POLI 212 Lecture Notes - Russian Empire, Barter, Proletariat
JANUARY 23, 2012: Continuing States and Regimes
The state is the fundamental principle of political organization in the modern and
Philpott is talking about the evolution of inter-state society in Europe. He doesn’t
take a long run perspective. His argument is about the Peace of Westphalia as a
point that crystalized the long run dynamics that have been contributing to the
politics we associate with the territorial state. His account is conventional because
of the importance he places on the treaty of Westphalia (a popular view among
political science), but it is unique because of the way he links the Treaty of
Westphalia to religious conflict in Europe→ he calls it a “fulcrum,” and it is a critical
juncture in European political history. The principles embedded in it are “robust” or
have enduring consequences that stretch well into the future.
Westphalia’s 4 enduring principles/legacy:
1. It was comprehensive (principles were to apply to all of Europe).
2. It rejected universal papal and imperial authority in favour of state autonomy.
3. It treats states as formally equal, whatever their domestic capabilities or capacity.
4. The principles of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of state (recognition of
state sovereignty within the border of the state in question).
The legacy distinguished between domestic hierarchy and interstate anarchy, so the
state becomes central to modern political life.
Philpott’s connection between Westphalia and religious conflict:
o Westphalia consolidates a process of historical change (the emergence of the
state as a political actor).
o There is a “before Westphalia” and an “after Westphalia,” because it sets
Europe off on a new path. It was a political settlement after a war.
o Westphalia elevates the state and diminished empire as forms of political
o It is a political settlement, but also a religious settlement→ it removed
religion as a cause of war between and amongst states.
o The principle of non-intervention was introduced (for religious reasons),
and meant no intervention to contest religion in another’s territory.
o This political settlement is considered a protestant victory in the wars of
religion, because it allowed wide parts of Europe to remain protestant→
which is the connection between the protestant reformation and sovereign
o Contra-factual argument: No Protestant Reformation = No peace of
Westphalia (this is what makes it a fulcrum)
o There are certain ideas or propositions in the Protestant Reformation, which
connect it to the Peace of Westphalia. Philpott calls them Protestant
Propositions, because they were taken up by actors and led to mobilization.
These propositions are connected to Catholicism because in the first
instance they were a challenge to the Catholic Church, and were considered
heresy. The challenge in Protestantism to a universal religion and how it is
organized political in the form of Empire. The reformation implies national
churches, organized within a territorial ground and organized by a
territorial government. Political sovereignty defined within state borders.
The essence of sovereignty springs from the works or words of the
o In European political history there are 2 types of challenges of Catholicism→
the democratic Republican challenge, and the challenge connected to the
Protestant Reformation (entrenches an enduring political principle of
organization, i.e. The state). It is possible to imagine a Protestant monarch,
which is the different between the protestant challenge and the Republican
challenge (the recognition of constitutionally limited monarchs).
o Doesn’t mean religion is not politicized domestically, just that it was no
longer a cause for war.
There is a distinction between a state and a regime.
A political regime is summarizing the rule of the political game/place in a particular
territory. These rules of the political game set out how power and authority are
allocated among political offices and political agencies. These rules can be formal or
informal, and when they are formal are in the form of a constitution. They may be
connected to practices or historical conventions, which continue to structure rules
of the game. Thinking of a regime like this, democracy is a regime, but it is not a
Another way to draw the distinction: Post-Revolutionary France→ gone through 5
constitutions, 2 monarchical restorations and 1 period of dictatorship. But the
borders of the French states have been constant, even as regimes have changed.
Defining a set of democratic rules of the game/a democratic regime, a definition of
those rules will never explain over who the rules preside and over who they hold.
There is no definition of whether it is democratic, autocratic, authoritarian, etc.,
because it isn’t in the definition
We take for granted that the regimes we are associated with are based on states.
What a state does is tell you over whom the political rules are expected to hold. A
state by definition is territorial, a regime by definition is not.
Russian Exceptionalism: There are 2 features of Russian Exceptionalism.
1. There is a stylized sense that things are different in the East politically, which
are crystalized in the late 19th and early 20th century, and political regimes are
more important in the East that the West→ the Russian Empire, the Ottoman
Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and all of them begin to collapse in
the aftermath of World War 1. The Russian empire is reconfigured as a party
2. The second feature of Russian Exceptionalism is how social revolution occurs.
The socialist revolution is predicted to occur by socialists in the industrial
heartland of Europe (somewhere in Western Europe), socialism was supposed
to be carried forward by an industrial proletariat. Instead, it occurred in a
country when the working class was relatively small and a country that was very
late to industrialize, as well as still being quite agrarian.
The distinction between East and West: What are the long run dynamics that
separated the east and the west from an earlier time than 1945?
The late Russian empire continued to be organized as a patrimonial state→ a
distinctive type of territorial state. The “evil twin” of a rational legal state. A
patrimonial state does not imply the same clear distinction between public and
private. The economy, for example, is considered as part of the household economy
of the ruler. The bureaucracy is not autonomous, and individuals who hold offices
often own those offices (they are like personal property) → a principle of merit
doesn’t matter in who hold office, they can be bought/sold/passed on. They don’t
imply industrialization and can be found in not fully monetized states.
The other type of state (common in Western Europe) was a rational-legal state.
There is a clear distinction between a public sphere and a private sphere. In
addition, you will find an autonomous bureaucracy, and in particular a bureaucracy
specialized into distinctive bureaus. The principle of promotion is connected to
merit. Rational-legal states tend to found in economies that are monetized (have
moved beyond barter, associated with industrial development).
A rational-legal state has typically penetrated its society→ that gives it authority
from the centre to the periphery of the territory. A peripheral state does not have
the same infrastructural capacity.