chapter  5
46 Pages

Absolutism and constitutionalism

WithSverre Håkon Bagge

The ancestor of states based on capital, such as the Dutch Republic from the late sixteenth century and England from the late seventeenth century, was the medieval city state, which might mobilize far larger forces in proportion to its number of inhabitants than the contemporary kingdoms. Thus, England and the Dutch Republic clearly had a financial advantage over France from the second half of the seventeenth century, which also seems to imply the superiority of capital over coercion and the connection of the former with constitutionalism. The explanation of the difference between England and France must to some extent be sought in geography and ecology. The comparison between Britain and the Dutch Republic, on the one hand, and France and Spain, on the other, has largely confirmed the theory of a connection between capital and constitutionalism and an agrarian economy and absolutism.