The central historical question that animates The Familial State – Why the rise and fall of the Dutch Republic? – at first sounds quite particular. Yet the diminutive Netherlands played an enormous historical role in the early modern period (1500–1800), which embraced what we still call the Dutch Golden Age. Its glorious artistic legacy is well known. The Dutch also created the first system of global commercial/colonial power. Dutch developments shaped the histories of other regions, both negatively and positively, in Europe, Africa, the Americas and the colonial territories in the East and West Indies. Furthermore, Dutch history is a window into general processes of European development and mechanisms of politico-economic stability and transformation. But the more we appreciate these facts, the more puzzling aspects of the Netherlands appear. How did its weak state dovetail with unprecedented economic hegemony? Why did not the ruling elite of the Netherlands capitalize on its new resources and reform the state, shoring up the global mercantile system? Why did the Dutch state ultimately decline? My answer to these questions, as well as the comparative optic that they necessitate, is inscribed in the title of the book itself.
Adams, J. (2008), "A memo on the familial states of the Netherlands, France and England, 1500–1800", Davis, D. and Proenza-Coles, C. (Ed.) Political Power and Social Theory (Political Power and Social Theory, Vol. 19), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 237-241. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0198-8719(08)19007-XDownload as .RIS
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