The Early Modern State

  • Bernard Crick
Part of the Studies in Comparative Politics book series (STCP)


‘The modern state is a European, or more exactly, Western European, creation’, Heinz Lubatz has written.40 The modern state is, above all else, a sovereign state: it seeks to be the sole authority and the only effective power within a given territory, and seeks also to preserve the independence of that territory. In the early modern period this did not necessarily imply even in theory, certainly never in fact, an unlimited or total domination: the state was held to be predominant, but not omnipotent; unchallengeable, but not omnicompetent. It sought to preserve peace and order, not to change society drastically (however much and however rapidly societies were, in fact, changing); it is only in the later modern period, certainly not earlier than the nineteenth century, that men came to believe that states could and should transform society.


Sixteenth Century Sovereign State Total Domination Early Modern Period Henry VIII 
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Copyright information

© Government and Opposition 1973

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bernard Crick
    • 1
  1. 1.Birkbeck CollegeUniversity of LondonUK

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