Capitalists in Spite of Themselves: Elite Conflict and European Transitions in Early Modern Europe

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Richard Lachmann's work offers a new explanation for the origins of nation-states and capitalist markets in early modern Europe. Comparing regions and cities within and across England, France, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands from the twelfth to the eighteenth centuries, Lachmann shows how conflict among feudal elites--landlords, clerics, kings and officeholders--transformed the bases of their control over land and labor, forcing the winners of feudal conflicts to become capitalists in spite of themselves as they took defensive actions to protect their privileges from rivals in the aftermath of the Reformation.