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Lecture 1 - Intro to Course and Understanding the State

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University of Ottawa
Political Science
Joseph Roman

Jan. 7, 2014 Introduction to the Course/Studying and Understanding the State Understanding the State • The state is a central concept in comparative politics • States are political communities • States as an institutional complex Perspectives on States: 1. Constitutional: states as a social contract -social contract in exchange for security and order and protect rights -once a state can no longer provide these things, it becomes illegitimate 2. Ethical and moral: states organize for particular end -what should the state do? ex: establish individual rights ex: enhance collectivity (general will) 3. Conflictual: states as a power holder that regulates divisions th -19 century phenomenon -state is very bias in decision making – decisions tend to be made in the interest of one particular social group 4. Pluralist: states as a neutral arbiter amongst competing groups -20 century phenomenon -the state is a regulator of conflicts between social groups -has no interest in the outcome – it simply mediates the disagreements between competing groups in society Historicizing State Formation th th th • State formation lasts from the 12 to the 17 century (closer to the end of the 20 century) • Gradual transformation of monarchies into central authorities -state could dictate religion and who could live there -they can no longer do that today • The state’s institutional and juridical spread and origins are found in the upheavals that took place in central Europe during the decline of the Roman Empire TheAuthority of the Catholic Church • The church replaces Roman organs of local life throughout Christendom -the Church replaces Rome as the central power • Land and revenue as a source of ecclesiastical power • Kings and local lords look to the church for material and political assistance The Church’s Advantages 1. Petrine texts of the New Testament 2. Popes are St. Peter’s heirs 3. Italy’s declining influence, the assistance of German emperors, and France’s fragmentation 4. The Crusades -assisted the Church’s claims of universality 5. Literacy -record keeping helps enforce rule over territories (Latin as the universal language) 6. Political communities tied to time rather than space -political identity’s don’t change easily 7. All priests were agents of Rome -the priests endured longer than monarchies The Consequences of Church Rule 1. Multiple allegiances -Shifting territorialities -Webs of loyalty 2. Uncertainty of laws -Church law versus inherited Roman law 3. Efforts at political consolidation -Gunpowder and wealth The Emergence of the Sovereign State th th • From the 13 to the 16 centuries, absolutist monarchies in Spain, Russia, France, and England were consolidating their political rule • The Reformation of 1517 • Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses were nailed to the door of the Wittenberg Church to protest the Roman Catholic Church’s indulgences • The Reformation is the first direct challenge to papal supremacy – triggers religious wars Towards Sovereignty • 1555 Peace ofAugsburg • Religious division of Christendom is made legally permanent within the Holy Roman Empire • Cuis region, eius religio • The Peace only applied to the warring parties of the HRE • Religious war erupts between Catholics & Protestants in 1618 and the Thirty Years War begins The ThirtyYears Was (1618-1648) • Bohemians revolt out of fear that, as Protestants, they will lose their religious rights upon
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