Secret origins of the state: the structural basis of raison d'état

Rosenberg, Justin (1992) Secret origins of the state: the structural basis of raison d'état. Review of International Studies, 18 (2). pp. 131-159. ISSN 0260-2105

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The Italian city-state system occupies a special place in the canon of orthodox international relations. For, as Martin Wight says, ‘it was among the Italian powers that feudal relationships first disappeared and the efficient, self-sufficient secular state was evolved, and the Italian powers invented the diplomatic system’. And of course this was not all they invented. In addition to the earliest modern discourse of Realpolitik (‘Machiavelli’, Carr tells us, ‘is the first important political realist’), it is in the Italian city-states that we find the first routine use of double-entry book-keeping, of publicly traded state debt, of marine insurance, of sophisticated instruments of credit (such as the bill of exchange), of commercial and banking firms coordinating branch activity across the continent, and so on. Here, too, the citizen militias gave way earliest to the mercenary armies that would later characterize European Absolutism; and within the town walls, a population given over increasingly to commerce and manufacture elaborated new forms of urban class conflict.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Depositing User: Justin Rosenberg
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 15:28
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 00:46

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