tudor times. England wasn't relying on the personal resources of the nobility, nor was patronage.
 
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Tulius

Ad Honorem
May 2016
5,914
Portugal
The French historian Jean-Philippe Genet presented a paper in a conference in Lisbon "La Genèse de l'État Moderne: Genèse d'un programme de recherche", in the far year of 1996, about his view about the Genesis of the “Modern State”, relying much in his previous works about the subject (as L’État Moderne: Genèse. Bilans et perspectives – https://www.amazon.fr/LEtat-moderne-genèse-Bilans-perspectives/dp/2222044456).

There he proposed a working definition for “Modern State”, condensed here: « c’est un Etat don’t la base matérielle repose sur une fiscalité publique acceptée par la société politique (et ce dans une dimension territoriale supérieure à celle de la cité), et ou tous les sujets sont concernés. »

Google translation: « it is a state where the material basis rests on a public taxation accepted by the political society (and in a territorial dimension superior to that of the city), and where all the subjects are concerned. »

For the Iberian Peninsula it is somewhat accepted that this genesis begun in the 15th century, mostly with the royal centralization led by D. João II in Portugal and the Catholic kings in Spain.

This reasoning is somewhat similar to the already presented by Martin in the post #8, and this working definition made historiography at least in France, Portugal and Spain.
 
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Jul 2017
292
Srpska
Imo the characteristic of a modern state is the split between military security governance and the civil administration of society. So, I'd rather define it as civil-military state than fiscal-military state.
During the medieval times both powers civil and military were under one head, a king, a duke, the ruler. And then the French revolution happened.
 
Apr 2018
278
Italy
The characters of a Modern State are:

1st: a Territory
2nd: A political control on territory
3rd: The Monopoly of the Force: Police and standing Regular (Not mercenary) Army
4th: a Diplomatic professional Corps.
5th: a public Treasury
6th: bureaucracy with professional officials

The Italian States were "Modern" but most of them lacked of police and Armies save mercenaries...The Modern State born in Spain (and Portugal), France and England.
Venice had a stable army. Mercenary also was used extensively until the end of XVIII century.
 

martin76

Ad Honorem
Dec 2014
6,646
Spain
Venice had a stable army. Mercenary also was used extensively until the end of XVIII century.
Yes, But Venetian Army was mostly mercenary (not as the Spanish-Portuguese, English) and I don´t know about Venetian standing Embassy in Madrid or in London from 15th Century. iN any case, Venetian State was very important in Europe in Medieval Age. When the Spaniards (Colón) and Portuguese (Vasco da Gama) arrived to America and India... Venetia was fatally wounded.
 

pikeshot1600

Ad Honorem
Jul 2009
9,958
Probably an understood definition for the "fiscal-military state" would be helpful. (part Wiki; part Oxford Bibiographies)

The fiscal-military state bases its economic model according to the sustaining of its armed forces (army and navy). Although coercion-extraction of resources, primarily through heavy taxation, has been seen as a prominent factor in this, it has not always been the case, and other mechanisms have been recognized and employed for the maintenance of early modern states and their military forces.

The conditions also differed markedly from 1500 to 1600 to 1700/1750. Such states could not function, or even come into existence, without more bureaucratic offices and institutions, and without mechanisms of funding.
One poster stated that I had failed "to define what a fiscal-military state is." ^^ The contemporary definition is stated above (post #2).

Also previously cited was Jan Glete, War and the State in Early Modern Europe: Spain, The Dutch republic and Sweden as Fiscal-Military States, 1500-1660 (London, 2002)

Of course England and France were states in the Early Modern period. However, they both developed more after their own models than those of Spain or of other Continental states. And both England and France depended upon the resources and connections of their nobility at local levels for the ability to raise and maintain armies, and also some naval/privateer assets, before the later 1600s

For lengthy explanations, see:

For England:

- Mark Charles Fissel, English Warfare, 1511-1642 (London, 2001), pp 82-113 for the wide spread impressment of English soldiers from the mid-late 16th century to the 1620s. Also, local authority, residing in the gentry and nobility, were instrumental in rounding up miscreants, vagrants and other "masterless men" for troops. The Crown had limited resources and much of the expense of arming and providing for the troops was laid off on the counties and their prominent persons. The navy and the Ordnance were of course at royal expense, but much maritime capability was also at private expense.

- C. G. Cruikshank, Elizabeth's Army (Oxford, 2nd ed.,1966), pp 17-40 for recruitment and impressment of troops sent to the Low Countries, France and Ireland. On page 290 is a list of levies from 1585 to 1602. Levies of 105,810 total are listed year by year. Places away from England were the most advantageous to counter England's adversaries. Most foreign campaigns had from 4,000 to 7,000 soldiers, with the exception of 18-19,000 in Ireland after 1600. The Trained Bands of the militia served more willingly, but they were very rarely used overseas. There were always volunteers, and gentlemen volunteers, but not in the numbers of impressed recruits.

For France:

- David Parrott, Richlieu's Army: War, Government and Society in France, 1624-1642 (Cambridge, 2001), pp 277-312 for recruitment. The French were more martial than their English contemporaries, but the nobility recruited heavily from their estates, and from other areas and towns nearby. Unemployment and poor harvests often enabled recruitment.

- John Lynn, Giant of the Grand Siecle: The French Army, 1610-1715 (Cambridge, 1997), pp 221-239 for the raising of regiments (and armies) at the initial expense of their officers. This practice continued even under Louvois and on into the 18th century. France was a wealthy enough country, and with a large nobility that could be co-opted to accept such a situation that gave them access to influence, military reputation and material reward.

Jan Glete (^^ op. cit.) explains the differing fiscal models employed by Spain, the Dutch and Sweden that enabled these early modern states to maintain large armies and navies by leveraging their economy as opposed to relying on royal resources or the resources of nobility to the degree that England and France did until the late 17th century.


Along with the several sources listed in post #11 (and there are quite a number of others), some backing up of opinion is always appreciated. Let's continue.
 
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