History – Origins of Democratic State in Europe.docx
University of Calgary
History – Origins of Democratic State in Europe
Based on an agrarian mode of production. Suggesting that
ones access to political power is based on their relationship to
land and agricultural production. Direct link from social status
to land and agriculture.
Basically a political economy of land holding. Based on what is
known as vassalage.
o 1. Vassalage is hierarchical superordinate (superior)
and a group that is subordinate. (vassal)
o 2. Based on process of enfeoffment (the deed by which
a person was given land in exchange for a pledge of
2 sides political economic (Emperor, nobility,
serfs/peasanty) and ecclesiastical (religious): The
political-economic structure gives political and
economic support to the ecclesiastical structure,
in exchange for religious/ideological legitimacy
from the ecclesiastical to the political-economic.
Manor is center of economic and political authority
within the fief. This is where nobility resides.
Enfeoffment requires fealty. In exchange for oath
of loyalty, they get a tract of land. Requires them
to do a lot of things: maintain law and order in
the fiefs in behalf of the upper noble and the
emperor. Responsible for collecting taxes and
transmitting share to upper officials. Provide
military service to senior nobles.
Reciprocity – in exchange for services they will
gain access to a trait of land that they can
maintain and use to maintain power and prestige
in the feudal based society. Increase quality of life
and standard living.
Peasantry obligated to provide taxes through the
agricultural surplus they produce. Pay rents and
Demesneland within fiefs, farmed in
order to pay rent and taxes
Tenement land permitted to farm for our
personal gain as long as they meet
Hereditary Primogeniture pass through generations.
Means has to be passed from male ere to
male ere. Properties now become owned.
Mercenaries become employed by nobles
leading hereditary fiefs
30 years war
o About the war fought between the individuals who
wanted to preserve the system and those who wanted
to eradicate it.
o Ultimately, the disposition of Europe at the end of the
war is ultimately decided by the Peace of Westphalia.
(1648) Product of Munster and Obstenburg.
Does a number of things: 1. Formalizes the
existence of the state as the primary locus of
identity, political authority, economic interaction,
cultural affinity within Europe. At the end of this,
Europe is parceled into a number of territorially
discrete states that are differentiated by
geographical boundaries that are mutually
understood. 2. Emergence of an international
European system, state as key component. 3. The
States that emerge out of this result are in their
form absolutist and these are the absolutist states
in which the democratic state emerges in Europe.
Characteristics of Autocratic States:
Sovereignty centralized in the monarch/monarchy
Centralized bureaucracy subordinate to monarch
o As feudalism began to decline, the more powerful
monarchs ultimately at the end of the day imitated the
process of state-formation. Once you take over a
fiefdom, you had to ensure that you sub-ordinate the
people of the conquered territory.
o The way in which you quell the discontent of these